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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

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Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.

287 pages, Hardcover

First published September 11, 2012

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About the author

Brené Brown

71 books49.3k followers
Dr. Brené Brown 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. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead.

Brené hosts the Unlocking Us Podcast and the Dare to Lead Podcast. Her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service in April 2019.

Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,526 reviews
Profile Image for Andy.
1,447 reviews480 followers
January 15, 2023
Teddy Roosevelt is spinning in his grave if he can hear how his famous quote about "daring greatly" has been turned into sappy psychobabble.

The main theme of the book is "shame." To the author, this is a fundamentally bad thing, even though she acknowledges that shameless people are sociopaths. She also makes the claim that shame has never been shown to be helpful. Actually, there is research suggesting that shame-based societies have less crime and mental illness than societies that are more individualistic. So I think there is potential harm to the way she redefines shame. If people are engaging in truly shameful behaviors, then they should feel ashamed; that's healthy. And society should shame evil people/acts. The author uses "shame" as a garbage term for all bad feelings. So getting picked last for kickball is somehow "shame."

This book is advertised as "research" but the underlying science seems goofy; part of her methodology is to ignore the existing scientific literature before doing her study, so that she's amazed--as if she were born yesterday--by well-known facts. The definition of the scientific method is testing hypotheses, but she doesn't do that, so what she does do looks like circular reasoning where the finding is always "shame." It's OK to do "qualitative" research, but if you insist on the pretense of being completely open-minded blah-blah-blah, then you're "hypothesis generating" so at some point you still need to test a hypothesis to do science, and to know if you are helping people. Dare greatly: state your hypothesis and test it!

Much of the book is a running anecdotal monologue about the author.

The author seems like a nice lady who means well, and the original message of courage is a good one. The point of self-help books is to help, so if this book resonates with you, then "bully for you" as Teddy might say. I just found it irritating: another TED talk that can't carry a whole book.

I hope I don't hurt the author's feelings with this review. The point of reviews is to help potential readers figure out if they will like a book or not. People who care about the points that I discuss above will likely share my impression of the book and can save time by avoiding it and just watching the TED talk. I didn't like this book very much and that's my right. And it's part of the risk the author takes in writing a book that she will get some bad reviews. You can't please everybody. I admire her for daring to write a book. But that doesn't mean she should only get good reviews. If the only outcome possible is victory, then victory is meaningless.

-December, 2017 Update:
I keep getting negative comments about this review, and that's fine as long as people can disagree agreeably. I understand many people love Brene Brown. Nevertheless, I have become more concerned about this book and I am lowering my rating to 1* from 2*. Part of the tipping point is the increasing evidence indicating that sheltering children from shame/guilt/failure does more harm than good over the long term:
-Link to plain English article by a pediatrician from this week's Science Times about benefits of shame/guilt for kids: https://nyti.ms/2ia0gji
-Link to recent NYT Magazine article about surge in teen anxiety: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/ma...

Of course, a total lack of shame is sociopathy, and I don't think the world needs more of that.
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout The Sociopath Next Door

I am also concerned that with a blurb stating "Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision" people think that this is science, and that it represents some kind of proven new discovery that helps people. I would encourage people who want to understand about the scientific method and evidence-based practice in healthcare to check out one of the following: Bad Science ; Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills
Your Deceptive Mind A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills by Steven Novella Bad Science by Ben Goldacre .

There are existing solutions for people seeking, for example, to improve their mental health by combatting unrealistic negative self-talk. There are also proven prevention programs for improving socio-emotional coping skills in children. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or the Hindenburg here. Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide ; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain
Managing Your Mind The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques for Retraining Your Brain by Jason M. Satterfield

Making words mean whatever you want them to mean is at best confusing and at worst very dangerous. Politics and the English Language
Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

For a philosophical and historical exploration of the political necessity of shame: Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil
Learning from the Germans Race and the Memory of Evil by Susan Neiman

Finally, I think that reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt would clarify how he would feel about celebrating failure, etc. Theodore Rex
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
Profile Image for Cecily.
270 reviews33 followers
February 19, 2013
This book came highly recommended by seemingly the entire internet, and the concept was one I'm VERY familiar with. I'd watched a couple of Brene Brown's TED talks and I was impressed with the topic of her research and with how long and how thoroughly she's been researching.

Oh yeah, and I also remembered that I am the most sewn up and invulnerable control freak that I know. It's been something I'm aware of, and I wasn't always this way. But I know it's keeping me from joy and love in a lot of areas in my life, so I'm working on it.

This book doesn't fix everything, but boy is it good at calling you out and naming things. The very act of naming bad emotional habits, harmful tactics with people, etc...it takes away their power somewhat. At least that's how I felt.

