Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the #1 bestselling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." So...

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Title:Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
Author:Brené Brown
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Edition Language:English

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Reviews

  • Joy Matteson

    It ended TOO SOON. *cries silently*

    Brown's words are life-affirming, challenging. Her books tend to re-verberate in my soul, in my mind--so I'm actively savoring them as I go about my day.

    I belong to myself--and I belong to no one. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.

    Pithy, perhaps--cliched, maybe. But there's simplicity in the brevity here, as one knows Brown has done an avalanche worth of data analysis to back up her simplified phrases.

  • Lucille Zimmerman

    I gave this book five stars because as usual Brown has done her research, and she is a masterful storyteller. These are the two passions of my life: research and storytelling.

    I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor and an author, so I devour Brown's books. My favorite is The Power of Vulnerability. I have watched her TED talks probably a hundred times. I tell every one of my clients to read her books and watch her videos. I'm a huge fan.

    However, this book wasn't fun or pleasurable the way her othe

    I gave this book five stars because as usual Brown has done her research, and she is a masterful storyteller. These are the two passions of my life: research and storytelling.

    I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor and an author, so I devour Brown's books. My favorite is The Power of Vulnerability. I have watched her TED talks probably a hundred times. I tell every one of my clients to read her books and watch her videos. I'm a huge fan.

    However, this book wasn't fun or pleasurable the way her other books have been. I listened on Audible and felt pained much of the time. Part of that is because I identify with the ways I've armored up after the 2016 election. I lean conservative and have tried to share my views with civility and have always encouraged people to respectfully share theirs. Yet I've been called every name you could imagine. Sadly the worst offenses came from my Christian brothers and sisters who see things differently. One of the cruelest people was an author who wrote a book (that I purchased) about how we need to listen to peoples' stories so we can understand their points of view. Oh the irony. I finally reached a place where I lumped all of them into a group of haters. I stopped listening and stopped caring what the opposing side had to say.

    With that as my history, I found Brown's research about dehumanization helpful. I needed her information about what helps people who are in heated debates.

    When I'm in the counseling setting this is easy for me to do. I love to hear all sorts of views, even ones I disagree with. I want to know how and why people see the world the way they do. But, experiencing our country so divided, I admit I had armored up and sided up.

    I will definitely seek to apply parts of Brown's book to my life.

  • Elyse

    Library overdrive Audiobook.... read by Breen Brown

    Note: I enjoyed this so much that I’m considering buying the Audiobook.

    There may be thousands of people around the world who are huge fans .....

    and even though I had read one of her books ( wasn’t all that impressed), and later listened to one of her Audiobook’s ( I was much more impressed), I still didn’t consider myself a fan of her work - and quite frankly I really didn’t really ‘get’ what her deal was in the world. In fact - I didn’t even k

    Library overdrive Audiobook.... read by Breen Brown

    Note: I enjoyed this so much that I’m considering buying the Audiobook.

    There may be thousands of people around the world who are huge fans .....

    and even though I had read one of her books ( wasn’t all that impressed), and later listened to one of her Audiobook’s ( I was much more impressed), I still didn’t consider myself a fan of her work - and quite frankly I really didn’t really ‘get’ what her deal was in the world. In fact - I didn’t even know what she looked like until I read this book which lead me to research ‘her’ a little more.

    A semi- famous- very successful social scientist called herself a “Research Storyteller”. It’s a perfect way to describe Brene Brown. By the way, I love her first name, Brene.

    I admit - after listening to this Audiobook—I’m in! I’m a fan of the work she’s doing. The way she talked about belonging - as opposed to being excluded - had me looking at this topic from an angle I hadn’t thought about.

    One of the early stories she shared about from her childhood had me wondering if I had ever abandoned my children in ‘spirit’ - from a look of disappointment- from my silence - from not comforting them when they needed me. It hurt to think that maybe at times I did ......and that even though 90% of the time I might not have - or even 99% of the time I didn’t .....one time - 1% could be enough to shift a child’s self. worth. Brene’s story was so powerful - I replayed the audiobook from the beginning to have Paul hear this story. Paul continued listening for a couple of hours -

    since he’s not done - I guess I’m just going to buy it after all.

    The topics & themes in “Braving the Wilderness”......are brilliant tools of gold —( she’s not preaching) —- she’s presenting years of research from SOCIAL STUDIES.

    Her work presented in this book is AT LEAST engaging! She has our full attention!

    The political issues issues she talks about - ways in which we divide - etc. are also interesting.

