After watching Dr. Brene Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability, which I talked about in this post Vulnerability I was compelled to read at least one of her books to learn more. I started with “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.” The Kindle version of this book is about 250 pages with seven chapters followed by a “Final Thoughts” chapter. At the end of the book, there is an appendix which covers Dr. Brown’s research in depth. This book was a light read and took me about a week to finish since I read at least one chapter a day. Even though Dr. Brown discussed her research, the book is not a boring and dry. It is engaging and feels more like a storytelling experience. (Also keep in mind that I read a lot of research articles and research-based texts on a regular basis so my perception/tolerance could different from some people).
For the most part, I enjoyed the book and learned a lot. This book went more in depth some of the same concepts and research that Dr. Brown spoke about in her TED talk. I feel like the TED talk was an introduction/overview of this book. So, if you watched the TED talk and wanted to know more about the subject matter or a specific concept, reading this book could be helpful. Since TED talks are time limited, there is only a certain amount of information that she was able to cover. It was also interesting to see how much new information was presented in the book based on her research and experiences after the TED talk. She dived deeper into shame and vulnerability while showing the connection between them and connection with the previous information. She talked about how gender norms and other societal expectations in the U.S affected how individuals living in the U.S. view shame and vulnerability. Our experiences related to shame and vulnerability are shaped by culture.
To avoid being vulnerable, people typically develop some form of defense and protection. Dr. Brown talked about different forms of armory that she noticed among her research participants. She was also honest about her experiences with shame and vulnerability throughout the book and gave examples which really showed that vulnerability could be difficult even for someone who researches it. Engaging with vulnerability is a continued and on-going learning experience that we have to be intentional about on a regular basis. She connected her research with findings from other researchers. Dr. Brown also gave a few annotates of some of her encounters with people and how they helped her learn more about vulnerability through their stories and methods for engaging in vulnerability while reducing feelings of shame. Being vulnerable does not necessarily mean telling your entire life story to everyone. Dr. Brown discussed the importance of healthy boundaries with our vulnerable and how unhealthy boundaries could impact us and other people. This book lowkey called me out because multiple times I found myself saying “This is me.” In addition, I had a lot of “Ah ha,” moments and understood events from my past and present better. I feel like this book would be a valuable read for everyone because we all struggle with feelings of shame which hinders our ability to be vulnerable. What I really liked about their book was the real-world implications through the shared anecdotes, suggestions, humor, and practical connections to people’s lives. This book could serve as a reminder of the importance of vulnerability and as a stepping stone for becoming comfortable with vulnerability.