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Braving the Wilderness
Cover of Braving the Wilderness
Braving the Wilderness
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the #1 bestselling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection
    "True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
    Brown argues that we're experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, "True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that's rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it's easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it's a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts." Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, "The wilderness is an 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. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand."
    Praise for Brené Brown's Rising Strong
    "[Brown's] research and work have given us a new vocabulary, a way to talk with each other about the ideas and feelings and fears we've all had but haven't quite known how to articulate. . . . [She] empowers us each to be a little more courageous."—The Huffington Post
  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the #1 bestselling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection
    "True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
    Brown argues that we're experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, "True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that's rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it's easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it's a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts." Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, "The wilderness is an 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. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand."
    Praise for Brené Brown's Rising Strong
    "[Brown's] research and work have given us a new vocabulary, a way to talk with each other about the ideas and feelings and fears we've all had but haven't quite known how to articulate. . . . [She] empowers us each to be a little more courageous."—The Huffington Post
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    Excerpts-
    • From the book ONE

      Everywhere and Nowhere

      When I start writing, I inevitably feel myself swallowed by fear. And it's especially true when I notice that findings from my research are going to challenge long-­held beliefs or ideas. When this happens, it doesn't take long before I start thinking, Who am I to say this? Or, I'm really going to piss people off if I call their ideas into question.

      In these uncertain and risky moments of vulnerability, I search for inspiration from the brave innovators and disrupters whose courage feels contagious. I read and watch everything by them or about them that I can get my hands on—­every interview, every essay, every lecture, every book. I do this so that when I need them, when I'm living in my fear, they come to sit with me and cheer me on. Most important, while watching over my shoulder, they put up with very little of my bullshit.

      Developing this process took time. In my earlier years, I tried the opposite approach—­filling my mind with critics and naysayers. I would sit at my desk and picture the faces of my least favorite professors, my harshest and most cynical colleagues, and my most unforgiving online critics. If I can keep them happy, I thought, or at the very least quiet, I'll be good to go. The outcome was the worst-­case scenario for a researcher or a social scientist: findings that were gently folded into a preexisting way of seeing the world; findings that carefully nudged existing ideas but did so without upsetting anyone; findings that were safe, filtered, and comfortable. But none of that was authentic. It was a tribute.

      So I decided that I had to fire those naysayers and fearmongers. In their places, I began to summon up men and women who have shaped the world with their courage and creativity. And who have, at least on occasion, pissed people off. They are a varied bunch. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books I love so much, is my go-­to person when I'm struggling with how to introduce a new and strange world of ideas that has only just emerged from my research. I imagine her telling me: New worlds are important, but you can't just describe them. Give us the stories that make up that universe. No matter how wild and weird the new world might be, we'll see ourselves in the stories.

      The author and activist bell hooks comes to the fore when there's a painful conversation happening around race, gender, or class. She's taught me about teaching as a sacred act and the importance of discomfort in learning. And Ed Catmull, Shonda Rhimes, and Ken Burns stand behind me, whispering in my ear, while I'm telling a story. They nudge me when I become impatient and start skipping the details and dialogue that bring meaning to storytelling. "Take us with you into that story," they insist. Countless musicians and artists also show up, as does Oprah. Her advice is tacked to the wall in my study: "Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn't work that way."

      But my oldest and most steadfast counselor is Maya Angelou. I was introduced to her work thirty-­two years ago when I was studying poetry in college. I read her poem "Still I Rise" and everything shifted for me. It contained such power and beauty. I collected every Angelou book, poem, and interview I could find, and her words taught me, pushed me, and healed me. She managed to be both full of joy and unsparing.

      But there was one quote from Maya Angelou that I deeply disagreed with. It was a quote on belonging, which I came across when I was teaching a course on race and class at the University of Houston. In an interview with Bill Moyers that aired on...
    About the Author-
    • Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection, and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't). She is the founder and CEO of The Daring Way, an organization that brings her work on vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness to organizations, schools, communities, and families. Her 2010 TEDx Houston talk, "The Power of Vulnerability," is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world. Brown lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two children.
    Reviews-
    • Library Journal

      May 1, 2017

      From the perennial No. 1 New York Times best-selling author whose 2010 TEDx Houston talk, "The Power of Vulnerability," is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, here's guidance not on fitting in but on truly belonging.

      Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • Kirkus

      September 15, 2017
      How to foster fellowship through fearlessness and visibility.In her latest book, following three bestsellers, Brown (Univ. of Houston Graduate College of Social Work; Rising Strong, 2015, etc.) turns her attention to cultivating community and the power of belonging in the midst of an era of disconnection. Openly sharing her own history of insecurity, self-destructiveness, vulnerability, and maturation while her quarrelsome parents repeatedly relocated, the author admits to finding inspiration from those she believes have "shaped the world with their courage and creativity," a list that includes J.K. Rowling and Maya Angelou. Through the result of an extensive research study, Brown discovered, despite the increasing distractions of contemporary daily life, an innate and persistent need for people to experience a real connection to others and how that need can be compromised by a fear of conflict or intolerance from loved ones or respected peers. The author examines the pain of loneliness and how anxiety and uncertainty can undermine focused efforts to engage socially. Also emerging from her fieldwork data are a few elements of true belonging, which encourage readers to get closer to those who are different, set boundaries, propagate trust and truth in yourself and others, learn the art of listening, and be "more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness." She writes that time and patience are required to cultivate the unique kind of courage necessary to achieve each of these goals, but the tools are accessible and the rewards are great. Grounded by moving interviews, case studies, her experience spearheading four educational companies, and a winning combination of perceptiveness and humor, Brown's enthusiastic narrative urges readers to discover their own "wilderness" by culling the strength and determination (and risk) necessary to truly live "from our wild heart rather than our weary hurt." Nothing truly groundbreaking, but an enthusiastic, practical guide to achieving a healthy sense of interconnectedness within one's culture and community--and likely another bestseller for Brown.

      COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
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