Ms. Brown's book takes a hard look at what vulnerability is, why we're so afraid of it, what keeps us from allowing it (shame) and how it affects men and women differently. She backs up her conclusions with research data, numbers, anecdotes and helpful insights into her own life. I really enjoyed her humor and candor. She takes a look at vulnerability as a professional, as a partner, a friend, and as a parent. All are really valuable view points.

The bottom line is, we're hard-wired to be connected to others. We can't experience joy or peace without these connections. However, we can't have these connections without allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. I really can't recommend this book enough to anyone, any gender, and in any life situation. It's valuable and the topics she brings up need to be addressed.
Profile Image for Timm DiStefano.
65 reviews14 followers
May 4, 2013
"For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is "I didn't get enough sleep." The next one is "I don't have enough time." Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don't have enough of... Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn't get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack... This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life..."
Profile Image for Kelly.
243 reviews10 followers
December 31, 2013
The premise of this book rocked, and I was very interested in learning more about how to be more vulnerable and dare to do more things. However, the book was written completely in generalities. I need to hear the details of your research, the way you helped clients overcome their problems with vulnerability, facts, and stories. I need concrete advice and concrete science. Couldn't finish this fluffy-ass book.
478 reviews4 followers
September 17, 2013
I usually don't bother writing reviews for books I can't finish. And usually I give the book a fair chance -- say, at least 100 pages -- before giving up. Some books I even read all the way to the end before wishing I could just get my time back.

In this case, I read an interview with the author in O Magazine, and the interview was so interesting that I immediately requested this book from the library.

Well, once the book arrived, I quickly discovered that I had trouble following even the introduction, and I thought maybe I was just distracted. So I flipped to the center and chose a random chapter...nope, still not really getting into this. Okay, let's try this in order and begin with Chapter 1... I GIVE UP.

You know what's wrong with this book? It is disorganized. I can't follow the author's thoughts and logic. And worst of all, whoever designed this book was totally carried away by his/her power and went completely crazy with the font formatting. Seriously, I can't even look at this book without wincing: bold text, italic text, large text, large text with huge spaces in between the letters, medium-sized text...

Read the interview in O Magazine. Don't read this book. Your eyes will thank you.
Profile Image for Gwen.
1,045 reviews33 followers
May 15, 2014
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. It came so highly recommended, and it started off so well. The first chapter was spectacular--I found myself nodding along to just about everything: feeling vulnerable, a culture of scarcity, the new economy, etc. This book was speaking to me. My fears, my anxieties, my worries. And I hoped Brown would be the person to help guide me through it all.

But no.

The book promptly went downhill--and fast. Instead of direction and guidance, we get narrative upon narrative, mindless platitudes, and silly "case studies" (it's not Brown's fault, but the inclusion of Lululemon as a model of great corporate culture is rather hilarious these days).

Brown mentions nothing about the cultural structures at play that make being vulnerable virtually impossible and leaves so many questions unanswered. Why do the underlying issues exist? How do we address the cultural issues surrounding doubt, especially in terms of parenthood? How can we change the cultural narrative? How do we opt out of the "rat race" and still function? How do we convince ourselves that we are, in fact, loveable, and therefore able to be vulnerable?

Overall, a very unsatisfying book (but one that had such promise) that wasn't helped by an audiobook narrator who perhaps was *too* successful at being vulnerable. She sounds incredibly insecure, not confident, and definitely not like someone who is "daring greatly". So many of the sentences could have been more powerful if they were spoken with determination and without annoying upspeak.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,517 reviews8,976 followers
June 7, 2014
I picked up Daring Greatly after watching Brene Brown's amazing TED Talk on the power of vulnerability. I find it fascinating that someone can conduct research centered on human topics such as shame, vulnerability, connection, and happiness. When I first entered college I possessed the notion that research was something done with test tubes and beakers in the back of a laboratory, but Brown's work shows that in-depth research can apply to anyone, inside or outside of academia.

The quality of Brown's insights in Daring Greatly deserves praise. She could have fallen back on trite tips that all self-help books preach. Instead, she examines vulnerability, shame, and wholeheartedness with a fine lens, using intriguing analogies and everyday anecdotes to illustrate her points. She discusses how men and women experience shame differently, how people who change their behaviors handle anxiety better than those who just cope with it, and how shame itself leads to distractions such as sex, alcohol, and addictions to Smartphones.

Brown incorporates practical applications of her research, ranging from how to help veterans form connections with others in the community to how modeling shame-based behaviors can result in negative parenting. She even includes scenarios such as when to disclose personal information in order to form connections as opposed to when it's better to keep your life private. Daring Greatly looks at patterns in human behavior that some people might overlook, and it provides ideas on how to change.

