Book Review Know

Book Review: Braving the Wilderness

I have wanted to read more of Brene Brown’s books and this one landed in my lap when a therapist recommended I read it to help my daughter brave the wilderness of middle school. I’ve seen her speak at the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) and loved what she had to say about overcoming shame and stepping out on your own, so I was excited that I was able to pick this one up from the library.

It is very rare for me to ignore the world and be absorbed by a book, but Braving the Wilderness did just that. I devoured the book in a weekend. Ignoring the laundry that had to be done, the dishes that needed to be washed and the activities that called for my attention. When I closed the book, I thought that “Everyone should read this book.”

Brown explores the growing division, strife and loneliness inherent in our parts of culture today. She encourages readers to step out into the wilderness, stand alone and let your ideas and thoughts be heard. It’s a call belong to yourself and not get caught up in the cultural views that have swept this nation into hysterics. The central message is how true belonging starts with ourselves. Instead of seeking it amongst our peers, friends, co-workers, or other groups, we need to become comfortable with our own thoughts, actions, beliefs and opinions. 

She brakes down steps for readers to take to make this journey. BRAVING. 

As a person with opinions and beliefs, we tend to seek other others with the same opinions and beliefs. By finding this community we start to feel like we belong and sometimes even adopt beliefs and opinions that we don’t really like.We bend ourselves over backwards to fit in and end up disconnecting from our true selves. We start thinking in the “us vs. them” mentality. We are right and they are wrong. 

This is when a critical choice faces us: do we continue to stay in our comfortable community or do we take a deep breath and step out into the wilderness, by ourself, in order to live in true authenticity.

Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness–untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be a place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will every stand. Brene Brown


Brene Brown is a research professor and has spent the last two decades studying courage, shame, vulnerability and empathy. Brown’s TED talk–The Power of Vulnerability–is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views. Brown interweaves all of her research through out this book and provides solid evidence of these values that have been lost and regained again. I can’t wait to read her other other two books that make up a small trilogy of her work: Rising Strong and Daring Greatly

Being ourselves means sometime having to find the courage to stand alone.
Brene Brown

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