Daring Greatly

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown | Gotham Books © 2012 · 287 pages

Teddy Roosevelt told us that it's not the critic who counts. It's all about the individual who is actually in the arena--whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Who dares greatly. Brene Brown takes that spirit and runs with it--showing us how we can only dare greatly when we are willing to live Wholeheartedly, embracing our vulnerability as we cultivate our courage, compassion and connection.

What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable.
Brené Brown

“The phrase Daring Greatly is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic.” The speech, sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena,” was delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910. This is the passage that made the speech famous:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…

The first time I read this quote, I thought, This is vulnerability. Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”

~ Brené Brown from Daring Greatly

Brené Brown is phenomenal.

Have you watched her TED talks yet? If not, get on that.

Here’s her first one: Listening to shame. And the second: The Power of Vulnerability.

Brené is one of the world’s leading researchers on shame and vulnerability and this book is a powerful manifesto on the importance of being willing to embrace our vulnerability and, as the title suggests, dare greatly.

She’s a funny, down-to-earth and brilliant writer. It’s the kinda book that deliberately makes you feel (more than) a little uncomfortable (especially if you’re a recovering perfectionist like me! :0)as we don’t tend to shine a lot of light on the less than pleasant stuff in our lives and psyche. But that discomfort is worth it as we, to use her words, take off our masks, drop our armor and learn to be vulnerable while daring greatly more consistently.

If you’d like to embrace your vulnerability and live with more courage, compassion and connection, I think you’ll love the book. Get it here and check out Brené’s site for more goodness: brenebrown.com.

For now, let’s jump in with a quick look at a handful of my favorite Big Ideas!

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About the author


Brené Brown

Researcher. Storyteller. Texan.