    Brene is an animated spokeswoman. I happen to agree with the benefits - the concepts she speaks of learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable...sharing our vulnerability and being true to ourselves rather than trying to fit in. It can be very difficult to bring up uncomfortable issues in our relationships- we make mistakes - don’t always do it right - but with practice we get better. By avoiding confrontation in order to feel more comfortable- nothing gets accomplished - and ‘inside’ we really don’t feel any better. Brene details effective ways that help support tricky situations we all face in life....Not from winging a good idea...she speaks from years of THAT RESEARCH AGAIN.

    Paul, my husband, was equally as impressed with Brene Brown on this Audiobook as I was.

    Her dedication to ‘research’ shows and her authenticity is clear!

    Personal value isn’t instantly measurable - but it couldn’t possibly be so - instead its a little at a time. As we listen and explore the things Brene presents - we are slowly taking in alternative effective ways to support more joy, satisfaction, inspiration, empowerment, and love with ourselves and others.

    Brene Brown is an excellent- gifted speaker. Easy on the ears!!!

  • Tucker

    Brene Brown’s new book “Braving The Wilderness” is her most vital and necessary book yet. The book’s subject is how to build and maintain connections and a sense of belonging while also staying true to ourselves and our beliefs. Through her research studies, personal experiences, and case studies combined with her remarkable perceptiveness and wisdom she provides essential directions through the wilderness of loneliness and disconnection. In today’s climate of divisiveness and separation, this i

    Brene Brown’s new book “Braving The Wilderness” is her most vital and necessary book yet. The book’s subject is how to build and maintain connections and a sense of belonging while also staying true to ourselves and our beliefs. Through her research studies, personal experiences, and case studies combined with her remarkable perceptiveness and wisdom she provides essential directions through the wilderness of loneliness and disconnection. In today’s climate of divisiveness and separation, this is a book everyone should read. But it’s not some bitter medicine to swallow. As evidenced by her massively popular TED talks and books, her writing style and the accompanying research resonate with people and feed a real hunger for understanding, hope, and healing. Highly recommended.

    Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.

  • Diane

    This book came to me at just the right time. I found it meaningful, heartfelt, and the themes of belonging and being brave really resonated with me.

    I know Brené Brown has quite the cult following, but this was the first book of hers I have seriously read. A few years ago I had

    foisted on me at work, and I was underwhelmed by the book and ended up hate-skimming it. A few friends had loved

    , and now that I have read and appreciated

    , I

    This book came to me at just the right time. I found it meaningful, heartfelt, and the themes of belonging and being brave really resonated with me.

    I know Brené Brown has quite the cult following, but this was the first book of hers I have seriously read. A few years ago I had

    foisted on me at work, and I was underwhelmed by the book and ended up hate-skimming it. A few friends had loved

    , and now that I have read and appreciated

    , I'm ready to give another Brown book a try.

    However, I will admit this isn't a perfect book. Brown tells a lot of stories, both hers and from friends and from her research in social work, but she repeats her themes a lot, and she doesn't give many specific details from her actual research. I was trying to describe this book to my husband, and struggled to accurately characterize it. It's part self-help, part memoir, part-psychology, and part inspirational.

    The reason this book spoke to me, however, was because the discussion about the need to belong was so impactful that I texted several friends about the book. It's a good book to read during these divisive political times, and I would recommend this book to anyone trying to survive the Trump era with their mental health intact.

    "Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don't belong. You will always find it because you've made that your mission. Stop scouring people's faces for evidence that you're not enough. You will always find it because you've made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don't negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you."

  • ttg

    I'm a fan of Brown's work (and TED talk), but this was just okay. I don't think she had enough pulled together/thought through for a full release, so it feels not as complete. As if rushed for a deadline.

    I like the ideas of being brave with one's conviction, and willing to put yourself out there, even if you're alone to stand up for what you believe, but this still felt very *white* and from a protected, "majority" space.

    Two pieces that frustrated me.

    A) At one point, Brown tells the story of a p

    I'm a fan of Brown's work (and TED talk), but this was just okay. I don't think she had enough pulled together/thought through for a full release, so it feels not as complete. As if rushed for a deadline.

    I like the ideas of being brave with one's conviction, and willing to put yourself out there, even if you're alone to stand up for what you believe, but this still felt very *white* and from a protected, "majority" space.

    Two pieces that frustrated me.

    A) At one point, Brown tells the story of a pastor that speaks up for LGBTQ rights. This story is to help illustrate how one, even in the face of the (potentially homophobic christian) community they serve, they are will to stand up in support of others. This was described as Bravery, which it is for those who are in a community that encourages you to stay quiet in your majority comfort.

