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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  90,184 ratings  ·  7,261 reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A timely and important 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

REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK

"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to
...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Random House
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Popular Answered Questions
Danielle Van asch-prevot I am coming in a few days, would you like me to bring you one?
Sean I believe there are some practical tools that may be applied, but not necessarily universally. Here is a quick sample:

B.R.A.V.I.N.G. is an acronym tha…more
I believe there are some practical tools that may be applied, but not necessarily universally. Here is a quick sample:

B.R.A.V.I.N.G. is an acronym that Brené uses in this and some of her other writings. It is about trust (self and others). She calls it her wilderness checklist:
B. Boundaries. Making sure that we are clear and respect boundaries, and when in doubt, we ask.
R. Reliability. Keep personal and interpersonal commitments. Or, in other words, do what what we say we are going to do.
A. Accountability. Own our mistakes, apologize, and make things right.
V. Vault. Keep confidences. Share only the things that are ours to share.
I. Integrity. Practice our values and do what is right even if it’s uncomfortable.
N. Non-judgment. It's okay to respect each other AND differ in opinions.
G. Generosity. Extend the most generous interpretations possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

She also gives four principles to follow in dealing with the confrontational climate of the day:
• People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.
• Speak Truth to BS. Be Civil.
• Hold Hands. With Strangers.
• Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.(less)

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Mehrsa
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
She phoned this one in. There's good stuff in here because she's awesome, but there's not enough to warrant a new book. I do wish she would try again to think through tribe and inclusion. Her insights are good and useful, but there is no coherent theory or story here. ...more
Swrp
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brené Brown`s Braving The Wilderness is, overall, based on the following `elements`:

- People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.

- Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.

- Hold Hands. With Stangers.

- Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

"No one belongs here more than you."

This book is indeed a worthwhile read and provides a perspective on many of the human factors that are missing or we seem to ignore.
...more
Emma
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sorry Brene Brown, you lost me on this one. I love you but all I could think throughout this was "easy for you to say, white middle class Christian lady." ...more
Elyse  Walters
Library overdrive Audiobook.... read by Breen Brown
Note: I enjoyed this so much that I’m considering buying the Audiobook.
There may be thousands of people around the world who are huge fans .....
and even though I had read one of her books ( wasn’t all that impressed), and later listened to one of her Audiobook’s ( I was much more impressed), I still didn’t consider myself a fan of her work - and quite frankly I really didn’t really ‘get’ what her deal was in the world. In fact - I didn’t even k
...more
ttg
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Brown's work (and TED talk), but this was just okay. I don't think she had enough pulled together/thought through for a full release, so it feels not as complete. As if rushed for a deadline.

I like the ideas of being brave with one's conviction, and willing to put yourself out there, even if you're alone to stand up for what you believe, but this still felt very *white* and from a protected, "majority" space.

Two pieces that frustrated me.

A) At one point, Brown tells the story of a p
...more
Dawna
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought I liked Brené Brown. I like her in quotes—small, thoughtful snippets made into pretty memes—but I found this book insufferable.

The bulk of the first (long) chapter is all about how Brené never fit in. Grab a tissue, you might need it: She never got invited to the white kids’ birthday parties because she had a black sounding name on the class list, for a short time she was the non-Catholic kid in a Catholic school, students register for her courses on race relations and then feel blind
...more
NickReads
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Refreshing. Honestly it was exactly what I needed. I love that the author doesn't take sides, she just speaks the data. It definitely had an impact on my midset. ...more
Diane
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book came to me at just the right time. I found it meaningful, heartfelt, and the themes of belonging and being brave really resonated with me.

