Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Daring Greatly

I'm stuck at home with a cold which is no fun, but at least gives me added time to read, and blog.

Readers of the blog know that I'm a huge Brene Brown fan and will not be surprised that I think her new book is terrific. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead draws on her many years of research studying shame and vulnerability to offer insights into how we can use that information to live a more Wholehearted life.

One thing I deeply appreciate about Brown's work is how research-based it is. Even more compelling, the answers she found were not the ones she was initially looking for. This is not a light-hearted feel-good kind of a project. I was glad she included a section at the end of the book in which she explains the research process and how she collected her data. There are moments in the book where she says, "We don't have the data to back this up yet," as she offers a hypothesis and makes it clear that she is waiting for the data to bear that out. But overall, the theses in this book are backed up by data and research, not a wishy-washy "you should feel good about yourself" sentimentality.

I also appreciate that Brown offers very practical suggestions of how to apply what she has discovered about shame and vulnerability to become, as she terms it, "shame-resilient" (since there is no way to completely avoid shame). She looks at some common areas where we can apply these techniques, such as in leading or parenting, with a lot of case studies and examples.

Many of which are her own life. And this I appreciate as well. She is learning to do these things as well. Brown is well aware of her own imperfections and is not speaking from the point of view of "I've got it all together and you can too!" Instead, as she shared in her initial TED talk, she's coming to all of this information from the perspective of a person who hated the thought of being vulnerable, but has come to see that this is the way to live a whole-hearted, courageous, and joyful life.

There's a lot of information to take in, and I think this is a book that I'll need to revisit. But I think this is an excellent resource, worth adding to your arsenal of life skills.

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