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Book Review

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


Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Barb Palar

Gotham Books 

June 19, 2012 


CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

287 pp.

I was first “introduced” to Brene Brown through a TED lecture on YouTube a few years ago. I heard an interview with her recently on the radio, and she is captivating as well as entertaining. Her latest book, “Daring Greatly,” examines vulnerability, building upon a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt more than 100 years ago in Paris: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”                 

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of people in the stands,” Brown says in the book. “The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arm’s reach.”             

Brown researches vulnerability and believes that without vulnerability, we can’t live the “Wholehearted life,” which includes being “really there” and also being willing to fail. Brown dives into her own deep research while also skimming from lyrics from some of her favorite bands including Rush and Whitesnake.                 

Brown highly recommends that we own our stories. “I often say this aloud: ‘If you own the story, you get to write the ending. When we bury the story forever, we forever stay the subject of the story. If we own the story, we get to narrate the ending.’ As Carl Jung said, ‘I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.’ ” CV

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