“Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown – Book review

Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
– Brené Brown

What you know matters. What I know matters.

But there is something that matters more. Who you are. Who I am.

Showing up to each other—letting each other be seen by the other—is a daring venture. But such vulnerability is “the center of meaningful human experiences,” so says Brené Brown in her enlightening book, Daring Greatly.


“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

One key to letting ourselves be real is to release any shame we feel about not being enough.

Brené describes her “three ninja-warrior gremlin moves” to eliminate shame:

  1. Practice courage and reach out!
  2. Talk to myself the way I would talk to someone I really love and whom I’m trying to comfort in the midst of a meltdown.
  3. Own the story! Don’t bury it and let it fester or define me.

It takes courage to be vulnerable. We’re more comfortable hiding. Three ways we hide are (1) we expect the worst, (2) we try to be perfect, and (3) we numb our pain with other things.

To counteract (1) foreboding joy, practice gratitude. Turn loose your (2) perfectionism through being more creative. And realize that when you (3) numb pain, you’re also numbing experiences of love, joy, and belonging; make peace with being uncomfortable.

It’s okay to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It means we’re in the game, and even though we may pick up scars from playing, we are triumphant from having participated.

Here’s the quote from Theodore Roosevelt that inspired Brené to write the book and pursue wholehearted living. May it inspire each of us as well.

“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 errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. . . .”
– Theodore Roosevelt

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Get free downloads of Daring Greatly checklists here.

Is it hard or easy for you to be vulnerable to others? Why or why not? Let’s share in the comments.

9 thoughts on ““Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown – Book review

  1. Dianna

    I find it hard to be vulnerable…but I am working on it. I want to download this, so I will go and check out the link you’ve posted. Thank you for sharing it, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This book really touched me, Dianna. I love Brene Brown in general, but this particular book seemed like it came deep from her soul. She did a lot of research too, so there are facts and figures backing up her claims. Interesting stuff!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The book itself is a kind of kick-in-the-pants, but in a good way. 🙂 I think we all need prodding at times to stay open when we’d rather close off. By nature we want to self-protect, but that’s not always best for the long-run.

  2. Ronja

    Thank you for this great post, Lisa! Vulnerability really is so difficult, because it takes courage and means that you will get hurt, probably time and time again. But at the same time, it is so true that if you hide from pain and numb it, you will also miss out on experiencing love and joy and so many other good things. The Lord is our refuge and strength, and I remembering that helps me to be vulnerable because I know that He will always be there with me. That quote from Roosevelt is a great one!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re spot-on, Ronja. When we try to shut ourselves off from pain, we also shut ourselves off from joy. But if we can accept that even with both pain and joy, we always have Jesus as our base, then we can be braver. It’s lessons I’m still walking through!

  3. Danita

    I am still in the middle of reading this book and it is great!!!!! It is great thanks for the reccomendation!!!

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