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Dare to Lead

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
Narrated by: Brené Brown
Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (8,295 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best-seller.

Brené Brown has taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead. 

Named one of the best books of the year by Bloomberg.

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.  

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it's necessary to do good work.  

But daring leadership in a culture that’s defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.  

Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question:  

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? 

In this new audiobook, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions have come to expect and love. Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

Whether you’ve read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong or you’re new to Brené Brown’s work, this audiobook is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership.

©2018 Brené Brown (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"With Dare to Lead, Brene brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead." (Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, founder, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org)

"Whether you're leading a movement or a start-up, if you're trying to change an organizational culture or the world, Dare to Lead will challenge everything you think you know about brave leadership and give you honest, straightforward, actionable tools for choosing courage over comfort." (Tarana Burke, senior director, Girls for Gender Equity, founder, the Me Too movement)

"Brene truly gives it all away in Dare to Lead. Courage is a set of teachable skills, and she teaches us exactly how to build those muscles with research, stories, examples, and new language. The future belongs to brave leaders, and she's written the ultimate playbook for daring leadership." (Scott Harrison, founder and CEO, charity: water)

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Brené's Work Has Changed My Life

As noted in the heading of this review, Brené Brown's work has literally been life-changing for me. Years ago, my wife was reading "Daring Greatly" and as we were working through some life challenges at the time, she said, "I really think you need to read this book." When she confessed that the author was somebody who researched shame and vulnerability, I was like, "No thanks." I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I did not need to read about shame and vulnerability.

After much coaxing, my wife convinced me to begin reading. As I read "Daring Greatly," I honestly couldn't put it down. I quickly ordered "The Gifts of Imperfection" and read through it the following week. I then went back and read it again, s-l-o-w-l-y. I wanted to absorb some of the principles and practices she communicated, reflect on them, and begin putting some of them into practice myself.

As her other books came out, I read through them as well. While I wasn't as drawn to "Rising Strong" or "Braving the Wilderness" as I was to the other two, they still provided me with insights that I have come to really hold onto. Having read, and reread all of her work, I recently had a colleague who came to me and said, "You've really changed a lot over the past few years. What steps have you taken to grow so much?" My answer - "Books by Brené Brown and others ("Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" and "Emotionally Healthy Leadership" by the Scazzero's) have been a Godsend."

With Dare to Lead, Brené takes on work-culture. While many of the same principles have been communicated in her other work, I was thrilled to find some of the best material all compiled together in one book. The material available on the Dare to Lead hub on Brené website made it even better. The workbook and other printouts show that her team doesn't just want to get the information out there, they want to get it out there AND see it put into practice. And for good reason - it needs to be put into practice.

If you haven't read anything by Brené Brown, this is an excellent start. It's a good summary of some of her former work, and her own narration of the book is exceptional.

If you're looking for something outside of work culture, then listen to "The Power of Vulnerability". It's 6, roughly 1-hour sessions that walk through most of the principles she wrote out in "The Gifts of Imperfection." And it's gold.

Of the many, many non-fiction books I've read over the past 20 years of my life, Brené's books are seriously at the top of my list. She's done very important research on topics nobody else wants to talk about and the results give us input as to why we need to be talking about these things.

Seriously, if you're still reading this, pick up Dare to Lead (or Power of Vulnerability) asap. Listen to it more than once. Take notes. Challenge yourself. Put some new skills into practice. It'll change how you see yourself, and how you see others...in the best way possible.

122 of 123 people found this review helpful

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Similar, but insightful nonetheless

As with any Brene Brown book, this book is full of wisdom and insights. IMO, Brene Brown is one of the most articulate writers and makes complex/ abstract ideas practical and easy to understand, and it really shines in this book.

I took off one star because if you have read any of her books before, this one will have a general brush of deja vu, as there is a lot of rehash from her other books. I was mostly disappointed in the last part, which felt pretty much copy and paste from “Rising Strong”.

