I am not sure there is a better review then, “I carried this book around for days waiting to reference it to others. I even altered a class lesson so I could read directly from B. Brown’s Daring Greatly: Hoe the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead” (2012). Oh, let me mention that this was the first time I have willingly read aloud to others.
Brown makes the concepts of vulnerability, shame, and daring greatly accessible to everyone. Rooted in research but conveyed through personal narratives allows the reader to feel a direct connection to Brown, and her family. Throughout the book I marked pages that could be used within my own research, that might be of interest to my students, and the things I do not want to forget to share with my friends. One of my favourite moments in the book was when Brown was sharing her experience with a male audience member who questioned men’s vulnerability and how this launched a new direction in Brown’s research. I appreciated this as it left me knowing that Brown was not and is not stuck in her own research through her own lens. That she truly hears others and takes the time to reflect.
Early on in the book Brown states: “Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture – it’s a growing marble collection.” (p.53) For some reason this quote stood out and struck a chord with me. I started to think about all the people I believed I trusted and then thought about my willingness to be vulnerable in their presence. I recognized how I lack the desire to be vulnerable and had a few days when I sat in deep reflection relating to these specific relations. In many ways Brown’s book has changed my interactions with others, my desire to dare greatly, to understand the connection between shame and vulnerability, and to attempt to always keep in mind the challenges vulnerability brings up when working with others.
If, early in 2016, I could pick the one book you should purchase, read, and store on your bookshelf, this would be it. I believe there is something in it for everyone and that you will learn a little (or a lot) about yourself and others within pages. Brown speaks to the general public and her writing style is enjoyable. Immediately you gain a connection to Brown, you feel as though she is speaking the words on the pages, and you know you are going to learn something. On the other hand, if you are not yet ready to reflect on your own experiences of shame, being vulnerable, the use of empathy in your life, recognizing behaviours that allow you to avoid sincere feelings, or to start daring greatly, it may not be the right time for you to pick up this book.