I know Brené Brown has quite the cult following, but this was the first book of hers I have seriously read. A few years ago I had The Gifts of Imperfection foisted on me at work, and I was underwhelmed by the book and ended up hate-skimming it. A few friends had loved Daring Greatly, and now that I have read and appreciated Braving the Wilderness, I
...more
Tucker
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Brene Brown’s new book “Braving The Wilderness” is her most vital and necessary book yet. The book’s subject is how to build and maintain connections and a sense of belonging while also staying true to ourselves and our beliefs. Through her research studies, personal experiences, and case studies combined with her remarkable perceptiveness and wisdom she provides essential directions through the wilderness of loneliness and disconnection. In today’s climate of divisiveness and separation, this i ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
I picked up this book because it was listed as a must-read book by someone I respect and whose tastes are similar to mine. I went to it completely blind and when the author mentioned Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling in the opening chapter I knew I was going to like it. 

“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid—all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage,
...more
Renee
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Although I like Brene Brown, I have to admit that this book was quite a bit of a letdown for me. I was looking for so much more. I don't feel that there was enough "new" information to warrant a new book, let alone a 163 page book that has a $28 price tag attached to it. In the end, Brene published a book on the backs of the numerous people that she quotes throughout the short book. I'm not impressed. ...more
K
Jan 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
Lol this lady said I cant call cops pigs cause it's dehumanizing language. No wonder Obama likes her. Also? I'm confused this book is really just a bunch of stuff thrown together? I didn't get the point lol. Her examples of braving the wilderness included wearing clogs at a business conference. This book frames being a centrist as being radical and out and alone.

What Brown describes as "the wilderness" is actually just liberalism eating itself alive because when people are pushed they realize t
...more
Bharath
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I have read blogs and passages of Brene Brown before, this is the first of her books that I have read. I did know what to expect as a result of my following her work so far, and this book lives up very well to the expectations I had.

A large part of self-help literature plays on fear – talking about the need for transforming ourselves with a great sense of urgency, else we are doomed to failure in a world which is changing at a rapid pace. Over the past few years, Mindfulness literature and
...more
Libby - On gardening hiatus
4+ - This is a very poignant and up-close look at the human need for belonging. Author, Brené Brown is a (qualitative) research professor who has studied vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. In this book, she shares valuable personal and professional experience and it certainly resonated with me. I think many young girls will be able to put themselves in Brown’s shoes as she writes about her experience of trying out for the Bearkadettes, a high school drill team. Her family had just ...more
Joy Matteson
It ended TOO SOON. *cries silently*
Brown's words are life-affirming, challenging. Her books tend to re-verberate in my soul, in my mind--so I'm actively savoring them as I go about my day.

I belong to myself--and I belong to no one. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil.

Pithy, perhaps--cliched, maybe. But there's simplicity in the brevity here, as one knows Brown has done an avalanche worth of data analysis to back up her simplified phrases.
...more
Kalyn Nicholson
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-development
I listened to the audio version of this book and found it incredibly insightful. I thought this book would focus merely on learning to speak your truth and own who you are, even if it means you end up an "outcast" per se (which it rightfully is that book and delivered on that front). It ended up also being a book about breaking down the walls of false dichotomies and mending the barriers that form from the judgment, shame, rage, and ridicule that often accompany them. It felt even more profound ...more
Calista
I LOVE me some Brene Brown. She is a Shame Researcher and she uses all her data to come up with ways of coping with life that work so we can thrive.

This book is about the Wilderness. We deeply desire to fit in and when we take a stand about what we really believe sometimes that gets us thrown out of the groups we belong too. This is the Wilderness. It's a place of creativity and it can be a place to thrive, but he had to have an inner strength and strong back and vulnerability to stand in that
...more
Terrie Robinson
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love Social Science reads!
Recommended to Terrie by: Reese's Book Club
"Braving the Wilderness" by Brene Brown is an enlightening read!

‘True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.’

I love watching Brene Brown on YouTube talk about her research, the processes, the findings and the stories she tells along the way. She's what I term as 'real' because in the mix of what she does, she always includes something about herself. She lets the audience feel her vulnerability. She exposes herself, talks to them in depth about it wit
...more
Northpapers
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I live and work in a beautiful but troubled neighborhood. In a given week, I work to build community under the shadow of racism, deportations, child abuse, poverty, and violence.