I would have appreciated a bit more of the "how" in regard to "daring greatly." Brown drives home the point that we should all strive to dare greatly, and she reveals a myriad of obstacles that obstruct us from doing so, but I wanted a few more concrete suggestions to guide us to success. It also would have been nice if Brown included more information about how she conducted her research throughout the book; even though she discusses methodology in the research appendix, knowing how she came to her conclusions when they're initially presented might aid in comprehension.

Overall, a great read, and highly recommended to those who enjoyed her TED Talk and desire to gain even more insight into the concepts of vulnerability and shame. Brown has an extensive track record through her research, her books, and her presentations, so I will be sure to check out more of her work.
Profile Image for Alice Gold.
286 reviews23 followers
September 24, 2012
Do you want to change the world?
Do you want to have more powerful interpersonal relationships?
Do you want to explore into your own soul
to make sense of your life?
Do you want to live whole-hearted?
Do you want to rid yourself from shame?
Do you want to understand men and women better?
Do you want to give your heart a hug?

I thought I would do something different this time and give you a list of questions for this book review. This book is so jam-packed with the "hard stuff" that I don't even want to dare pretend that I get it all. I will be reading it repeatedly until I have absorbed and memorized every nugget of wisdom. I wish every other person on the planet would do the same. It would seriously bring world peace and most certainly would give everyone inner peace. I'm not kidding, It's that powerful.

I was proud to be a part of this book campaign. I was thrilled. I mean I jumped up and down when I got the e-mail confirmation and cooked a fancy dinner for my family when it arrived in the mail. I have been pouring over its pages and sharing parts with my hubby every chance I get. I have compromised my facebook relationships with the overabundance of quotes from this book. I just can't stop. It's too totally amazing not to share. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. If you don't want to buy your own copy, borrow mine. I can't share it though for at least another month until I have it memorized.

I had a powerful experience at work last night, using the principles learned in this book. I was substitute teaching a class at the therapeutic boarding school where I work. I gave the kids a reward for every half an hour of hard work. We listened to a song of their choice (with my approval). One boy chose a powerfully emotional song about a girl who wanted to be with her dying boyfriend forever. I loved it. Another boy in the class didn't. He started to shame the song choice kid. I stopped him and talked with the whole class about "shaming" and talked with them about giving people space to be who they are, even if they are wrong or different. I then turned to the shamer, and told him how much I loved him and admired him and that I would hope other people would give him space to love what he loved. He got teary-eyed. He turned to the other kid and said, "Dude, I am so sorry, I don't like that song, but it's cool if you do."

World peace, people. World peace.

A huge thanks to marriage counselor friend John Morgan who turned me on to Brene Brown just months ago. He shared with me her talks from Ted. I was hooked. Brene is a researcher and has a PHD and LMSW. Her life's work is shame and vulnerability. Here are her videos. Watch them both. Come back if you have to. They will make you understand why you need to read this book. Even if you aren't into that psychological mumbo-jumbo, you need to be.
March 1, 2017
Daring Greatly was not what I expected it to be instead it gave me a very different outlook to vulnerability and a new understanding of what it means to engage with our vulnerability, understand how shame and shaming others affects us, how to combat shame, and being vulnerable for the sake of making real connections with people. Not only has it helped me understand my vulnerability but understand other people’s vulnerability and understand scarcity and how wholeheartedness can affect us.

I highly recommend Daring Greatly to truly understand what vulnerability really is and understand the opportunities being vulnerable can create for us.
June 2, 2019
I don't think the whole premise is very mature.
All the narcissism and vulnerability talk and social media talk... Are their no other problems with people? Other than what they waste their time on FB, whether they are narcissists (catch-all!) and other what-not?
Some points are really good:
For the first time in history, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that automobile accidents are now the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The leading cause? Drug overdoses. In fact, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine drug use combined. Even more alarming is the estimate that less than 5 percent of those who died from prescription drug overdoses obtained their drugs from the folks we normally think of as street-corner drug dealers. The dealers today are more likely to be parents, relatives, friends, and physicians. Clearly there’s a problem. (c)

