Why Not Me? & Year of Yes

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling & Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Why Not Me? Book Cover ImageYear of Yes book cover image

Here is the summary from the back of Why Not Me?:

“In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

“In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

“Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.” — Amazon

Here is the summary from the back of Year of Yes:

“The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

“With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

“And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

“Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.” — Amazon


*** Spoilers to Follow ***

While driving all over a strange state and searching for apartments, I managed to listen to two very good books. Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? and Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. These books were surprisingly similar and I had no idea or intention of that happening. I just picked two books available through my library that I could listen to for a long day in the car.

Did you know?

  • Shonda and Mindy both went to Dartmouth.
  • Shonda loves The Mindy Project and made a guest appearance on the show.
  • They were both invited to the White House to meet the Obamas.


I loved listening to these women and hearing them talk about their insecurities and just basically allow the audience to see the “real” them. I use quotes because we still don’t really know either of these women. We don’t witness their bad days or ugly moments. We hear about their fears and screwups which make them more human in our eyes instead of the sparkling, well made-up Hollywood stars that they are.

In Why Not Me? I couldn’t help thinking the title question in reference to myself. Why not write a book like this one? One where I tell all my fears and screwups. Does it matter that I’m technically a nobody? My brain started brainstorming with life stories that I could tell that other people can learn from or also relate to; Mindy doesn’t have to be the only person in the world to have books like this. (She isn’t really, but go with me). Don’t be surprised if you find a post announcing a book… just saying.

Year of Yes, was also inspiring, but more for someone as introverted as I am. I did find out that I am not nearly as introverted as Shonda. Thank Goodness! I know I have a tendency to choose any option that involves dealing with the fewest people, but I do not have panic attacks or high anxiety from the situation. I could see myself getting to that point though if I stopped going out and allowing myself to be uncomfortable sometimes. I can see myself falling into a comfortable rhythm of staying in, being alone, and not having anyone’s attention on me. Plus, with my habit of freaking out whenever my routine is unexpectedly broken, I can see myself freaking out if all of a sudden I was faced with a room full of eyes all on me. I get it, but I’m glad I’m not there yet.

I also don’t think I needed to read this book. I don’t need anyone to inspire me to do something out of the ordinary, take chances, and allow interesting things to happen. I have been doing pretty well with that all on my own. I moved across the country to a state I had never even visited before to live alone because of a job. I took a chance. It was awesome and I have taken more chances since. This is what makes life fun!

Why did I read the book then? What did I get from it.  I learned that I was doing the right thing by switching my mindset and doing things because it was the right thing for me. By the end of the book, Shonda shows the reader how she grew and freed herself from her own misery. How many people can you think of right now that complain about their lives and never seem to do anything about it? Are you one of those people? Are there things you say you have always wanted to do, but for some reason you’ve never done them? I say you should do them because…

Why not?


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