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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Paperback – 3 December 2015
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About the Book
Every time we are introduced to someone new, try to be creative, or start a difficult conversation, we take a risk. We feel uncertain and exposed. We feel vulnerable. Most of us try to fight those feelings - we strive to appear perfect.
In a powerful new vision Dr Brené Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability, and dispels the widely accepted myth that it's a weakness. She argues that, in truth, vulnerability is strength and when we shut ourselves off from vulnerability - from revealing our true selves - we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.
Daring Greatly is the culmination of 12 years of groundbreaking social research, across every area of our lives including home, relationships, work, and parenting. It is an invitation to be courageous; to show up and let ourselves be seen, even when there are no guarantees.
This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.
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Though I am still a work in progress (I'm 22 currently), I can look back and see how far I've come, and it is all thanks to Brene Brown: her books, her Ted talks, her program, etc. This is my favorite book of hers, though.
If you don't feel worthy of love and belonging, if you feel lesser than everyone else; if you can't forgive yourself for your mistakes or your terrible moments or the stupid things you've done in life; if you can't accept your humanness; if you can't show your face or eyes to others due to shame; if you can't own up to your mistakes for fear of judgement; if you compare yourself to others; if you constantly strive to prove yourself to others but feel as if you never measure up; then this book is for you.
I have read it through and then listened to the whole book about 3 times. I need to be reminded again and again what it means to Dare Greatly, as I have lived most of my life hiding and trying to protect myself. Every time I hear the words in this book, I can't help but say "Yes! Yes! Yes!" over and over again. It all makes such simple sense. I also cannot hear Brene's words - in book or talks - without crying, because they are some of the most beautiful words to my ears there ever was.
We are not in this alone, and our worth is not something that can be measured.
I am planning to get some of her books this Christmas for my family, who all badly need to hear her message and don't bother to look her up despite my urging. I will also have all her books on my shelf someday when I have kids, for them to all read as they are growing up, so that they don't grow up in fear, with low self-worth and full of shame, and to also give them the courage to dare greatly. (Of course I will parent differently than I was raised, and that will make a difference. ;) )
I would give this book a 10 star rating if I could.
Here is an example of her weird logic at work. She says, "When discussing vulnerability, it is helpful to look at the definition and etymology of the word vulnerable. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word vulnerability is derived from the Latin word vulnerare, meaning “to wound.” The definition includes “capable of being wounded” and “open to attack or damage.” Merriam-Webster defines weakness as the inability to withstand attack or wounding. Just from a linguistic perspective, it’s clear that these are very different concepts, and in fact, one could argue that weakness often stems from a lack of vulnerability”. Um nope. Weakness often stems from a lack of admitting your own vulnerabilities to yourself, or not sharing them with people that can support you with them. But weakness does not stem from a lack of vulnerability.
Here's another example. She says, “Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.” Nope. Vulnerability is not defined by your mutuality and boundaries. It's not about sharing your feelings. These things can increase or decrease your exposure to risk, but they do not form its basis and it does not strongly depend on them. What does depend on them quite often is our FEELING of being vulnerable, which is often illusory and this delusion is not helpful.
At one point she seems to get it. She says, “the critical issue is not about our actual level of vulnerability, but the level at which we acknowledge our vulnerabilities around a certain illness or threat.” So which is it? She is clearly using the word "vulnerability" here in the normal accepted way. This is why I'm annoyed at her. She knows what the word means, but also wants to shoehorn this weird extra thing in there.
Because of this weird word abuse I find her book very hard to read. She should have said "sharing your vulnerabilities with people you trust" instead of "being vulnerable." Because the real problem is confusing the two concepts. Instead of furthering the confusion, it would be far better if she would clearly separate them.
So if you can look past this recurring semantic issue and read her intentions instead of her words, it's a valuable concept to understand and can help grow. That's the way I'm approaching the book. But I really wish she would use English in an accepted way and not blame readers for misunderstanding the Truth when they object to it....
This book did an amazing job of helping me understand the difference between sharing vulnerability in ways that lead to connection and over-sharing in ways intended to manipulate an audience - and why that oversharing has always led to disconnection.
For the men out there - I'd recommend starting with this book (rather than gifts of imperfection) as Brown broadens her research to include men here. And I really liked the way this book works through so many interesting topics and challenging scenarios.
One of my favorite parts is on professing love vs practicing love (below). It made me appreciate that when someone tells me they love me, then treats me badly, that it isn't really love at all.
<i>During a recent radio interview about my research, the hosts (my friends Ian and Margery) asked me, “Can you love someone and cheat on them or treat them poorly?”
I didn’t have much time, so I gave the best answer I could based on my work: “I don’t know if you can love someone and betray them or be cruel to them, but I do know that when you betray someone or behave in an unkind way toward them, you are not practicing love. And, for me, I don’t just want someone who says they love me, I want someone who practices that love for me every day.”</i>