Summary of Sheryl Sandberg Gives UC Berkeley Commencement Keynote Speech

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Sheryl Sandberg Gives UC Berkeley Commencement Keynote Speech summary

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As is customary, Sheryl Sandberg peppers her commencement speech to the University of California, Berkeley, class of 2016 with in-jokes and college references. But that’s where her conformity to the cookie-cutter commencement address ends. Sandberg aims to teach the graduands a lesson they didn’t acquire in the halls of Berkeley: how to handle setbacks. In a courageous oration, she shares deeply personal memories of her darkest experience – the death of her husband. getAbstract recommends Sandberg’s emotional yet hopeful depiction of unexpected loss and heartbreak to anyone seeking perspective on bereavement or disappointment or to anyone who has yet to face tough times.

About the Speaker

Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook, founder of the Lean In Foundation and co-author of Option B.


In May 2015, Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Sandberg, died unexpectedly of a cardiac arrhythmia. Following his death, Sandberg fell into a chasm of despair, but she eventually climbed out and learned to cope and find happiness again. In life, everyone undergoes hardship and disappointment – be it unrequited love, a missed job opportunity or the passing of a loved one. How you react to such adversity defines you. Psychologist Martin Seligman identified three common emotional responses to suffering:

  1. “Personalization” – When Sandberg’...

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