Friday, April 25, 2014

Daring Greatly, Brené Brown

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


Brené Brown

Category: Self-help

Synopsis: Shame and vulnerability researcher Brown discusses, well, shame and vulnerability.

Date finished: 27 March 2014

Rating: ***

I dislike reviewing self-help books because they’re so personal. What works for some folks won’t for others. Some end up being a lifeline for a person but will leave another reader cold. That’s my experience here. I’ve seen nothing but praise for Brené Brown’s books, and this one in particular. I went in with an open mind, but it didn’t take long to realize this wasn’t the book for me.

In my estimation, the book suffers from one thing: it’s completely unnecessary. Who needs a book to tell them shame feels bad, shaming is bad, and vulnerability is worth the initial pain? After 200-some pages, I still don’t have a good grasp on what “shame” is, in her definition. It seems to boil down to anything that makes you feel bad or less than. She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”

The main problem of the book is that she seems perfectly satisfied with giving definitions, citing her interviews (research), and then going on to writing her next bestseller. She takes forever building her case and no time applying it practically. I took away almost nothing helpful.

And frankly, I found her voice annoying. She liked to brag about her TED talk going viral (mentioned more than once) and repeatedly pointed the reader to her website. She seems equally interested in empire-building as she is helping people. It turned me off.

Lastly, although I appreciate her motive (I do believe she comes from a place of kindness), when I seek to change a behavior or explore a hurt in my past or present, I don’t turn to secular books like this. Since she was being recommended by Christian women of all types, I assumed her work here would draw on Christian themes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When faith came up at all it was a passing reference to a “faith community.”

This book might work for a secular person who doesn’t know where to start, but anyone who’s thought much about life, emotions, context, and how to set things right, won’t find much new here. Though they will find support in a narrow system of belief and understanding, it’s a way of seeing the world I just can’t agree with.

To each her own, I guess.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
I would not.

You might enjoy:
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

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