Double Review: Year of Yes and Beyond the Label

Beyond the Label by Maureen Chiquet


The Year of Yes: How to Dance it out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Chiquet: 288 pages, Rhimes: 300 pages

Genre: Autobiography

Chiquet: HarperBusiness (2017), Rhimes: Simon & Schuster (2015)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars for both

Re-readability: They will both be read again when I’m looking for inspiration in my personal life and with my career.

Reviewed by Indiana

For some reason, this has been a memoir/autobiography week for me. I somehow finished three in one week, so I decided to pair two of them together for this review.

Both Chiquet and Rhimes have had larger than life careers. Chiquet is famous for running Banana Republic and Channel. Rhimes wrote some of today’s most popular television shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Private Practice. They’re women who, in one way or another, run the world.

With Beyond the Label Chiquet did the usual autobiographical things, discussing how she went from studying literature in college to running perhaps the most famous fashion house in the world. However, within each chapter, Chiquet took a moment to ask the reader to examine their own lives, asking questions “What do you need to take the time to listen to?,” “What part of yourself can you bring to your job that creates singular identity?” and “So what do you do well and how does that unique talent manifest its darker side?”

I found her story inspiring because I previously worked in the fashion industry and hope to work in the industry again someday. But it wasn’t written solely for fashion enthusiasts. Chiquet delves into her struggles and successes as a business leader, mother, wife, etc.

It’s definitely a “business” sort of book, Chiquet keeps it light hearted.  However, she’s not nearly as light hearted as Rhimes is in “The Year of Yes.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed more while reading a book.  I’ve never watched any of her shows, but her book? I already want to re-read it.

Rhimes calls herself a professional liar (it is her job to spin tall tales after all), but her personal experiences felt honest and relatable. She sets off on a year of saying yes to invitations and experiences that scare her and it completely changes her life.

“They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true. I think that’s crap. I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing,”  Shonda Rhimes

Instead of hiding in her house, spending all her days writing stories and creating worlds, she forces herself to give a graduation speech at her alma mater, to go to release parties, to allow herself time to spend with her kids, to start exercising (and learn to love salads), and learn how to be true to who she is and who she wants to be.

It was an inspiring book for anyone who has ever wondered if they’re making the right decisions or if there might be things that they’re missing (i.e. every human being).

If you’re looking for career advice, pick up Chiquet’s book. If you’re looking for general life wisdom (and more than a few funny stories) grab Rhimes book. Neither will disappoint!


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