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"Don't you know who I am??"
on December 25, 2013
This book was recommended to me by a coworker I trust, but I really can't get past the sheer amount of "Brene Brown pimping" that takes the place of what could have been useful information. I wanted to tell the author to just STOP trying to convince me how much of an authority she is. Say it once, establish your credibility - then get on with the information. Use some of your research to illustrate points in the book - that's all well and good, but STOP repeating some variation of: "I'm an expert, perhaps you've heard of me, Brene Brown, the expert?" The author writes, over and over again, about how much research she's put into the subject and then she goes on to share anecdotes describing her own alleged therapy sessions, which she uses primarily for even more expository dialog describing (to her own therapist), once again, how much research she has put into the subject of vulnerability.
[and - as an aside - am I seriously supposed to believe that this woman sits in her therapist's office telling her therapist at length about her own 10 years of research about vulnerability? Why would she take up therapy time trying to convince a therapist who presumably already knows her that she is an expert in the very subject she is in therapy for?]
"If you don't know anything about me from my other books, my blog, or the TED videos that have gone viral online - let me catch you up. If, on the other hand, you're already a little queasy at the mention of a therapist, skip this chapter entirely and go straight to the appendix about my research process."
I guess I've either heard about her before from her books (many!), blog (popular!) and TED videos (gone viral!) - or else I must be the sort of person who can't stand therapists? What if I'm someone who hasn't heard of her, doesn't particularly want to read more about her, but just wants to get to the subject of the book?
Anyway, after getting off to that bad of a start at the beginning of the book I had a really hard time taking anything she said at face value. She seems rather in love with her own image and I can't figure out if there's any substance to her, or if she's just a woman riding a publicity high.
What I'd like to read about are real, tangible concepts. A clearly stated problem, some (preferably non-canned) examples to illustrate the issue, then some clearly stated possible solutions. Instead there's so much restating of the problem, as if half the book is dedicated to convincing me there is a need for the book in the first place. And even more real-estate is dedicated to convincing me that Brene Brown (gone viral!) has the authority to talk about the issue. Very little of the book describes a feasible plan for working on the issue.
In the end I don't feel like I've gotten much out of the book. I did end up watching the TED video (as I've heard it's gone viral...) and I feel like the entire book was very well summed up in the TED talk: Vulnerability is painful, but it's supposed to be - and it's necessary to develop relationships and connections, and it's even necessary for achievement in other areas of our lives and in our careers. Once you're convinced this is true, you can begin to pay more attention to allowing vulnerability in (undefined) appropriate ways.
All well and good, but not exactly a helpful how-to guide.