Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Brene Brown, as you may or may not know,  is one of the most famous Ted Talk speakers – ever. Her talk on Vulnerability is in the top 5 Ted Talks of all time so that in itself was incentive enough for me to pick up her latest book but also, as a New Years resolution of sorts, I  decided to break my book choices into three categories in 2018 –

  1. Reads that were good for my brain.
  2. Flights of fancy books that would be good for my heart.
  3. Chicken soup books that would be good for my soul.

Sounds good right!  Well, lo and behold, I have to say I have ticked all three with this one beauty.

Let me explain.

Brene Brown is a research professor so deals in cool, hard facts so this is not the sort of book you skim read.  She is a masterful storyteller, able to beautifully bring her research findings to life with anecdotes that make real sense.   She also has this wonderful skill of  reaching right into your mind and heart with her words, challenging your thinking and causing pause to ponder on who we are.

Well for me anyway, Braving the Wilderness was all of those things (and possibly the gazillion other people who put this on the New York Times Bestselling list).  The premiss of the book is to challenge everything we know about belonging because ‘true belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.’

Easy right?   I cannot even begin to sum up this book in a neat precis because it is a complex analysis of what it means to exist and operate in today’s world – where things are more grey than ever but are painted only as black and white.  If you’re not sure what I mean, think of the global political landscape – you’re left or you’re right, you’re for guns or against, you’re pro-immigration or pro-building walls, global warming is right-on or it’s a conspiracy.  And so it goes….

If you have this book already and have read it, or, based on this review you decide to race out and nab a copy, let me also suggest you dip into the deep, beautiful soul of Brene Brown in her Ted Talks too. You’ll feel better and trust me when I say vulnerability never felt so good.

I am not a great reader of ‘self-help’ books, in fact I probably have only picked up (and quickly put down) a few.  My inspiration comes instead from those who have gone before me and done incredible things often at times of their greatest sorrow.  One of my favourite quotes of all time is ‘courage is fear walking’ and I choose books that shine a light on this pretty much.  But if this is a ‘self help’ book, then, ok, I am in.

Please have a look at this one – courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy – they’re all here and I for one – having glumly turned off the news in despair yet again – think we desperately need all of these things more than ever.

But that is just my two cents worth.