Author: Brené Brown


Book Review: Rising Strong

September 3, 2015 Book Review 4

Book Review: Rising StrongRising Strong by Brené Brown
Published by Spiegel & Grau on August 25th 2015
Genres: Non-Fiction, Wellness
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy


To say that I am awed by Brene Brown would be an understatement.  Her compassion, knowledge and sheer storytelling ability have me captivated.  I’ve seen her TED talks on shame and vulnerability at least a dozen times; taken her online wholeheartedness workshop; and read all of her books, most recently, Rising Strong.  

The genius of Brene’s book is her ability to weave stories through the teaching of critical new information.  She has her ‘writing voice’ down and it’s so relatable, so humble and at times so raw.  The personal stories she shares in Rising Strong to illustrate the process of becoming wholehearted are the epitome of vulnerability.  She practices what she preaches.

Having read The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, I knew Rising Strong would be filled with valuable insight. Although I learn best by reading, the new concepts have taken lots and lots of practice to implement.  I still have to go back and re-read sections to be sure I truly understand.  I’m big on lists and steps so having the steps written out for me would have made learning the rising strong concept much easier {I think}.

Reckoning is HOW we walk into our story.

Rumble is to get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggles, to revisit, challenge and reality-check these narratives as we dig into topics such as boundaries, shame, blame, resentment, heartbreak, generosity, and forgiveness. Rumbling with these topics and moving from our first responses to a deeper understanding of our thoughts and feelings, and behaviors gives birth to key learning about who we are and how we engage with others. The rumble is where wholeheartedness is cultivated and change begins.

Brene uses the quote below as an analogy throughout Rising Strong.  If we allow ourselves that moment when we are face down in the ring to rumble, to get real with the stories we tell ourselves; to silence the self-talk we inflict upon ourselves then we shall be on our way to becoming wholehearted.

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 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 the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

Wow.  Reading those words out loud to yourself is like a pep talk from the greatest coach of all time!  Makes me want to dare greatly more!

As the self-proclaimed queen of disengaging and blocking things out practicing this process has been quite eye-opening to me.  Below is the list I made to satisfy my list-making craze:

Rising Strong Steps
1.  Recognize that something is going on within ~ I’m feeling wonky ~ sad, angry, resentful, etc.
2.  What story am I making up about the situation? What conspiracy or confabulation have I invented about the situation? {isn’t that the best word ever? confabulation!}
3.  Figure out what my key learnings are by analyzing the story I make up.
4.  Moving from process to practice = revolution.

I can see Rising Strong becoming an integral course for psychology, sociology and social work majors. It truly would be revolutionary if as individuals, families, employees and leaders we would internalize the process and change the stories we tell ourselves to what is actually true and real. I may be telling myself that you are angry because you’re being quiet and withdrawn when in actuality you are thinking in your head about building a deck. If I had acted on the story in my head and gotten angry or upset because I thought you were angry or upset then the day would have been ruined. may or may not be based on an actual recent occurrence 😉

This book, in fact, all three books should be required reading.
Do yourself a favor and read it. and share it. and do it. revolutionize your life.

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