Each Monday, on my day off from work, I choose one short book that I hope will be restorative or nourishing in some way, and I read it from cover to cover. I call this my "Sabbath book." I've spent a few wonderful Mondays in the company of books like Jesus and Nonviolence by Walter Wink, Strength to Love by Dr. Martin L
...more
Emily Troutman
I usually love Brene's books, but this one just didn't seem to move me like the others have. I don't fully understand why she felt the need to make it so political. The same points could have been made, in my opinion, without them. ...more
Amanda
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluations, especially o ...more
Whitney
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Overall: “Strong back, soft front, wild heart.” This book is absolutely amazing and should be required reading for life for everyone 10/10

Summary: This book is an exploration with meticulously done research and insight on the growing divide between people, loneliness, an analysis of what “belonging” truly means. Amazing insight and perspective. This book should be required reading for everyone and will leave you a better person.
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong e
...more
Stephanie
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best description I have for Brene' Browns' books is she is constantly dropping truth bombs on my head and Braving the Wilderness is no exception. Navigating issues like shame, the persisting feeling of loneliness that people feel in a world that is more connected than ever, and how to humanize people who believe differently than ourselves, are not easy issues to tackle. Brown does so with research backed data and stories from her own life with ease.

"But the more we're willing to to seek out
...more
Liza Fireman
I will never get tired from listening to Brene Brown. She is so awesome, so authentic, so vulnerable. And on audio, she is even better. She is funny, witty and amazing.

In this book, Brene is talking much more about belonging, or the feeling of not belonging. A tough feeling. And the small tiny incidents are the ones that create sometimes the largest scars of are souls. Here is one such example, soul crusher one.
The list was in numeric order. If your number was there, you’d made the team. If you
...more
Jennie Chantal
I wanted so much more from Brene. I had read some criticisms of her very white feminism over the last several years and she has spoken out more on social media condemning racism so I really hoped this book would be different in some ways from her past books. It's not. I stopped reading around 50 pages in because I know how angry this book will make me.

Angry because she is clearly setting this book up to be, in part, about tone-policing. About "civility and tolerance" in the face of growing white
...more
Reem
I kinda hated it. I don’t understand why she chose to talk about American politics for half the book. I’m not American, and as much as am aware of what’s happening on that side of the world, I have no interest in reading about it. I felt like it was shoved down my throat.

It started out really well. But I didn’t really learn anything new. Also, I think I might’ve confused this book for something else. I thought she was working on a book called wholehearted living. I have no idea why I thought th
...more
Taryn
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2017-release
I have been aware of Brené Brown’s work for a while now but had put off reading her because sometimes self-help seems a little too...something for me. I’m very committed to the idea that I am perfect in every way and therefore need no help of any kind. I’m also cynical and get squicky when venturing too far into feelings territory. Of course, since Brown has made a career of studying vulnerability and shame, reading her book challenged me a lot and made me consider some uncomfortable ideas. The ...more
Kelly
I read some of the reviews that fall perfectly into what it is Brown points out in the book: you either decide "for" or "against," without letting yourself wade in the uncomfortable middle. Perhaps someone calls bullshit on that but, as much as I wish this book had been longer, it really hit hard on some stuff I've been thinking about relating to connection, to discourse, and to how divided we have become as a people (I already see people reading this review and stopping here because they're rea ...more
My_Strange_Reading
#mystrangereading Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5 stars) I only knocked it down .5 a star because I feel like you need to read her other books and studies before you can really understand and appreciate this particular read. It's such an important conversation, how do we belong to ourselves? How we do we handle conflict and not allow ourselves to be drawn into the us vs. them dichotomy that our current cultural and political climate lends us to do?

So incredible, and such a
...more
Nada Elshabrawy
Strong back and soft front

Strong back and soft front

Strong back and soft front
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Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of
...more

Articles featuring this book

New year, new you! Or perhaps the same you, but a 2.0 version? The start of a new year is known for resolutions, which, as we all know,...
109 likes · 3 comments
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” 242 likes
“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 167 likes
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