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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Paperback – April 7, 2015
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“The brilliantly insightful Brené Brown draws upon extensive research and personal experience to explore the paradoxes of courage: we become strong by embracing vulnerability, we dare more greatly when we acknowledge our fear. I can’t stop thinking about this book.”
—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
"A wonderful book: urgent, essential and fun to read. I couldn't put it down, and it continues to resonate with me."
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
"In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown refers to herself as both a mapmaker and a traveler. In my book, that makes her a guide. And I believe the world needs more guides like her who are showing us a wiser way to our inner world. If you'd like to set your course on being more courageous and connected, engaged and resilient, leave the GPS at home. Daring Greatly is all the navigation you'll need."
"Daring Greatly is an important book -- a timely warning about the danger of pursuing certainty and control above all. Brené Brown offers all of us a valuable guide to the real reward of vulnerability: Greater courage."
"What I find remarkable about this book is the unique combination of solid research and kitchen table story-telling. Brené becomes such a real person in the book that you can actually hear her voice asking, "Have you dared greatly today?" The invitation in this book is clear: We must be larger than anxiety, fear, and shame if we want to speak, act, and show up. The world needs this book and Brené’s unique blend of warmth, humor and ass-kicking makes her the perfect person to inspire us to dare greatly."
—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.
"One of the tragic ironies of modern life is that so many people feel isolated from each other by the very feelings they have in common: including a fear of failure and a sense of not being enough. Brené Brown shines a bright light into these dark recesses of human emotion and reveals how these feelings can gnaw at fulfillment in education, at work and in the home. She shows too how they can be transformed to help us live more wholehearted lives of courage, engagement and purpose. Brené Brown writes as she speaks, with wisdom, wit, candor and a deep sense of humanity. If you're a student, teacher, parent, employer, employee or just alive and wanting to live more fully, you should read this book. I double dare you."
—Sir Ken Robinson
"In an age of constant pressure to conform and pretend, Daring Greatly offers a compelling alternative: transform your life by being who you really are. Embrace the courage to be vulnerable. Dare to read this book!"
—Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup
"Here's the essence of this book: Vulnerability is courage in you but inadequacy in me. Brené's book, weaving together research and Texan anecdote, shows you some paths forward. And don't for a moment think this is just for women. Men carry the burden of Being Strong And Never Weak, and we pay a heavy price for it. Daring Greatly can help us all."
—Michael Bungay Stanier, author of Do More Great Work
"I deeply trust Brené Brown--her research, her intelligence, her integrity, and her personhood. So when she definitively lands on the one most important value we can cultivate for professional success, relationship health, parental joy, and courageous, passionate living...well, I sit up and take notice . . . even when that one most critical value turns out to be the risky act of being vulnerable. She dared greatly to write this book, and you will benefit greatly to read it and to put its razor-sharp wisdom into action in your own life and work."
—Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder, Omega Institute, author of Broken Open
"A straightforward approach to revamping one's life from an expert on vulnerability."
"Will draw readers in and have them considering what steps they would dare to take if shame and fear were not present."
"Offers good insights into how people don personal armor to shield themselves from vulnerability."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Brene's down-to-earth approach to vulnerability resonates with me."
About the Author
Dr. Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation-Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.
She has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers – Braving the Wilderness, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong.
Brené’s TED talk, "The Power of Vulnerability," is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.
In addition to her research and writing, Brené is the Founder and CEO of BRAVE LEADERS INC - an organization that brings evidence-based courage building programs to teams, leaders, entrepreneurs, change makers, and culture shifters. Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.
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Since all of the tables were occupied and he was looking a bit displaced, I offered him a seat at my table. Relieved, he sat down and expressed his gratitude. I promptly went back to my reading but I could feel his eyes boring into me as I anticipated the dreaded question.
"What are you reading?" he finally blurted.
Now I know this is neither a profound nor earth-shattering inquiry but there were two problems at hand here.
One, I'm terrible at summarizing books. Just awful. (Which you're about to discover.) There's just something about the vast amount of information that I'm pressured to wrap into one or two sentences that completely overwhelms and paralyzes me.
And two, I was reading a book about shame and vulnerability. Which ironically, I was ashamed to admit for fear of being vulnerable. Clearly, I had just started reading the book.
Part of me was tempted to lie to youngish guy by replying, "oh, it's just some silly novel."
But then it occurred to me how shameful it would be to lie about reading a book about shame and vulnerability instead of just being vulnerable. Besides, as I'm sure it's obvious--I could use the practice.
