Daring Greatly: review of Brené Brown’s latest book

September 20, 2012

in Book Club, Books

Daring Greatly by Brené BrownVulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me and the first thing I look for in you.
– Chapter 4: The Vulnerability Armory

Such is the crux about being authentic, of being in relationship, of being vulnerable of being human.

Brené Brown, PhD, she of the famed TedXHouston talk, has a rare talent of being able to take extensive research and make it accessible, applicable and interesting to academics and non-academics alike. The title of her newest book comes from a speech made by Theodore Roosevelt, a sentiment my dad shared with my sisters and me while we were growing up.

It’s not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly.

Or, in my dad’s words, “Don’t listen to (or be) the critic. It takes nothing to criticize; it takes a something to create.”

I’ve pulled some quotes from Daring Greatly that resonate well for me:

  • On shame: Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. This is exactly why I advocate for openness in adoption. No secrets and no shame. Let’s keep things above board and in the open where mold and rot don’t grow.
  • On courage: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Brené Brown’s vulnerability prayer is a salve for me when I start to angst about what people will think and say when they read MY book.
  • On ownership: If I own the story I get to write the ending. Great advice for a recovering victim. It makes me the playwright of my life rather than merely an actor.
  • On joy: Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Yes! This is why I host Perfect Moment Mondays (coming up next week — why don’t you join in? If ever there were an occasion for a shameless plug, this is it!).
  • On worthiness: Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. This pearl from a team of 8th graders interviewed by Brené Brown.

If you are a parent, a manager or supervisor, a blogger a teacher or a leader, if you are looking for deeper meaning in your life or if you’re dealing with the shadow of shame, I recommend you read this book. Take your time with it, though. The revelations Brené Brown shares in easy, conversational style are both simple enough to make you say, YES! but also deep enough that you’ll want to give them time to percolate through your mind and spirit.

In what area of your life would you next like to dare greatly?

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review and my opinions are my own.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Justine September 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

I guess that would have to be my career. I’m ready to dare. But I guess I’m waiting for the opportunity. Then … maybe that’s the point? That I shouldn’t be waiting?


Lavender Luz September 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

That’s a good question. For me, it’s always a dance between making things happen and letting them happen. It’s like meeting the Universe halfway (or more).

What would it look like to dare greatly in your career?


Still Blonde after all these YEARS September 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I love what she had to say on Katie about Perfection. She is a wise woman. I enjoy her fresh take on life.


a September 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I prefer to be the anchor, the base, rather than the daredevil. I like security way more than risk – and the risk takers in my life seem to appreciate that. But the book sounds interesting, nonetheless…


Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs September 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Sounds interesting and full of wisdom. I have to agree wholeheartedly on the “joy comes to us in ordinary moments” message. Simple but true.

I dare greatly by continuing on the path I am, not giving in and getting a real job again. One day it’ll pay off. I hope.


Kelly September 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thanks for this! I just put that book on my to-read list… :)


Mel September 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm

It sounds like the type of book I would need to own (vs. borrow or read via Kindle) because I would take a pen to it, underlining all my favourite parts.


Kat Meller September 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Definitely sounds like a book that should be on High School reading lists …..I’m thinking I have to look at “borrowing” this book very soon.

I do love your dad’s take on the critics quote. I’d say he is a very insightful man.


Cristy September 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

Wow. I so need to read this book. Considering everything that is happening in my life at the moment, it would be a great read of affirming so many decisions. Thank you for the great review!


Melissa @imaginationsoup September 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Can’t wait to read this book – in my cart to buy. Thanks for the nudge.


Connie Weiss October 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

I really loved the part about fitting in vs. belonging! It really resonated with me.


Chloe Jeffreys November 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

As you already know, I’m currently reading this book and getting so much out of it. I think it is a must read for those of us in the arena who are creating content.


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