Group A: “I make a pot of coffee after I tuck in my kids so I can take care of all the e-mails between ten P.M. and midnight. If there are too many, I wake up at four A.M. and start over again. I don’t like getting to work with any unanswered e-mail in my in-box. I’m exhausted, but they’re answered.”
Group B: “I’ve simply stopped sending unnecessary e-mails and asked my friends and colleagues to do the same. I’ve also started setting the expectation that it might take me a few days to respond. If it’s important, call me. Don’t text or e-mail. Call. Better yet, stop by my office.”
Group A: “I use red lights, grocery lines, and elevator rides to stay on top of my calls. I even sleep with my phone in case someone calls or I remember something in the middle of the night. One time I called my assistant at four A.M. because I remembered that we needed to add something to a motion that we were preparing. I was surprised that she answered, but then she reminded me that I had told her to keep her phone on her nightstand. I’ll rest and let off steam when we’re done. Work hard. Play hard. That’s my motto. And it doesn’t take much to play hard when you haven’t slept in a while.”
Group B: “My boss, my friends, and my family know that I don’t take calls before nine A.M. or after nine P.M. If the phone rings after or before those times, it’s either a wrong number or an emergency—a real emergency, not a work issue.” (с)
“Yes, I know vulnerability. I know it well. It’s an exquisite emotion.” (c)
Like many of the folks drawn to social work, I liked the idea of fixing people and systems. (c)
I had realized that social work wasn’t about fixing. It was and is all about contextualizing and
“leaning in.” Social work is all about leaning into the discomfort of ambiguity and uncertainty, and
holding open an empathic space so people can find their own way. In a word—messy.
As I struggled to figure out how I could ever make a career in social work actually work, I was riveted by a statement from one of my research professors: “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.”
He explained that unlike our other classes in the program, research was all about prediction and
control. I was smitten. You mean that rather than leaning and holding, I could spend my career predicting and controlling? I had found my calling. (c) Seems like the guy just chose his profession unwisely.
1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as SelfWorth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”
As I analyzed the data, I realized that I was about two for ten in my own life when in comes to
Wholehearted living. That was personally devastating. This happened a few weeks before my fortyfirst birthday and sparked my midlife unraveling. As it turns out, getting an intellectual handle on these issues isn’t the same as living and loving with your whole heart. (с) No shit, Sherlock.
Profile Image for Nina.
267 reviews96 followers
June 7, 2022
This is an awesome book, and I wished I had read it earlier.

Brené Brown writes about vulnerability and shows the connection between shame and guilt as the major reasons why we so often dare not be vulnerable. The message she combines with this insight is ‘be brave’, show courage. Show up, be there, do whatever it takes, even if you are afraid of being embarrassed. It is part of being vulnerable, and according to her research, you cannot be emotionally vulnerable without taking a risk. Brown's message is a very positive one, and according to her it was life changing for her in the best of ways.

What you will not find are specific ways that show you exactly how to become emotionally vulnerable. However, Brown gives you several ideas and sends you into the right direction if you want that.
I believe being able to be vulnerable around people is a gift, and it is something that makes people more complete, and much more real. So if you understand the importance of vulnerability in this or a similar way, this could be a great title for you.
5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robyn McIntyre.
Author 1 book9 followers
September 17, 2021
This book was recommended on a blog that I follow by a person whose thinking somewhat mirrors mine. She recommended it in a big way, so I was anxious to read it. And I'm feeling odd about not giving it a higher rating, because I think it probably deserves one. I'm giving it three stars not because I have issues with the content (exactly) or with the writing, but because the subject matter is old hat to me.

Ms. Brown is fairly well known as a speaker and writer on the subject of 'shame' and how it debilitates us and keeps us from being the persons we want to be. She is right, of course. The weight that we give to shame is disproportionate to the weight it should have in keeping us to our personal code of ethics and values. She also addresses shame in this book as a chapter explaining why not being good at vulnerability often means that we are good at shame and how learning to be shame resilient is necessary to being able to achieve comfort with being vulnerable.

In particular, she focuses on how being willing to be vulnerable and to acknowledge that vulnerability - embracing it - creates opportunities for growth and increased closeness to those we love.

In my youth I was very vulnerable (ha!) to shame. Terrified of being judged not good enough, I spent a lot of time trying to make myself invisible. The summer after 10th grade, I spent some time thinking about the enjoyment of life I was not having. It was at that point that I decided that I would work to be me, whoever that was, and if that wasn't okay with the rest of the world, then they could kiss my skinny brown butt. I have spent the majority of my life since then trying to be only who I am in all social situations - 'what you see is what you get', 'keeping it real' and so on.

So I found nothing really new or life-changing in Ms Brown's book. But that doesn't mean you won't.

It's a good book. And if shame and lack of vulnerability are keeping you from being who you would like to be to your family, your friends, and your Self, then you should read this book. You should definitely read this book.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,116 reviews352 followers
July 23, 2019
...nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I'm standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.