That being said, moving forward I think I will return to this book the most out of her books, as it is a great synthesis of all her ideas. Even if you’ve read her work before, still highly recommend :)

183 of 196 people found this review helpful

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Familiar Content Necessarily Reformatted

If you've read at least two of Brené Brown's books, then you may balk at some of the material – at first. You've come across this finding or that analysis in "The Gifts of Imperfection," "Daring Greatly," "Rising Strong," or "Braving the Wilderness." You may be tempted to dwell on your reaction, especially in our current TL;DR culture. But don't dismiss "Dare to Lead" on this impulse.

Early on, she acknowledges that "Dare to Lead" includes findings from her other books. She explains that the idea for "Dare to Lead" rose from feedback given by various leaders who wanted an accessible resource dedicated to leadership. And the book accomplishes this with relevant case studies, timely examples, and helpful side-by-side breakdowns of leadership roadblocks and their antidotes.

Wisdom is not cultivated overnight; neither are self-acceptance and acceptance of others. The latter dynamic of acceptance of both self and others is what underpins much of what Ms. Brown's research. While it's understandable that many of us who've come across her work may hear echoes or overlaps, it's valuable to revisit what (you think) you know about her research in a new light. After all, it takes repeated exposure of any one thing so we can see from a 360º view, much less heady topics like shame and empathy.

In "Dare to Lead," we receive the tools to recognize empowering (professional) leadership and the language to discuss it. You don't have to be in a conventional position of leadership to benefit from this. In fact, it's even more helpful for those of us who are not currently leading a team or organization, or don't have the intention to do so, because we have a bit more distance to see existing toxicity and dysfunction promoted by those at the top. A great team is the sum of everyone and a great leader is actually in service of this sum. "Dare to Lead" is a must-read, or a must-hear in this case, for all professionals.

On performance, it doesn't get any better than Brené Brown. She is masterful in bringing life to her words, a captivating storyteller through and through.

75 of 84 people found this review helpful

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The Best of Brene

Yes, you've heard parts of this book before, but it's here in a new context. Easy listen, and the best of who Brene is shines through. I bought the paper copy after finishing the audiobook and plan on both reading and listening again. The Ham Folderver Debacle alone is worth twice the price of the book.
Recommend downloading the (free) workbook from the Dare to Lead hub before beginning, if you don't buy the paper copy.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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If you have read her other books you have read it

Same content as all her other books. It would be nice for her to write with new content and new examples.

51 of 57 people found this review helpful

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Worth the read

Even if you have read her other books, this book is worth a read or listen. Yes, there is some repetition but it’s stuff most of us could use review on. And if you are in a leadership position, the stories and leadership specific context will be especially helpful.

I especially appreciate the audio as Brene is able to not only read with the enthusiasm and talent she shows in her public speaking, but also edits appropriately for audio in certain areas. Also I appreciate that a workbook and other resources are available on her website for items better in print, so while I still my buy the book in print at some point, I do not need to simply to use these items.

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Meh

I was looking forward to this book- having read all of her other books. Brene Brown is queen, I mean no disrespect, but this book was disappointing to me. It was incredibly redundant. Most of the stories shared & things shared here I've heard from her before. I wasn't a fan.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Not bad, but couldn’t take the 70% humble brag

Not a bad book, some good points but soooo much longer than needs be due to the amount of humble bragging. Countless times she goes in a tangent “...so I was in the middle of running 6 companies and decided to start anther as welll as run a marathon and become certified trainer.... I am nothing if courageous and brave....” and the personal stories (fold over ham and missing daughters last school event) were hypocritical and inconsistent- if they meant that much to you (where u broke down crying in the airport) don’t put yourself in that situation- seems disingenuous

I have a pet peeve with people who humble brag - drives me crazy. But if you’re not opposed to it, decent book

41 of 49 people found this review helpful

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VERY fulfilling and resonant audiobook

Loved hearing Brené’s authentic voice in this audiobook reading. She is a powerful writer and down-to-earth speaker. Highly recommend for anyone with a long commute to and from work, as you will get a chance to reflect on and put into practice the skills and exercises in this book in a way that will directly impact your experience at work!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Could have been a blog post

I was really waiting for that small nugget I could take away from this book, but it never came.

There was not a single chapter in this book that gave me new insights. The more chapters I read, the more it felt like this book is recycled blog post content.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful