Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes book review by berryduchess
Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir/Autobiography/Self-Help
Publishing Date: 10 November 2015
Date Finished Reading: 01 Jun 2019

In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and Catch, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear. Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything. Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes.


This book was recommended by one of my good friends and I want to thank her because, despite the fact I’m already a Shonda Rhimes fan, this book made me love her more because I get to “meet” the person behind Shondaland. The wonderful and beautiful person behind the name and the brain of the 3 hit TV series and honestly, I have no idea about her. I know she’s damn good when it comes to her work because man! I’m invested on Grey’s Anatomy & Scandal (sorry, haven’t watched HTGAWM) but more or less, I know she’s great when it comes to serving dark & twisty characters that we will both love and hate.

Goodreads categorised this book as a memoir and self-help and I agree. Remember Marianne Power’s Help Me? She’s the woman who bought 12 self-help books & tested one each month (just read it hereThere were similarities, only Shonda committed to doing only one thing – SAY YES TO EVERYTHING for one whole year.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes book quote on self care_berryduchess

Shonda had a normal childhood, nothing dramatic really, but she admitted that she’s always happier being alone with inanimate objects around than being with people or in other words, she’s an introvert. She was gifted to create interesting characters and fictional stories and she’s over the moon with it. She loves her job but as she gets more famous, she realised that she’s getting miserable (her word, not mine) because unknowingly, she’s more comfortable to be with the fictional characters than be with real people. I guess it’s safe to assume that she’s slowly becoming an extreme introvert.

You never say yes to anything.


That was the sentence that ticked Shonda and it was from her sister, Delorse. One sentence that she can’t put off her mind because it struck a nerve and it’s true. So on her birthday, the following year, she decided to do a personal challenge and that’s:

Am going to say yes to anything and everything that scares me. For a whole year.


In case you don’t know, Shonda got this Type A personality and at the same time, described herself as a “scary-psychotic competitive ” person which made it fun, because with the challenge, she’s not competing with anyone but herself. I love her determination, tho!


In this book, Shonda speaks her mind. She presented her real self – personal struggles, the challenges of a busy, working mom who’s also a boss lady and she did it in a casual way – very raw and I loved it. It was written as if it was a conversation with friends, tapos minsan sa madalas, kung saan-saan napupunta yung topic niyo, ganyan. hehe! Shonda is funny & her stories, especially the swallow-me-whole moments, are just OMG! She’s like the real-life versions of the book characters that I only read on novels!

At first, it was a struggle for her because she felt forced into saying yes as if not having a choice but it got better as the year passed by.  But what made me love her more was the honesty and realness. Page by page, I get to know her and a number of times, I can relate to her stories and admittedly, I was inspired and felt empowered. That’s the Shonda effect! Mapapa-Yassss, girl! ka while reading.


  • Yes to Surrendering the Mommy War – #MaternalFabulousness
  • Yes to My Body
  • Yes, Thank You
  • Yes to No, Yes to Difficult Conversations
  • Yes to Dancing It Out (with the right people)
  • Yes to Who I Am
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes book quote on saying yes and accepting changes_berryduchess

This is the kind of memoir/self-help that I personally like because I feel that the author was just telling me her stories over coffee. I love those people, you know. Those who you can easily connect with (even thru books) and find yourself listening attentively and for some reason, you forget phone & social media while you’re with them. They are good storytellers. Like I said before, usually (not all, but mostly), self-help books can be flat/monotone. There are no plots, only explanations. So this made it to my best reads for 2019 and I am giving 5 kisses!

book rating 5
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes book quote_berryduchess

Who Should Read This?

I recommend everyone! To those who wanted to be bold and wants to be inspired to hav changes in their lives. To everyone who wants to start something but never found the will to actually START THAT CHANGE.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes book review_berryduchess

About the Author

Shonda Rhimes is the critically acclaimed and award-winning creator and executive producer of the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal and the executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder. Her writing credits also include Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement, Crossroads, and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Rhimes holds a BA from Dartmouth College in English Literature with Creative Writing and received her MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television, where she was awarded the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. Rhimes was born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois, and now runs her production company, Shondaland, from Los Angeles, where she lives with her three daughters. She is the author of Year of Yes and The Year of Yes Journal.

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xoxo roma

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