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Publisher's Summary

Show Up and Let Yourself be Seen

Is vulnerability the same as weakness? “In our culture,” teaches Dr. Brené Brown, “we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” On The Power of Vulnerability, Dr. Brown offers an invitation and a promise - that when we dare to drop the armor that protects us from feeling vulnerable, we open ourselves to the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Here she dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and reveals that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.

The Power of Vulnerability is a very personal project for me,” Brené explains. “This is the first place that all of my work comes together. This audio course draws from all three of my books - it’s the culmination of everything I’ve learned over the past twelve years. I'm very excited to weave it all into a truly comprehensive form that shows what these findings and insights can mean in our lives.”

Guidance and Insights for Wholehearted Living

Over the past twelve years, Dr. Brené Brown has interviewed hundreds of people as part of an ongoing study of vulnerability. “The research shows that we try to ward disappointment with a shield of cynicism, disarm shame by numbing ourselves against joy, and circumvent grief by shutting off our willingness to love,” explains Dr. Brown. When we become aware of these patterns, she teaches, we begin to become conscious of how much we sacrifice in the name of self-defense -and how much richer our lives become when we open ourselves to vulnerability.

“In my research,” Dr. Brown says, “the word I use to describe people who can live from a place of vulnerability is wholehearted.” Being wholehearted is a practice—one that we can choose to cultivate through empathy, gratitude, and awareness of our vulnerability armor. Join this engaging and heartfelt teacher on The Power of Vulnerability as she offers profound insights on leaning into the full spectrum of emotions—so we can show up, let ourselves be seen, and truly be all in.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cultivating shame resilience—the key to developing a sense of worth and belonging.
  • Vulnerability as the origin point for innovation, adaptability, accountability, and visionary leadership.
  • Our emotional armory - how we use perfectionism, numbing, and other tactics to avoid feeling vulnerable.
  • The myths of vulnerability - common misconceptions about weakness, trust, and self-sufficiency.
  • Discovering your vulnerability armor - recognizing what makes us shut down, and how we can change.
  • The 10 guideposts of wholehearted living - essential skills for becoming fully engaged in life.
  • Six hours of stories, warm humor, and transformative insights for living a life of courage, authenticity, and compassion from Dr. Brené Brown.
©2012 Brené Brown (P)2012 Brené Brown

Featured Article: 20 Best Psychology Audiobooks


Everyone is affected by human psychology and learning about the field is not only interesting; it can also impact our development. Comprehending psychology is a way for us to gain greater understanding of ourselves and others—whether it’s through basic connection or a deeper dive into our psyche. We’ve put together the 20 best psychology audiobooks to help you master the workings of the human mind and keep your thinking sharp, insightful, and aware.

Editor's Pick

Don’t just show your good side
"'Vulnerability' has become the self dev catchphrase of the moment, and with good reason—most of our issues of confidence, and of intimacy (two keys to personal growth), stem from how we’ve stifled our vulnerability. Brené Brown is the pioneer in this space, and this is her magnum opus on that topic (and not just because of the title). Delivered in her approachable, humorous, humble style, these lessons will make you understand why it’s time to let your guard down: at home, at work, and in love. "
Courtney R., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Power of Vulnerability

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Great for everyone!

My therapist suggested this read when I was having trouble finding compassion for selfish family and friends. This book changed my mindset in many ways especially with issues I believed I was doing great with. I bring up chapters from this audiobook to discuss in therapy and it has helped build on solutions and personal goals. Highly recommend!!

112 people found this helpful

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Soothed my soul even better than Ben & Jerry's!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and ended it with a smile and realistically hopeful ways to calm the chaos in my life (and head). I CAN be the better person I've always wanted to be!
Loved loved loved the narration by the author, laughed when she laughed and at times teared up because I know very well what it's like to be lost in shame. Thank you, Dr. Brown, for showing me how to recognize and deal with that very counterproductive thought process. I live with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder and your words have helped me to feel better and more hopeful. HUGE accomplishment. HUGE.

50 people found this helpful

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Vulnerable?

