Book review: Get over fear of being vulnerable

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown examines how the fear of being vulnerable undermines people's ability to do great things.

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Daring Greatly
Brené Brown

The hypothesis in Brené Brown's best-selling third book has been plucked neatly from a 1910 speech given by the late US president Theodore Roosevelt. In it, he called out critics and championed the cause of aiming high, praising the individual "who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly".

Brown is a professor who has spent 10 years researching shame, vulnerability and courage. Backed up by statistics and case studies most self-help books do not offer, Brown concludes that fear of being vulnerable - and shame setting in if things don't go swimmingly - keeps us from doing great things. She argues that a willingness to be vulnerable makes us better bosses, partners, parents and human beings.

To be sure, Brown's argument is one repackaged and sold hundreds of times over in her genre: that it is better to try and fail than stand safely on the sidelines wondering 'what if?'. The difference is that she has spent so much time listening to people talk about their fear of shame, and the results of their overcoming it, that it's clear she knows of what she speaks.

* Ann Marie McQueen