Book Reviews Books for Adults Non-fiction

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

September 20, 2012

Sometimes I wait a long time after finishing a book to write about it. And sometimes I close the book and immediately am aching to write all about it. Daring Greatly falls into the latter category.

Before Ella was born, several people, knowing how much I like to read, asked me about what books I’d read in preparation for having a child. And, honestly, the answer was “none.”

I couldn’t get interested in reading about sleep schedules or breastfeeding techniques or how your child will likely grow up to be a serial killer if you don’t do x,y, or z.

Now that I’ve been a parent for two whopping whole years, I can see that the books that really appeal to me as a parent are more about personal development and overall parenting, rather than specific troubleshooting (after all, isn’t that what Google is for?).

Daring Greatly was just that kind of book. Put this book with The Happiness Project, Nurtureshock, Quiet, and Outliers, and you’d have my ideal reading list for parents (or anyone, frankly).

They are books about figuring out your own values and passing them on to your children. They’re books about doing things that scare you.

They are books you’re sorry I read if you know me in real life because I won’t stop talking about them.

One of the things this book talks a lot about is taking off your armor and really engaging with other people and situations, especially the ones that make you uncomfortable or make you automatically want to cast blame, disengage, or react with anger or self-righteousness. Blame, disengagement, anger and self-righteousness? I am a master of all of those reactions and the research and examples in this book really helped me identify not only how to deal with these reactions (and replace them with better ones), but also how damaging these behaviors are not just to my relationships, but to me personally.

I’ve realized that I really love books that adress several topics at once and the cross between self-awareness/development, education, leadership, and parenting in this one was really good. I was just as engaged by the chapters about work and education as I was by the parenting chapter. This really is a book for anyone, I think.

By the way, I noticed that when I was only reading a page or two a night, I had a hard time engaging with this book. But if I’d put aside twenty or thirty minutes, I suddenly couldn’t get enough of this book and I felt like EVERY page was speaking just to me.

Now that I’m done with the book, I almost don’t want to put it on the shelf – I feel like I need to keep it on my bedside table and return to it frequently.

I read this book for the BlogHer Book Club and you can read other reviews and discussions at BlogHer.
I am paid for my participation in the BlogHer Book Club, but I
choose which books to read and my reviews are strictly my own
opinions. If I think a book is terrible, I’ll say so. If I rave about
a book, it’s because it’s one I’d give to Kayla or my mom.

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  • Reply Saskia September 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Sounds like a really good book. I'll have to check my library for it.

  • Reply Just Jaime September 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    As soon as you said it's in the same league with the Happiness Project and Outliers, I opened a new tab and searched for it at my library. Why don't they have it! Suggesting now!

  • Reply RA September 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Hmm, very interesting! Unfortunately, no audio version available at my library, so it'll be a while before I can get to this one. It's on the list now, so thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

  • Reply J. September 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I loved all of the other books you mentioned so I think this one would be right up my ally! Excited now!

  • Reply Jon and Laura September 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Have you read Brene Brown's other books? Or seen her lectures on youtube? My dad got me onto her and I've learned a lot from her- she talks a lot about vulnerability and how being vulnerable frees us up to love more deeply (among other things)…it's fascinating to me. I'll have to request this one as my library doesn't have it currently. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Reply Audrey September 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I just watched this author on Katie Couric's new show earlier this week. I was debating whether to read the book but you may have just convinced me!

  • Reply Melanie September 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    This is definitely going on my To Read list.

    I'm sure you've already started this one or have a hold placed, but I want to shout from the rooftops about Gretchin Rubin's Happier at Home. I started listening to the audio version last night and I have ideas coming out my ears! (I think I'll end up buying a print copy because there are SO MANY good quotes…and I've only listened to the first chapter!)

  • Reply Becca September 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    My library does not have this. BOO. It does, however, have another book written by her called I Thought It Was Just Me, which sounds fascinating. So I've now requested that and The Happiness Project. Yay me.

  • Reply Jennie September 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I almost never read non-fiction, it's just not for me, but I am going to read this book as soon as I can.

  • Reply Nicole September 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I am excited to read this, I read The Happiness Project at your suggestion and adored it, in fact I need to go back and reread it with a journal at my side. If this is half as good I will love it. Thanks!

    Oh, and I love three banner you made too, I have all of the circles punched for one and just need to go sew it!

  • Reply Amy September 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Well, since I've read (and loved) the other four books you mentioned, I guess I'll have to read this one too! 🙂

  • Reply Maria RM September 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for the review. I went right to my library to put a hold on it. I have read a few of the other books you mentioned. I really like Malcolm Gladwell books. I would recommend, John Kralik's book, 365 Thank You: the year a simple act of gratitude changed my life and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, both were very thoughtfully written.

  • Reply lauren September 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I love all the books you mentioned; I'd add Drive by Daniel Pink if you are looking for something new along similar lines.

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