That quote above is one of the reasons I picked up this book and why I'm willing to actually write about it. I read this sort of book from time to time, but I never review them. I couldn't say why exactly, probably that shame thing Brené Brown goes into throughout the book. I'm dreading this even as I write it because I know I'll put this out there and admit that I'm a mess to anyone who cares to read this. I doubt and berate myself much more than anyone could possibly know. As the book would tell me I've accepted a shame perspective on myself. Apparently there's a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is healthy and honest. It says I did something foolish, I made a mistake, I lied, and many other things. I own that my actions were wrong through guilt. Shame on the other hand says I'm a fool, I'm a mistake, I'm a liar, and other distorted statements. It reinforces deep within that I'm bad and this is why. Not that I did something bad, but that I am bad . Life is hard enough without me adding to it by killing my own self-worth.

Daring Greatly may not help everyone personally, but it will help everyone relate to some people in their lives who can't stay out of their own way or out of their own head. Maybe it's the person who has so much potential, but is too scared to try. Maybe it's the person who completely crumples under criticism. I've personally spent a long time learning tidbits this book explains and slowly putting those morsels into application. I'm both excited and terrified to read about how much more I have to uproot just to feel like my perception of nearly everyone else.

Daring Greatly is a book worth the read and it could truly change your life or the life of someone close to you. I'm amazed such a book exists and I'm grateful to have read it. Now I just have to apply what it says. Please wish me luck.
Profile Image for Jazzmin Hunter.
277 reviews18 followers
April 21, 2015
There wouldn't be much left if all the sappy autobiographical stuff was removed. The audiobook reader is irritating too. Imagine a breathy voice saying something like "Once again I amazed myself at how amazing I am in spite of all my humility and vulnerability." and it would pretty much sum up my impression of this book.
Profile Image for BookOfCinz.
1,420 reviews2,556 followers
January 8, 2022
I love reading Brene Brown because I feel I am reminded how and why I need to live Wholeheartedly, which is what I want to do for 2021.

"Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It's about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It's even a little dangerous at times. And without a question, putting ourselves out there means there's a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly as meant to me, I can honestly say nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous and hurtful as believing that I'm standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what if would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be been."

The quote above shook me. It made me question what is on the other side of daring greatly.

I was watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and she had Brene Brown as her guest, she spoke about her book "Daring Greatly". I was touched so much by the interview, I had to read the book. My friend loan me his copy and I was thrilled. I cannot remember the last time I sat down reading a book and taking copious amount notes. I was enthralled with the work of Brene Brown. I love that she makes the research relatable because it is hard being vulnerable and acknowledging that vulnerability.

This is a book I will always go back to because its got so many important nuggets that I need to better live my life.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
123 reviews65 followers
November 16, 2015
I saw one of Brown’s TED talks years ago. I haven’t re-watched it recently. Many friends and even people I barely know have recommended Brown’s books to me so I thought I’d give one a try. Daring Greatly seemed the most appealing for what I want right now in my life. I would love to be more courageous and daring. Brené Brown makes a killing from her best selling books and also rakes it in as a popular keynote speaker. I was curious to see what she offers.

My initial reaction to this book was confusion. I had seen it marketed as psychology and self-help, neither of which I found here. Brown is a self-described shame researcher, but if this were a psychology book about shame, the Super-Ego would be mentioned at least. It’s not self-help because there are no practical suggestions or tools given for actually becoming more vulnerable and thus, courageous. I was also confused about what constitutes “shame.” For Brown, the shame tent is nearly all-encompassing. Self-loathing, fear of rejection, embarrassment (even though she says not), anxiety, overwhelm, discouragement, feelings of unworthiness, and perfectionism are all “shame” for Brown.

I also found myself wincing as I read. Brown’s constant reference to her credentials and popularity is off-putting. She seems to have an overpowering need to establish herself as an expert. It’s as if she were constantly asking, “Do you believe me know? And now? How about now?” On a related note, in the book she talks about how we wince when someone overshares. She attributes the compulsion to overshare to shame (of course) and justifies her own oversharing as acceptable because she only opens up about personal issues she has already worked through. I have not seen Brown on tv and barely remember her TED talk, but I imagine her to be a very charming and engaging speaker in person. She likely has an attractive personality and that’s why she gets away with oversharing and, well, neediness. Because she is so vibrant she comes off as being real and authentic in her neediness rather than tedious. I should clarify that I didn’t flinch so much at her oversharing since she brings a lot of self-awareness to it, but to her need to convince readers that she is an expert.

Her book appears to be a description of the results of a sociological study rather than psychology or self help. However, as far as her research methods go, I am left with the question: How is this any different from someone talking to a lot of people and finding her own personal issues in other people’s stories? It’s a very human response for sure, but I’m not sure I’d call it scientific or research or data. Also, the entire tone of the book seems to be, “Did you know there is this thing out there called shame? and I have personally discovered and uncovered it as the source of all of society’s ills!” There is zero historical context or mention of past shame researchers.