"I'm reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It's about shame and vulnerability and how shame can truly only dissipate by allowing yourself to be vulnerable", I quickly blurted.
Allowing myself to be vulnerable led Patrick and I into a conversation for the next hour. Patrick, if you're reading this, c'était une joie pour vous rencontrer. (If this is wrong I blame Google translate.)
This moment of unabashed vulnerability with Patrick was the beginning of a major shift in my life. And I have Daring Greatly to thank for that.*
I've always been one to be honest and open but Brene Brown's writing in Daring Greatly takes openness to another level.
She reinforces what I've known all along but been afraid of admitting--that vulnerability leads to happiness. Or as Brown calls it, "wholeheartedness".
And I, and maybe you too, could damn well use some wholeheartedness in my life.
We're living in a culture of `never enough'. I'm certainly feeling it. Are you? I never work hard enough, I don't help others enough, I'm not successful enough, I don't eat healthy enough... and on and on.
These thoughts of `never enough' turn into feelings of shame and fear. How do we combat shame and fear? By being vulnerable and expressing gratitude, according to Brené Brown. And now, according to me.
Following Brene's advice and expertise garnered through her research and life stories, truly does work.
It was the reading of Daring Greatly that prompted me to finally divulge my long kept secret of my history with an eating disorder; which wound up being my highest trafficked blog post of all time. As Brown explains, we're drawn to other's vulnerability but repelled by our own.
Are you living with shame? Do you always feel an underlying itch of `never enough'? Do you find yourself disconnecting from people you love? If any of these questions ring true then I hope you'll read this book for yourself. Even if they don't ring true, read this book. It truly is a game changer.
Buy It Right. This. Minute. Sit your butt down for an hour, and start reading. I promise you won't want to stop. I promise.Then come back to me and practice your newfound vulnerability. I'll appreciate and love every drop of the real you. And eventually, you will too. That's the truth.
*If you'll note the vulnerability here in that I'm attempting to review a book, despite my fear of reviewing books.
This book did an amazing job of helping me understand the difference between sharing vulnerability in ways that lead to connection and over-sharing in ways intended to manipulate an audience - and why that oversharing has always led to disconnection.
For the men out there - I'd recommend starting with this book (rather than gifts of imperfection) as Brown broadens her research to include men here. And I really liked the way this book works through so many interesting topics and challenging scenarios.
One of my favorite parts is on professing love vs practicing love (below). It made me appreciate that when someone tells me they love me, then treats me badly, that it isn't really love at all.
<i>During a recent radio interview about my research, the hosts (my friends Ian and Margery) asked me, “Can you love someone and cheat on them or treat them poorly?”
I didn’t have much time, so I gave the best answer I could based on my work: “I don’t know if you can love someone and betray them or be cruel to them, but I do know that when you betray someone or behave in an unkind way toward them, you are not practicing love. And, for me, I don’t just want someone who says they love me, I want someone who practices that love for me every day.”</i>
Though I am still a work in progress (I'm 22 currently), I can look back and see how far I've come, and it is all thanks to Brene Brown: her books, her Ted talks, her program, etc. This is my favorite book of hers, though.
If you don't feel worthy of love and belonging, if you feel lesser than everyone else; if you can't forgive yourself for your mistakes or your terrible moments or the stupid things you've done in life; if you can't accept your humanness; if you can't show your face or eyes to others due to shame; if you can't own up to your mistakes for fear of judgement; if you compare yourself to others; if you constantly strive to prove yourself to others but feel as if you never measure up; then this book is for you.
I have read it through and then listened to the whole book about 3 times. I need to be reminded again and again what it means to Dare Greatly, as I have lived most of my life hiding and trying to protect myself. Every time I hear the words in this book, I can't help but say "Yes! Yes! Yes!" over and over again. It all makes such simple sense. I also cannot hear Brene's words - in book or talks - without crying, because they are some of the most beautiful words to my ears there ever was.
We are not in this alone, and our worth is not something that can be measured.
I am planning to get some of her books this Christmas for my family, who all badly need to hear her message and don't bother to look her up despite my urging. I will also have all her books on my shelf someday when I have kids, for them to all read as they are growing up, so that they don't grow up in fear, with low self-worth and full of shame, and to also give them the courage to dare greatly. (Of course I will parent differently than I was raised, and that will make a difference. ;) )
I would give this book a 10 star rating if I could.