Some funny anecdotes, motivational speeches and interesting points, but ultimately, I don't think that it made a very strong case for vulnerability. Dr. Brown is clearly a strong, accomplished woman and the vulnerabilities that she shared struck me as only surface deep compared to what many women have to face in their personal and professional lives. I would have appreciated detailed examples of other people and their struggles with vulnerability.

29 people found this helpful

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The audio makes all the difference.

If you could sum up The Power of Vulnerability in three words, what would they be?

Comforting, Insightful, Fun

Have you listened to any of Brené Brown’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't. I wish she were the narrator of all her audiobooks. I want to buy more of them, but I'm afraid to be disappointed!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Two things really struck me. The first was her assertion that we don't call shame "shame," and people want to avoid the subject. The second was her description of perfectionism as a "20-ton shield" we carry.

Any additional comments?

I don't think reading this in print would even compare to the listening experience. I'd hear it in my own voice - and this message is something that I needed to be "told."

274 people found this helpful

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Powerful, moving, and painful at times

This book has made such a meaningful impact on me and my life. I urge the listener to listen in small chunks then take the time to reflect. There were several moments that reduced me to tears.

Also, I am a 46 year old male attorney. The concepts Brene Brown talks about are universal.

188 people found this helpful

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Not a book but loved it.

I was initially disappointed that this was a live recording of Brene Brown teaching, but ended up loving the content!

126 people found this helpful

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Um wow

I am not entirely sure what to say about this audio book. I am still a little emotional after the end. Brene touches every sensitive nerve in my body.

I picked up this book because of what I do every day. I coach teams at work. I coach the tech geeks on how to work together. It struck me when I saw the title, that the way they trust me is by me showing vulnerability.

What I didn't realize, is all the places that this book would take me. The part about play struck such a nerve, that I ordered the book called play by Stuart Brown.

I love that this seems to be a recording of a seminar. It makes you feel like you were there because she speaks with full emotion. I will listen to this again and order daring greatly. And hope that I get to see brene speak in person someday.

95 people found this helpful

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Book for Everyone

The beginning of the audiobook starts off with a recording of the author's appearance on TED Talks. Instead of listening to it, watch the video so you can see her expressions and gestures (which adds to the humor in the story).

If you've ever made a mistake and beat yourself up for it, this book is for you. So essentially, this book is for everyone. Instead of complicating our lives and guarding our insecurities, we can learn to accept that we're all human, appreciate our courage and frailty, enjoy life more fully, and live more authentically.

85 people found this helpful

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A must listen to! For me anyway :)

What made the experience of listening to The Power of Vulnerability the most enjoyable?

This book as Brene Brown's other book has help me understand why things come to my mind as they do. Being a man that's not wired to think about feelings and not even talk about them! This with her other books has realy help me to take and not be afraid to say how I feel about what ever. Thanks so much to Brene Brown for your work! and please don't stop looking and doing what you love.

41 people found this helpful

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Gets real for real people - Thank you

What did you love best about The Power of Vulnerability?

Brene Brown explains vulnerability and demonstrates how vulnerability manifests in people. Then, she shares tools you can use NOW on how to grow and work with it instead of fighting it.

What did you like best about this story?

The tools shared are now in use with my daily living. Even deploying one tool at work has given me insight of how I was allowing others to affect me - demonstrating what's acceptable and what is not.

What about Brené Brown’s performance did you like?

Brene Brown comes across as "just one of us" and we are all in this boat together. It doesn't matter your economic status, family status, or anything else. Her stories were true and genuine - authentic! We are all human. I loved this about her presentation and demeanor. Most importantly, there was no condescension, just uplifting messages. Thank you!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and No. I think taking the book in chunks is better. This allows you to reflect on the message. AND, it was so good, I could sit one day and just listen. This is definitely in my replay library.

Any additional comments?

Thank you for this opportunity to listen to your messages and how to work with vulnerability in life. There were a lot of "aha" moments - and they say awareness is 90% of the journey. Thank you for sharing some tips and messages to help with the other 10% of the journey.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Ollie Chapman
  • 09-22-15

Brilliant

I haven't enjoyed this book, I've loved it. I highly recommend it, Brene Brown is brilliant and possibly my new favourite Author, researcher on living life to the fullest. I've laughed endless times and been teary eyed from how close to home much of this information has been for me.