The truth is, a week after reading this book, very little of it sticks with me. There was a lot about the paralyzing effects of perfectionism. That is something I became aware of in myself and started dealing with in my early 20s. I couldn’t relate to many of her personal anecdotes. I did like the paragraph about Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher but I had already seen Neff’s TED talk. In fact I had recommended here her website and self-compassion exercises as practical and useful.

I really can’t think who I would recommend this book to in spite of it being so popular and lauded. In its place I would recommend Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the voice of vocation by Parker J. Palmer if you are looking to feel more centered and grounded in your authentic self. I liked Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism by Thomas S. Greenspon.

I have to say I even question the importance of vulnerability in courageous action as compared to wisdom and discretion. Why was Catherine the Great such a powerfully courageous monarch? Because she was wise. She started reading practical philosophy as a young girl and sought to develop her own personal philosophy of life that guided her every action. She was courageous because after years of seeking wisdom in books and from her own astute observations of court life, she was expert at assessing risk, whether it be in a personal relationship with an advisor or a war with millions of lives at stake. I would like to be vulnerable in the way that Catherine the Great was, to have the ability to dispassionately take stock of my weaknesses and strengths, to be humble enough to take good counsel and yet confident enough to make my own decisions.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,172 reviews8,373 followers
December 8, 2018
I feel like I'm pretty late to the game when it comes to reading Brené Brown, but I'm so glad I finally got around to it. She's a thoughtful and compassionate researcher who is able to imbue her work with personal experiences while still maintaining objectivity. It's definitely not a book, or type of book, I'd think to pick up (shoutout to the folks who suggested it to me!) because it's a subject matter I'd generally rather listen to a podcast about or watch an interview/conversation. However, this book was very accessible—and interesting! I am sure I will be processing this for a long time and trying to incorporate more 'daring greatly' into my life. Even if I walk away with only one small practice, it's worth having read this. Would highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jessica.
326 reviews388 followers
April 22, 2021
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is a must read self-help book about vulnerability. This book is very empowering and relatable. The main focus of the book is vulnerability and not letting vulnerability stop you from achieving your goals. This was my first book by Brene Brown and I can’t wait to read her other books. I’ve heard so many great things about her and this book lived up to my expectations. Brown talks about her own vulnerability and how hard it is for her to be vulnerable. She gives real world examples. It feels like receiving advice from a peer, and the fact that Brown is so successful shows that success is achievable. This book relates to every aspect of life. Daring Greatly is now one of my favorite self-help books. This year has been a struggle for me and Daring Greatly really helped me. I highly recommend Daring Greatly for anyone looking for a relatable self-help book.

Thank you Avery Books for Daring Greatly.

Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,598 reviews2,309 followers
May 19, 2019
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown is not my typical read for me. Science fiction and fantasy are my norms. But I saw this author on Netflix and she was saying things I really needed to hear. I was soaking it up! I needed to jot notes down...so I said forget that! She has a book!
This made me really think and feel and laugh! She is so funny! Who knew I could learn so much while laughing! Now comes the daring part! Putting it all in use!
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,388 reviews1,469 followers
July 6, 2019
Brené Brown shares her twelve years of research into shame and gives tools on how to increase one's vulnerability. In this way, she believes each individual can help change the culture of scarcity and pull the world back from a continual cycle of shaming.

We'll build stronger and deeper relationships, strengthen families and have more productive work places. And, by doing this, we will each, in our own way, live in a manner that "dares greatly" every day.

"I also learned that the people who love me, the people I really depend on, were never the critics who were pointing at me while I stumbled. They weren't in the bleachers at all. They were with me in the arena. Fighting for me and with me." pg 56

I'm going to use the information in this book the most in my work life. As a writer, I attach far too much significance to my work product on the audience's response to it rather than my own feelings about it. As Brown so clearly points out in this book, an outside response will never be good enough or big enough to fill the need that I am looking to fill with their words or their views. Or, if it is wildly praised, perhaps the next work won't be, and then I'm right back to where I started.

"You still want folks to like, respect, and even admire what you've created, but your self-worth is not on the table. You know that you are far more than a painting, an innovative idea, an effective pitch, a good sermon, or a high Amazon.com ranking." pg 64

This desire for connection and a feeling of worthiness, Brown says, comes from the need to survive by belonging to a group. Our brains have evolved to encourage us to belong and form connections. And when we don't by not believing in our own self worth or experiencing shame, it is a physically painful emotion. People do all sorts of things to avoid feeling shame including pulling away or striking out. But, in the end, these connections are life itself.

