Book Reviews

How have I not known about Brené Brown until now? She’s only a best-selling author, top TEDx presenter and uh, has a Netflix show amongst many other accolades and wonderful accomplishments, professional and personal. Better late than never and now I have even more catch-up reading to do.

I just finished her second most recent book, Braving the Wilderness. It came out in 2017 but there is nothing time-sensitive to lessen the relevance of her lessons. A lot of non-fiction books in the self-help, motivation, coaching, etc., categories could get edited down to long magazine articles. In this case, the whole book is well worth the read. I recommend it.

braving the wilderness book cover

I won’t give away the details of her purpose and findings along with how they can be actionable in your life – buy her book for goodness sake! But I will share some quotes she referenced and of course some of her own words that really resonated with me. Following are some of the highlights from her book:

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.”

Read that eleventyseven times like I have and think about it at different parts of your day. There is a lot in there. And to me, an overriding sum-up: love conquers all.

Brené Brown taught me about high lonesome music. Again, I am way late to the game. Country isn’t really my thang and high lonesome takes that to a very specific place, but I have to agree with Brown that Roscoe Holcomb is a stud and now I know where the Soggy Bottom Boys in Brother Where Art Thou found I am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” Killer musician!

Brown utilized a quote I already knew but had forgotten about: “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” – Joseph Campbell

I love me some Hero’s Journey and this quote made me remember to finally buy Joseph Campbell’s book. I’ll probably read that next.

Next up is a fairly random out of context line from Brown that I liked because I truly believe creativity is critical to happiness. “Reclaim authenticity and connection by sharing art and words.” Yes!!!

Here is another line out of context that works just fine without the context: “Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick.”

Two words: Collective effervescence. I just got back from Burning Man. Enough said.

Finally, here is my favorite part of the whole book. A good place to end this little recap of Braving the Wilderness so you can soak it in for yourself (and go buy the book). From page 129:

“The more we are willing to seek out moments of collective joy and show up for experiences of collective pain – for real, in person – not online – the more difficult it becomes to deny our human connection, even with people we may disagree with. Not only do moments of collective emotion remind us of what is possible between people but they also remind us of what is true about the human spirit.”