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 number one best-selling 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." Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives - experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
Brown argues that we're experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, "True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that's rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it's easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it's a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts."
Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, "The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand."
I tried fitting in all through my public school years. Then I gave up, dyed my hair, donned combat boots, and started sporting a Mohawk. And I became wildly popular as a nonconformist.
Still, I was miserable. I had no idea how to be me, whatever that entailed.
I love Brene Brown, have all her books, and each has inspired me. Still, inspirational and actionable are two different things.
Finally! Braving the Wilderness has steps one can really, honestly, truly take to get to that fabled goal of Authenticity. Her research brought her to the wonderful checklist, an acronym: BRAVING, where B is Boundaries, A is Accountability, I is Integrity, G is Generosity, and the other letters/elements are covered also in great detail. The challenges that arise with each of these elements are covered, everything, the whole nine yards.
Also, and this I thought was brave of her, Brene discusses how exactly we got to be the volatile, fractured nation we are today; plus she highlights steps we can take to make our interactions with each other more humane, more transformative. And it's not by staying in our own camps either. I know: HARD.
Her narration is warm, her examples, some her own on how NOT to do something, are enlightening, her hope is genuine and contagious.
Okay, so no Mohawk here. But I am ready to take those fearsome, courageous, first few steps...!
269 of 286 people found this review helpful
There's SO many points to touch on. Impossible to. Instead, I'll list a few favorite parts. Knowing this is different for everyone who reads.
When Brene' storytells the moment she recognized not 'belonging' to her family. Tears well up. Turned off the audio book. Visited her Instagram page sifting for comfort where others would vibe similar. Left a message for her and the page. Feeling less alone. Start listing to the book again
Wrapping myself around self incrimination and wanting to feel ashamed of truth I recognize through out the book. Hearing her ask me, 'why?' Resembles how she hears the voices of others. Like, Maya Angelo. This is why I like audio books. Especially with her. I hear her voice. Overlap my fears and tears. This comforts me
Her epiphany of what the Maya Angelo quote means for herself is awesome! Proves the journey may have twists and turns. Full of all sorts of happenstances. Some our own doing when we did what we thought would work. If we keep searching for the truth of something that conflicts with our sense of self we eventually find the 'wilderness' and belonging to ourselves. You'll have to read the book to relate
The interview with Viola Davis meant another click of the book off. Tears welling up. Visiting Viola's Instagram page. Leaving a heart felt thank you for her courage and appreciation for lighting the path a little brighter for me
The interview of junior high students at the end. Fitting in verses belonging and their take on not belonging at home ... AGAIN, tearing up. Turn off the book. Reflect. By this point, after immersing myself for a couple of days I felt more secure in where I am. Understanding the wilderness a lot better. My place in it
Showing up in the world will never be the same 'practicing being in the wilderness' every day from now on. Especially, 'not searching for confirmation I don't belong' any longer
My whole life timelines itself reading this book. I could see where moments of my life helped set the course. Eventually, becoming my doing. No more
The VA is helping me sort through how the events of my military service caused a disability my brain struggles with. After hearing this book I feel confident these struggles won't keep me from belonging to myself and 'You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.' Maya Angelo
155 of 175 people found this review helpful
I have read all of Brene Browns books and listen whatever I could have find from her. When I saw her latest title I was having joy and because she was narrating her own book decided to buy the audio version. The book is well narrated by her. However book itself is a disaster. She is an expert in vulnerability. Her “research” based claims with proper references made her earlier books and audios a true five star self help books. Yet this one is what? She has a concept of wilderness. But she doesn’t go deep in with evidences and research based claims on what it is, methodologies to adapt it in your life or even she doesn’t have any focus. If you are familiar with maya angelou, by her book instead as this book is almost a replica of Maya’s ideologies. Deeply disappointed. Another point for non-US readers. This book is not for you. As a non-US reader I couldn’t relate to most of the book and its themes ie guns, community, etc.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
I used my credits on this book on a whim. Perhaps it was written more for people looking for her opinions on these subjects. I found it to be a winding narrative without much grounding in research or peer reviewed work. It was mostly the author sharing her opinions on what she learned. Also, I think the book’s lessons are more suited for extroverts and learning to argue fairly. I’m glad the author learned how to slow down and think rationally for herself, but I’m not sure why that needs to be a book for the rest of us to read.
20 of 24 people found this review helpful
This is the first books that I have deleted without finishing. After investing a couple of hours, I had to finally surrender. It just brings you down with all of the whining about life events that are trivial compared to what others go through. Not making the pep squad? Being told to wear business attire to a business function? Being asked not to curse at a corporate function that was paying you to speak? Really?? These are the times you felt you needed to “brave the wilderness.” This is not bravery. This is life and she seems to have it pretty easy compared to others dealing with tough issues, ie battling cancer, losing a spouse, being layed off from a career. This book was definitely not for me but may be helpful to a teenage girl trying to find her path.
78 of 96 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Braving the Wilderness to be better than the print version?
One of best of Dr. Brown's Audio Books. She shares a lot of her new research about knowing yourself and your needs when choosing to be a caring person. I enjoy listening to her she has a unique style of communicating.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The quotes from Maya Angelou were very important to the spirit of this book.
Which character – as performed by Brené Brown – was your favorite?
She introduced a variety of research studies and quoted from letters and books from successful people who overcame their fears. Most moving for me was her visit with the Sandy Hook parents. There ability to unite together in love was inspiring.
Any additional comments?
I recommend this book for those who find they are angry about their situation in life and do not understand why the feel like a victim of circumstances beyond their control. Her discussion of methods of not to seeing yourself as an outsider who doesn't fit in anywhere are the most valuable part of this book.
31 of 38 people found this review helpful
Lord have mercy this book was huge disappointment and lacks a thorough race, gender, and class analysis while making cloaked and sometimes overt assertions about race, class, and gender.
Read this if you’d like another text chalk full of white feminist fragility and calls to empathize with actors of oppression. While there are some redemptive moments, over all the name dropping of influential Black folks while essentially unpacking an analysis on interpersonal living that requires “colorblind” and respectability politics was too much.
I don’t care if Oprah loves it. She also loved Dr. Phil.... soooo *shrug*
30 of 37 people found this review helpful
This book is stunning, even more so than Brene's earlier works. It is a timely, Noble and brave message for us to contemplate. I want to buy this for everyone I know. Since I'm not rich, I'll settle for exploring my own copy over and over until it does it's work in me.
Thank you, Brene. Your work is not in vain.
33 of 41 people found this review helpful
For a book that she presents as based on grounded research, the content is anything but. It's great that she wants to present her points of view, but then she should have been more honest and open about what the book was about. In a book about true belonging, it would have been great to have gone beyond the surface of her opinions.
21 of 26 people found this review helpful
Personal struggles and opinions of the author delivered with passion. Unfortunately the text falls short in delivering meaning, and often tends towards self pitty and sentimentalism. Research seems anecdotal at best and mostly dated, at least for the part of the world outside the USA.
24 of 30 people found this review helpful