The book finishes with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt called "the man in the arena" it is my favourite of all time and this book epitomises it. Show up, put yourself out there, dare greatly, and know win or lose at least you tried and lived with authenticity, rather than sat on the fence of life and played it safe never experiencing what life truly has to offer.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Heli
  • 09-23-19

Not an actual book

I bought this thinking it was an audio BOOK. I didn't know this was a compilation of recordings of her live speeches/presentations. In these speeches, she uses body language and facial expressions in addition to words (for example saying "She went like" and then showing the expression/pose to the live audience) and obviously, those who only have access to the audio can't see them. Also, the frequent and loud reactions by the audience irritated me no end. I'm sure she had a lot of great things to say, but I had to stop listening less than thirty minutes in - I just couldn't go on. Had this been an actual audiobook, instead of a compilation of recordings of live speeches, I'm sure I would've enjoyed it.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Ozpiper
  • 11-25-13

Great Stuff!

If you could sum up The Power of Vulnerability in three words, what would they be?

Authentic, compelling, powerful

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Power of Vulnerability?

Any of Brené's personal anecdotes where she stands clearly in her own humanity - coffee crashing at home, fending off slimy busybodies in car pool line... There are many stories and all illustrate and enrich the concepts being drawn from her academic research.

Have you listened to any of Brené Brown’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I've watched the TED talks and some of an RSA talk, I'm reading the book 'Daring Greatly', but this audio is the best of all of it. Occasionally something gets lost because the listener can't see the gestures or facial expressions, but this is a minor disadvantage.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several - mostly the personal anecdotes that bring the ideas to life.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Roisin
  • 12-01-13

A must listen in your journey

She has great style talking about her subject and is an engaging narrator. It's not a heavy read but very thought provoking as I found myself stopping and observing the topics in my daily life. It is changing my approach to parenting and to my self feelings. I am also inspired and find it easy to follow an understand. I will listen to this again and again

12 people found this helpful

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  • tee pee
  • 01-31-15

One of the best books I've read in a long time

Brene Brown is a shame researcher. She recounts through her research on shame how that impacted her own life, or rather how the data she discovered hijacked her and brought her through a year of soul searching. The areas she covers are shame, wholeheartedness and of course vulnerability.

This is not a dry academic book that contains boring data and statistics, rather Brene reveals through the
Data and the areas I've mentioned above how those areas influence our lives and the lives of others.

She explains well how vulnerability is misunderstood and unpacks what can be good and bad about it, but above all why it's necessary.

As this was the audible version it was a series of talks she did. She speaks on tricky subjects with humour, compassion, sensitivity and honesty. She was not afraid to be open about her own experiences. She comes up with some great definitions too.

I loved this book because it was so unique, refreshing and above all resonates truth.

Finally you can't read this book without it touching you personally.




24 people found this helpful

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  • Anna Wasylczyszyn
  • 08-02-19

Game changer

If you struggle with depression, anxiety, exhaustion, feeling burnt out - this is the friendly hug you need to sort yourself out!! Loved it so much!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • EMMA
  • 03-06-15

Loved it!

Brene is so engaging. I laughed and cried like a mad woman in my car listening to this. She is so on point that i dont think anyone would struggle to find something to take away from this talk

21 people found this helpful

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  • Helen Collyer
  • 02-05-18

A must read as part of today’s tangled lifestyles

This book has been eye opening. Brené touches on topics that are continually brushed over which are fundamental to our lives and how we live. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. You will laugh out loud, cry and then realise some big important things on this literature journey. Enjoy!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ms.
  • 08-23-15

enlightening and uplifting

loved it. have listened to it over and over again....and I mean over and over and over. :-) best thing I've done for myself in a long time.

7 people found this helpful

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  • ReviewerA
  • 12-12-13

Not worth the money

Would you try another book written by Brené Brown or narrated by Brené Brown?

For starters it is not a book but a recorded seminar. There is a lot of loughs, jokes, and time fillers very little substance for something costing £25+

Has The Power of Vulnerability put you off other books in this genre?

Not genre but possible the author. There are valid point made in the seminar but despite author claiming obsession with data there is little research mention and most of the topic are just glanced over.

Did Brené Brown do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Not applicable.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Power of Vulnerability?

