Book Review: Daring greatly

Daring greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead is Brené Brown’s latest book. Brené explores what drives our fear of being vulnerable, how we are protecting ourselves from vulnerability, and – most importantly – how we can engage with vulnerability so that we can live our lives fully. As the book title says, this has consequences for how we live, love, parent, and lead.

Being vulnerable is not a weakness, but requires great courage. Avoiding uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure limits our lives. Fear leads to disconnection and lost opportunities. Our only choice is really to dare greatly and engage fully in our lives. It’s only by showing up and letting ourselves be seen that we can make those unique contributions that only we can make.

The most significant problems which people talked with Brené about stems from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change, and the need for clarity of purpose. Brené’s conclusion is that ”If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation” (p. 15).

Brené Brown emphasizes the importance of taking direct action when blame and shame (bullying, public criticism & reprimands, reward systems that intentionally belittle people) is used as a management tool, because management by fear is very unproductive and totally unacceptable. ”We won’t solve the complex issues that we’re facing today without creativity, innovation, and engaged learning. We can’t afford to let our discomfort with the topic of shame get in the way of recognizing and combating it in our schools and workplaces” (p. 196).

The book is very well researched and provides an important perspective on leadership, teaching, and parenting. I warmly recommend the book!

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