    What would have *also* been nice is to pair stories of people coming from majority/dominant culture along with those who have had to break out into the wilderness much much earlier, out of necessity, because they are NOT the majority. Because they are queer, or disabled, are not white, etc. The narrative around bravery is "different" when it feels less like a choice, but it's no less Brave. The focusing on the straight pastor supporting LGBTQ rights, but not including a story of an actual LGBTQ person alongside it felt more...performative for the sake of the narrative. (Not that the pastor is performative. Just how her story is being used here.)

    At one point, those Braving the Wilderness are likened to being at a outdoor dance party, like, "I want to go to There"- the place where people are free, dancing and Brave, but without also giving time to those that are out there dancing because For Real, they have Zero choice, and had not been given the option to go Inside. So, some are out in the Wilderness making the best of what that means, and yes, sometimes that means dancing. Some might be out in the wilderness and are sad, or lonely, or are just doing their laundry, but they're still in the Wilderness, because they are living their Non-Majority lives. It felt like for Majority people, like say, straight people, white people, abled people, they can Choose the Wilderness, and then have the cool option of touristing to the Wilderness Dance Party, but then still not really fathom the chasm the rests between those that Choose to go back Inside, like when it gets cold or really really hard, and those that still have to be outside no matter what.

    B) The second point that really frustrated me was the call for civility in these discussions as we Brave the Wilderness. This part felt really really White Lady Liberal Feminism. Like, "If only you told me that criticism about my behavior in a nicer tone, or if you did it in a compliment sandwich, I would more likely listen to you tell me about that racist thing I just did."

    I think calling for people to be civil is fine. Let's be nice to each other, sure. BUT, if it's being pushed and also it's not discussed how calls for civility are often weaponized by white people, especially White Women, as a way to control the conversation (and STILL end up oppressing others.) I feel like white people especially, and I'm a white woman, need to walk into those "Let's be civil" conversations with a full understanding of how we abuse those specific calls to action for our own favor- to protect us, make us less uncomfortable, and put the burden on others to have to adjust to what we think is Real Civil Discourse. I found Brown's call for civility without cautioning about how that argument often abuses people of color to be troubling.

    So, for me, as a queer disabled person, I found this book is probably "nicer" and more inspiring if you're coming from the Majority space. Where it can feel novel/scary to stand up for someone who is different than you.

    If you're coming from a not-majority space though, it may not feel as connected as you may wish it to be.

    My last point that frustrated me is that I wish Brown showed more data. Often she writes, "The data showed us that people feel like X," but never lists more concrete data. it's very general about big points, and it normally made me wish for something slightly heavier on the science part of social science.

    I listened to the audio version, and thought Brown did a fine job on the narration. I like her voice, so it was nice to listen to.

  • Mehrsa

    She phoned this one in. There's good stuff in here because she's awesome, but there's not enough to warrant a new book. I do wish she would try again to think through tribe and inclusion. Her insights are good and useful, but there is no coherent theory or story here.

  • Olga Tomchin

    Huge disappointment. My partner who read the book with me pointed out that Brown mentions that she has a problem with not giving uninformed opinions on political topics but then she goes and does exactly that with much of this book. This is white liberal centrist lady kumbaya bullshit. She doesn't seem to understand how systemic violence works or oppression. There's an extreme amount of false equivalency in the book. Calling trump a pig is not at all similar to him dehumanizing women. Additional

    Huge disappointment. My partner who read the book with me pointed out that Brown mentions that she has a problem with not giving uninformed opinions on political topics but then she goes and does exactly that with much of this book. This is white liberal centrist lady kumbaya bullshit. She doesn't seem to understand how systemic violence works or oppression. There's an extreme amount of false equivalency in the book. Calling trump a pig is not at all similar to him dehumanizing women. Additionally, the book was extremely smug and prescriptive.

    For people who are actively engaged in resisting fascism and state violence, I would definitely skip this book.

  • Renee

    Although I like Brene Brown, I have to admit that this book was quite a bit of a letdown for me. I was looking for so much more. I don't feel that there was enough "new" information to warrant a new book, let alone a 163 page book that has a $28 price tag attached to it. In the end, Brene published a book on the backs of the numerous people that she quotes throughout the short book. I'm not impressed.

  • Emma

    Sorry Brene Brown, you lost me on this one. I love you but all I could think throughout this was "easy for you to say, white middle class Christian lady."

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