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on June 25, 2013
Last week I was sitting outside a coffee shop reading a book on my kindle when a youngish guy walked by carrying a coffee and a computer, looking for a place to sit.

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.
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on May 23, 2017
This book was life changing for me. I'd already read Gifts of Imperfection, and have been struggling with having healthy boundaries with a psychologically unhealthy parent.

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>
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on September 1, 2017
Growing up in a household where obedience is won through criticism, belittling and shaming, it's little wonder I reached adult hood in a poor state of mind and body. With no self-esteem or confidence and full of toxic shame, I wasn't happy with myself in any shape or form. I truly disliked myself, and felt as if everyone else did too. I was a HUGE perfectionist, and very, very hard on myself.

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.
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on September 6, 2016
This is one of those books that seems ubiquitous. Everywhere I turned I saw Brene Brown’s book with the solid gray background and colorful letters spelling out Daring Greatly across the cover. Even more omnipresent are the book’s praises. There is an endless line of praises from acclaimed icons. Which is why I am shocked by my response: I found the book sort of boring.

The crux of the book is simple: shame, it is powerful and universal. We all have experienced shame. Most of us continue to carry the burden of shame and even throw it on to others. I can easily connect to the idea of shame. Every day is a fight beyond shame.

Pulling from the amazing words of President Theodore Roosevelt, to dare greatly is try something big; to live with courage. Taking the safe road while criticizing others is the easy road (and it is the road we see on social media all the time), but living a life of greatness does require some failures. We cannot be scared of failures. This is a concept we all need to grab hold of.

I only marked two pages in the book the intrigued me.

“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad…Vulnerability is the core of all emotions. To feel is to be vulnerable.”

“Hope is a function of struggle. If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle.”

Perhaps I am a little late to the party and that is why I did not connect with the book like others. Perhaps not hearing her TED talk is fatal flaw on my end (she refers to her talk multiple times in her book). The information is good and grounded, but in the end the book felt long and arduous.

Sometimes I think an author and reader just cannot connect, it does not make the book bad or the reader poor. It is just an unknowable difference.
If you think I’m defending a book that I didn’t like, you are correct.
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on June 6, 2017
Great book! I love Brene Brown and all of her research! It's very interesting to see how shame runs through cultures, homes, friendships, work environments, personal talk, etc. It's incredibly eye opening to acknowledge those things within yourself because once you do, you can't look at a certain part of life the same way when you see that shame was running the show the whole time.
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on February 13, 2016
I admit I had never heard of Dr. Brene Brown until I saw her on the Oprah Winfrey Network about a month ago. I was so intrigued by her that I decided to buy "Daring Greatly," and I'm so thankful I did. I've struggled so much with the issues that she discusses here, but I was never able to understand and verbalize the root causes until I read this book. My quality of life has changed dramatically in a short period of time, so much so that I'm now reading "Rising Strong," and I'll soon start "The Gift of Imperfection." No doubt about it: I will be a lifelong fan and eternally grateful.
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on February 15, 2015
This review is in reference to the audio book. I am a fan of Brene Brown's work & was looking forward to listening to this book on a recent road trip. I didn't make it beyond the preface before having to eject it. The reader's voice/style made it impossible for me to actually pay attention to the content. Sing-song-y is the best way I can describe it....or pitchy....or too artsy or something. I assumed it would be a rather straight forward reading like all of the audio books I've listened to previously. I promptly gave it away. Potential buyers of the audio version, beware.
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This book is an interesting but lengthy discussion on the merits of vulnerability and how our refusal to engage in a vulnerable lifestyle impedes us personally and collectively. The author makes a convincing case that diving into a lifestyle that keeps you vulnerable will produce a more genuine and fulfilling life. Getting over the discomfort our society and family have instilled in us when we approach a vulnerable state is key to succeeding in life, feeling happier, and living a more genuine life that aligns with our personal dreams and goals.

Basically, we need to rewrite our paradigms. Accept trial and error while being observed. Accept trying and trying, failing and failing, until we get what we want out of life. Accept ourselves and put ourselves before the masses, and shrug. Because, though that is the state during which we can be criticized and berated and lampooned the most, it is also the state during which people succeed in attaining what makes them happy.

Critics are weak. They are not participating in life. They are observing. No glory goes to the people in the stands. Only the warriors in the arena get the attention, accolades, and honor. Even the defeated ones.

So, the book asserts, be a warrior on display. Win or lose, you are participating and receiving the most out of life. The audience is just . . . there.
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on October 24, 2017
I loved this book!
If you want to step up in some area of your life, or have decided you do want to be seen, or if you are facing a challenge, Brene Brown's book about having the courage to be vulnerable and real will help you! So many people appear strong and sorted but actually it's not true. Read this book and you too will be able to Dare Greatly. I have just stepped up in an area of my life that I found so difficult ( the fear of rejection was huge) and I am so happy to have had the courage to do that from reading this book.
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on July 30, 2017
The book kept repeating what it initially stated , it felt very repitious I stayed till I was 7/8ths of the way done, but I was pulling teeth reading it and decided it wasn't for me.
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