"Buber wrote, "When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them." pg 150

As interesting as I found Brown's research to be, she lost me when she began a discussion about how much vulnerability is enough or too much and walking the tightrope between extremes. So, be authentic, but don't use it to manipulate people. A few sentences covers what Brown uses 50 pages to unpack.

"When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable." pg 169

Her message becomes a bit undefined and more general the further the book goes. That's not to say it couldn't be useful for readers who are looking for that type of information. I didn't find it particularly engaging.

Like any self help book, I think sometimes authors and researchers can get lost in the weeds of the problem. I far more prefer to focus on the solution. In this case, that's being brave enough to show up and be seen, demonstrating vulnerability and willingness to care about whatever is going on wherever we find ourselves throughout the day. As Brown reminds readers, it's not about winning or losing, it's about being there. And that's a message worth spreading.

"To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly." pg 110

I'm game. Are you?
Profile Image for Tanu.
355 reviews418 followers
August 25, 2023
What is understood about Vulnerability through this book is definitely an eye-opener for me, let me share.

Vulnerability is standing up for oneself,

the first date after a divorce,

telling someone you have feelings for them even though you know it will not be reciprocated,

saying no,

taking off your mask and hoping others won't be repelled by the real me,

making art,

telling someone they are going to die when they thought you'd save them,

reaching out to someone to admit I was wrong,

trying something new,

stepping up to try something after failing several times,

exercising in public when out of shape,

saying I love you first,

initiating sex,

being accountable,

stepping up to the stage in front of a crowd waiting on a show.

In other words, vulnerability is not about weakness or helplessness it is actually about courage and honesty.

This book covers a wide range of themes, including self-awareness/development, education, leadership, and parenthood. The author provides her results on the ideas of shame, weakness, and vulnerability after more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews. The author defines vulnerability as "exposure, uncertainty, and emotional risk," and believes that it is at the heart of most of our important experiences. In the end, she adds, it isn't a flaw; everyone is vulnerable, and we all need the help of friends and family. Vulnerability and trust go hand in hand.

A book for everyone to read and RE-READ! There is also a Ted talk by the author on the same topic you can check it out on Ted.com or Youtube.

Grab your copy here or here.
Profile Image for Theresa Miller.
119 reviews5 followers
March 22, 2013
Brene Brown is fabulous, and I’m so happy I finally got to read this book. I started reading one of her other books, one that was more specifically about her research around shame, and it wasn’t what I needed to be reading then. This, though, was what I needed. She still talks a lot about shame and about fear, and it’s in ways that are relevant for me in my day-to-day life and my work.
One of my favorite parts is her discussion of how over-sharing is not the same as vulnerability. That’s so important for me to recognize. I see it in my clients, and I see it in myself, this tendency to over-share, to spew stories, often the traumatic kind. I share these stores well when I share them with trusted people, in a setting that is appropriate. I share these stories less well when I’m at a social gathering and someone asks what I do for a living and then I spew all the awful that happened this past week. Brene says that people need to deserve our trust- we don’t gain a trusting relationship by telling someone we just met all the intimate details of our life right off the bat- that’s not how we form true and real relationships. She acknowledges the paradox too- that we can’t be vulnerable in a healthy way unless we trust someone, and we can’t trust someone unless we can also be vulnerable with them. It’s a tricky place to muddle through, and it’s so important to do it. There’s a difference between using vulnerability to try to gain something, and actually being vulnerable.
She also says that when we feel vulnerable, what that often looks like to other people is bravery and courage. When we are risking sharing something about ourselves, whether it’s an unpopular opinion, or a life experience, or trying difficult things, we feel naked and open to attack. What others often see though, is someone being brave enough to “dare greatly.” She says that the prevailing internal opinion is that “vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.” I’ve been trying to keep that in mind too, and move forward with it.
One small thing I’ve done recently is to take the work “but” out of much of my everyday vocabulary. I’m trying to recognize that I often have opinions and beliefs that contradict each other, and that’s okay. I don’t want to negate myself as much as I have been. It turns out that in a lot of my sentences, the word “and” can easily replace the word “but,” and it feels so much nicer to say things that sound more like a continuation than a negation.
She talks too about how shame hits the brain in the same place that physical pain does, so that when someone talks about how shame hurts, it’s even neurologically true. She talks a lot about shame and how we attach to it and carry it with us, how it impacts both men and women deeply, and what shame looks like in big and small instances.
I wish I could keep this book- there are a lot of things I’d like to remember more concretely, about parenting judgment, and having conversations with co-workers to talk about transformation, and about how we attach self-worth to our creative endeavors, and it turns out that I need to Dare Greatly in a small way by bringing this back (a week late) to the library.
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books59.5k followers
January 21, 2013
So, so good. This is one to read and read and read again.
Profile Image for Traci Thomas.
590 reviews10.4k followers
April 25, 2021
I was impressed by this book. Brown has crafted a persuasive and thorough argument. I felt called to change things about myself and to think about vulnerability and shame in new ways. This book lacks in any representation for any experiences outside of whiteness. I listened to the audiobook and Brown is an excellent narrator.
Profile Image for Krista.
534 reviews10 followers
June 10, 2017
I think I am the only person on the planet who has not drunk the Brene Brown Kool-Aid. This book just seems like common sense to me.
Profile Image for Liz Sawyer -  dear virginia.
583 reviews12 followers
June 28, 2013
Okay so this author uses Harry Potter, fellow TED favorite Ken Robinson, Top Gun, Teddy Roosevelt, John Gottman, and even The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin... How could I not like this book with all those references to items I like? Yet, she bases this book around solid research and combines together her own personal stories in the right moments to demonstrate her thesis.

