Braving the Wilderness

Author: Brené Brown  (Bio) | Expected Publication:September 12, 2017 by Random House | Series: N/A | Length: 208 pages | Genre: Self-Help, Relationships| ISBN:9780812995848 |Source: Amazon | Book: Amazon (here)

“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.”

This book took me way longer to read (over a month) then it really should have. I found myself struggling to stayed consistently engaged which concerned me more than anything else. I immediately began to doubt the research of Dr. Brown and started to form my scathing review of how lacking her book was. As I am not one to not finish a book no matter how terrible it is I persisted, and I can say it was one of the best choices I’ve made recently. While the beginning is slow to start and in some areas Dr. Brown drones on, I began to feel the genuine parts of her spirit that she poured into her writing. I realized that as she wrote she is not seeking attention nor acceptance, but is simply making herself vulnerable in order to offer herself on the path less traveled.

As I’m mentioned in previous reviews I am not a sucker for self-help books, yet lately I’ve been drawn to a distinct selection of books meant to empower the human spirit. I can say for sure that Dr. Brown does this here. While she challenged some of my notions for how the world is, she also opened my eyes to be willing to accept a certain level of responsibility for the way I choose to interact with the world around me. Dr. Brown offers four unique approaches to walk in the wilderness:

  • People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In
  • Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil
  • Hold Hands. With Strangers
  • Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart

I won’t spoil the approaches because Dr. Brown takes the time to paint such a unique and effective picture in explaining each of these. My only advice is to read her book with an open mind and be ready to have your way of thinking challenged. I did not agree with every point she made, but I did understand the perspective and angle she was writing from. This is the first book I have read of her’s but I do intend to read her others.

Thank you Dr. Brown for your work and continue to be one who blazes a path in the wilderness. While we each need to walk our own path it allows us to take heart that someone has been there and is offering to be a guide on the path.

I rated this book a 3/5.


The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Author:Dr. Gary Chapman (Bio) | Publication:January 1st 2015 by Northfield Publishing | Series: N/A | Length: 208 pages | Genre: Self-help, Relationships, Love, Psychology | ISBN:9780802412706 |Source: Amazon | Book: Amazon (here)

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love-that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands and conflicts and just plain boredom of everyday life?

I’ll bluntly start by saying how much I detest the majority of all self help books. This one one by no means falls into that category. Dr. Chapman delivers effective and sound advice on how to love others through using what he calls that 5 love languages. These love language are discussed in detail and he provides the best ways to properly fill the “love tank” of a person’s love language. The practical application provided in the book really allows for one to do some soul searching and helps to really put long lasting changes into place rather than promising the sort of instant change that other books promote. Dr. Chapman by no means says that this book is the end all be all to issues one may be having with being loved and loving others, but he does instead offer steps one may take to address these issues.

What I like most about this book is that Dr. Chapman shoots straight from the hip. Even while reading it I noticed things that I didn’t like, but I knew applied to me. When helping someone it is of course important to be mindful of their feelings, but not so much so that they are only told what they want to hear. That more than anything is what drove me to pick this up and read it in the first place. Personally for me it confirmed some things I already knew about myself and helped me to see others who I interact with regularly in a different light. If you choose to pick this book up, it will definitely require effort on your part to make a change and see a difference. For me it w has been and continues to be worth it.

One thing I will point out is the last quarter of the book does get quite repetitive. I’m sure the intent was to drive the point home for those who may struggle with emotional interact, but for me it was slightly annoying. Another thing to note is that the book is written in respect to marriages, but the knowledge contained can easily be applied to any relationship. Other than that I really enjoyed this book and suggest it to anyone who wants to enhance the way they love others.

This book is definitely for anyone who is single, dating, married, or looking to enhance the way they express their love to others. It is without a doubt worth the time it takes to read the book. A link to the author’s bio and to the book are both provided above. Thank you Dr. Chapman for the wealth of information provided here. I look forward to reading your other work.

If you want to learn your love language click here. There’s an assessment that has also been included in the latest edition of the book.

I rated this book a 4/5.