Facebook’s Sandberg Discusses Life After Husband’s Sudden Death

By Wendy Lee
San Francisco Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In “Option B,” Sheryl Sandberg and psychology Professor Adam Grant look at how to deal with unexpected loss. The first-person story, in Sandberg’s voice, begins with how her husband died from a heart problem that had been previously undiagnosed after collapsing at a gym. Sandberg hopes that talking about her struggles will help others.

San Francisco Chronicle

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has long said that ideal partners will share housework and child care, which allows women to rise in the workplace.

But in 2015, Sandberg’s ideal partner, 47-year-old husband Dave Goldberg, died on their vacation. Overnight, she became a single mom with two young children while dealing with overwhelming grief.

Sandberg details what she learned over the last two years in a new book she wrote with psychology Professor Adam Grant, called “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.” Option A was Goldberg, and he was gone. So she had to make the most of Option B.

“I am not living the life I planned and the life I expected,” Sandberg said in an interview at a conference room at Facebook’s office in Menlo Park, where her first book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” sat on a shelf. “I am living a different life. It’s option B. … How do I make the most of it? And how do we help other people try to make the most of it?”

In “Option B,” she writes that some colleagues at Facebook — a company that tries to connect the world — initially didn’t know what to say after her husband’s death, and “most of my interactions felt cold, distant and stilted.” Her daughter asked if Sandberg would die, too.

Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, died from a heart problem that had been previously undiagnosed after collapsing at a gym.

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