Laughs, oh ahs and other things that have little value for someone not physically participating in the seminar.

Any additional comments?

Some valid points but all covered on very high level, have the feeling that surface of the topics discussed was just but scratched. And it is not a book it is seminar.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Paullette
  • 04-07-15

Worth listening to over and over.

I loved this audio book and have listened to it probably 300 times since I purchased it. Brene's voice makes it so much mor enjoyable than when others read her work; I have nevet gotten thru one read by someone else.
Do yourself a favor!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Lyndon
  • 05-28-15

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, It'll Change Your Life!!

TRUE!! I laughed, cried (and I’m a bloke), and gained so much insight about myself. I am now flowing in my creativity, pressing into joy, cultivating gratitude and allowing myself to be positively vulnerable (well, working on it). It has changed my life.

This audio will change the way you see yourself and how you deal with shameful, embarrassing or difficult situations.

It is as if Brené Brown is inside your heart and head and knows more about you than you do. If you chose to practice the guideposts presented in this book you will become more level headed and be an asset, whatever arena you are in. You will be a better friend to yourself and others.

Live a whole hearted life, say yes to vulnerability :)

NB: At the time of writing this review I have listened to the audio through at least 6 times. More if you count the times I have flicked back a chapter or two to re-listen. I also have more bookmarks in it than any other book.

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, It'll Change Your Life!!

38 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 11-06-19

A fun take on vulnerability with some blind spots

Enjoyed this book and the reading. Brown has worked on the craft of presenting so the delivery, to a live workshop, is very engaging with lots of great stories. She weaves in the stats and the various points she wants to raise beautifully. The key blind spot is the impact of her personality style on her conclusions. From the stories my guess is that she has a fear based personality structure that is constantly on the lookout for danger, while striving for safety and security. For instance, at one point she says that if you don't embrace vulnerability joy will be foreboding. That is, you'll be expecting bad things to happen so you won't allow yourself to feel joy. That's true for some with a particular personality structure, but it's equally not true for others. So I think this is an excellent book for making a case for vulnerability, but perhaps does a disservice to itself by trying to explain everything through the experiences of a particular personality structure and squeezing everything into the lens of vulnerability.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Marc Mejia
  • 08-21-19

This could have been half the length.

I felt that she focused on being funny, trying to get a laugh, instead of providing more insights on her research. She lost me at the frequency of the term gremlins.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-07-19

not a fan

it sounds like a ceminar it's very hard to pay attention to. is this her ted talk? or are these the actual words from her book?

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 08-25-16

Be Aware....

This book does have some good insights and advice, but be aware -
she talks a LOT about her devoted and supportive husband; her fantastic and supportive friends, and the incredible relationship she has with her adolescent daughter.
A little bit of that is fine, but by the end of it you might be starting to wonder if telling everyone about her amazing life is possibly her main reward, ever so slightly more important than talking about the advertised subject.
Just saying...if that's not something you need to hear a lot about, you might want to give this one a miss.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kevan
  • 01-01-20

Live recording, entertaining, but misses the mark

This book is a series of recordings to a live audience. This meant some of the material did not work well as an audio book, such as gestures Brene uses that the audience can see but is not described. Brene is an entertaining speaker but this recording seems around 90% personal anecdotes from Brene's personal life and 10% discussion of her research. Brene uses continuous humour to engage with the audience and at times I felt I was listening to a stand up comic routine loosely based around personal anecdotes. If this is what you are looking for, this recording may be great for you, but I was expecting a more conventional delivery of the topic, and the continuous Brene life anecdotes made it difficult to relate to the material. I would love to see Brene write a conventional book on the topic with a less comedic/personal anecdote delivery and focused on her research instead.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-10-18

Exceptional

The narrator was excellent. I loved the conversational style. Very much relevant to EVERYONE today.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tracy
  • 06-23-16

Enjoyable, insightful, loved it ... laughed so much

So easy to listen to, loved all of it. Extremely useful advice and it is one of those books I never thought I'd be interested in but I was wrong.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 06-14-16

Brene Brown is a life changer

This book was over too quickly. Brene has an amazing talent of leading her audience through challenging, confronting content in a way that makes you feel that making change in your life is completely achievable c and worth it

2 people found this helpful