Daring greatly... A phrase she has used from Roosevelt.... She writes, "everything I've learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it's understanding the necessity of both, it's engaging. It's being all in."

This book is NOT about being weak or permissive. It is daring you to be YOU! It is daring you to be uncomfortable, to define boundaries, to envision something outside of what society/culture makes "cool" "We are hard wired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives..."

2/3 of this book applies to every type of person... Male, female, leader, old, young, teacher, parent, etc. That is because the elements that prevent us from what she calls "wholehearted living" are so common and impact our workforce, creativity, connection to others. The very end of the book has chapters specific to leadership & parenthood.

If you want to get a sense of her topic, search for one of her talks on TED.com but you will still get far more from the book than just the 18min speech.
Profile Image for Whitney.
131 reviews50 followers
November 13, 2019
“Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage.”

Another amazing book by Brene Brown. At this point I really do not think I could pick a favorite as every single one teaches me something, presents material in a different way, and leaves me better off. I highly recommend her as an author to everyone; she has changed my life and the way I view relationships (professional and personal) as well as leadership and personal growth.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews680 followers
December 6, 2017
آسيبي كه راز نگه داشتن يك اتفاق بد يا شرم آور به سلامت روان وارد مي كنه از خود اون اتفاق به مراتب شديدتر هست. نوشتن اون راز و افكارمون در موردش به ازبين بردن اثرات منفيش بسيار بسيار كمك مي كنه.

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be—a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation—with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.
Profile Image for Melody Warnick.
Author 7 books162 followers
February 7, 2017
I didn’t want to read this because I thought, “Shame and vulnerability aren't really issues for me." HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Profile Image for BookChampions.
1,185 reviews108 followers
February 11, 2017
I feel like it was beautiful serendipity that I stumbled upon Daring Greatly. After reading an interview with Brené Brown someone had posted on Facebook and then finally watching her TED talks on vulnerability and shame (another colleague had recommended TED.com to me a couple years ago, and I'm just now getting on that beautiful train), I knew I had to get my hands on this book.

Three days later I carried the book in my hand. Three days after that I had devoured it. It turns out that these had been some of the best spent "working" hours in a really long time. Not since reading the work of Pema Chödrön have I been so inspired to start immediately cleaning up my life. (Cue John Lennon and Yoko Ono: "Clean-up time!") What has already proved incredibly transformative for me is the language that I now have to describe how I get silenced and shamed in the workplace. Working as an English teacher at the school where I teach has been both a love and an incredible burden. But I realize now that I am made of the kind of stuff that yearns to "dare greatly." I expect a lot from myself and my school. I keep expecting us to break new ground--yet we are forever grounded. I used to say that you can't be a Buddhist at UCHS; but now I think it UCHS is the BEST place to work on mindfulness and compassion. It's just REALLY HARD WORK!

Brené Brown encourages me to stick to my guns, though--to not give up and to SHOW UP each day and to each meeting, emotions and hard questions and all of it. If I am going to be a part of true innovation, a true educational revolution (which some days--the jaded days--feels like a oxymoron), like I say I do, I'm going to have to honor my willingness to take risks, stay vulnerable and be uncomfortable. It also means I'm going to have to maneuver through a lot of what my wife has now called "shame soup."

I'm so grateful for this book, for Brené Brown, and for the opportunity to impact my world, my family, my son, and myself. She doesn't provide all the easy answers, but she gives me the tools to not simply "get through the year" but to make it one of the best damn school years of my life. And then, simply one great life.
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