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Where Buddha Meets Business

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

I remember getting Brene Brown’s first book, Daring Greatly. I was in the audience of one of the very first talk shows Brown was on back in 2012 – (The Katie Couric Show, which was sadly canceled after her second season.)

My significant other at the time was working on the show and told me about Brown and asked if I wanted to be in the audience. I had just heard about her from a friend, and we both had watched her first TED Talk. 

I made the decision to change a business trip to fly back early so I could be there in the audience. I’m so glad I did. I resonated with everything she shared in her book and her research. I talked a little about it in my review of Brown’s latest book, Atlas of The Heart.

One of the things I loved about her on the show, which is also in her book, is how she tells her story about “The Arena.” (She’s a very gifted storyteller.) Roosevelt’s Citizen in Republic speech, which is sometimes referred to as “The Man In The Arena,” speech he delivered to the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910. The passage from his speech below is what drove her to her life’s work, and what this book is based on is “What it Means to Dare Greatly.”

The Man In The Arena:

“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 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 while daring greatly…”

What a way to start the book. Then, on the show, she asked a poignant question – “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” That’s the ultimate in daring greatly.

She read the quote live on the show and since has read it many times to audiences. What I love about Brown is her passion and willingness to take you to places you may not want to go. Yet, it feels like your best friend is leading you safely with curiosity and kindness. So I took the journey that day during that show.

And after the show, the best part was we all got a copy of her book. And because my significant other worked on the show and knew I wanted to meet her, she took me backstage. 

Meeting her was one of those impactful moments. She was so real, down-to-earth, authentic, and funny. We had a terrific conversation. I told her how my experience with my therapist was the exact same as hers that she talks about and writes about. (Read the book to find out.). We were both brought up in the South, and our love of books, writing, and constantly learning. I also got to meet her sweet husband. And she signed my book and was happy to take a photo with me.

Meeting Brené Brown backstage at the Katie Couric Show in the summer of 2011.

I’ve learned so much by reading and listening to her books. She’s hilarious in her Audible books. She tells the listener things that aren’t in the book. It’s almost like a conversation. I’d highly recommend listening to one of her books. And definitely, I’d recommend you read this book and her others. If you’re hungry for more about this book, read on fellow vulnerability traveler. 

A Summary to Inspire You To Read this Book!

Quick Summary: Daring Greatly jumps right in to define what vulnerability is – “the willingness to expose ourselves to emotional risk, uncertainty, and exposure.” It’s about encouraging you to be brave and engage with your life wholeheartedly, even in the face of potential failure. She actually goes into debunking the myths of vulnerability, then talks about our vulnerability armor, and lastly gives plenty of strategies to embrace your vulnerability in all aspects of your life. 

WHO Ought to Read this Book: There’s such a wide range of folks I’d highly recommend reading Daring Greatly: Anyone seeking personal development, creatives, innovators, teachers, leaders, managers, mental health professionals, parents, educators, and anyone struggling with perfectionism. The reason this will appeal to such a big audience is that it will teach you how to embrace being vulnerable because it fosters trust, encourages innovation, and creates a positive work culture, authenticity, and trust. As well as resilience and how to create strong connections with family and coworkers. If you want to live a more authentic, connected, and courageous life, then you gotta get a copy of this book!

Why Read this Book? I learned about the different ways I can describe when I’m hurting – anguish, hopelessness, despair, sadness, and grief. Each of these words has different meanings. So now, instead of just saying, “I’m sad.” I can now go deeper and realize, “Wait a minute. I’m actually feeling grief right now. My favorite lately has been when I’m trying to control a situation. I go deeper and realize I’m controlling it because I’m fearful – ahhhhh. If any of these aha moments interest you, then this book is a must-read. It will open a door for you to create a bigger language of recognizing how you’re feeling and name it, which will help you allow it, encourage you to investigate, and then nurture it.

A Couple of Things You Will Discover:

  1. The Beauty of Changing Your Perspective – Viewing vulnerability as a strength, not a weakness. Brown talks about this a lot in the book, and being vulnerable is the most courageous thing you can do—opening yourself up to emotional exposure, risk, and uncertainty. She believes vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, creativity, joy, and connection.
  2. Being Authentic Is Powerful – I personally love this, as that’s the core of my business. Soulful Marketing – showing up as authentic as you can, showing your true self, and not hiding behind imperfection. That makes us human—Being yourself when it’s uncomfortable or risky. When you are authentic, it will lead to deeper connections with all your relationships and give you a more fulfilling life.
  3. Shame Thrives On Secrecy – It’s time to open the shades and clear the clouds of secrecy on your shame. What shame loves more than secrecy is silence and self-judgement. One of the biggest combatants of shame is the power of empathy.
  4. Perfection Is A Myth – It’s time to break down the barrier of perfection! According to Brown, it stems from the fear of being vulnerable and leads to being disengaged and disconnected from people. It’s time to embrace all of your imperfections and practice self-compassion and loving kindness toward yourself.
  5. Being a Courageous Leader – Brown spends a significant portion of the book talking about leadership. When leaders are vulnerable, it fosters a culture of trust, accountability, and innovation. She encourages leaders to be open about their own struggles and uncertainties. When they do this, it fosters a supportive and authentic work environment.
  6. Living Wholeheartedly – This is a theme that runs throughout the book. The emphasis is on the importance of living a full and authentic life. To do this, you need to embrace vulnerability and cultivate your sense of worthiness. You are always worthy, always. 

Brown Shares Tons of Impactful Stories – She’s a natural storyteller. Hence, her Ted Talk had sooo many views! Brown shares many stories about her journey as a parent and the challenges of encouraging vulnerability in her children. And when you allow your children to experience failure and uncertainty, it helps foster resilience and courage. 

She also shares her research and includes stories about teachers and students that highlight how creating a safe and supportive environment encourages innovation and engagement.

Stories and examples from the corporate world are also interesting and really help demonstrate that when a leader is vulnerable, it changes the whole landscape of a business. It results in stronger teams, fosters connection and accountability, and more innovative organizations.


It’s About The Courage To:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

How To Belong:
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

This Is Uncomfortable:
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

This Is The Birthplace of Love:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

Doing This – Shame Won’t Survive:
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

The Fear Of Being Ordinary:
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”

This Matters SO Much More:
“What we know matters, but who we are matters more.”

You Need This To Get Brave:
“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.”

This Is Why We’re Here:
“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”

Shames Power Is…
“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”

It’s Not About Evaluating Your Worthiness:
“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

Knowing You Are Enough:

“Wholeheartedness. There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”

This Is The Act Of Daring Greatly:
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

Your North Star:
“Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. I often say that Wholeheartedness is like the North Star: We never really arrive, but we certainly know if we’re headed in the right direction.”

About the Author – Brené Brown:

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She also holds the position of visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

Brené has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of six #1 New York Times best sellers and is the host of two award-winning Spotify podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead.

Brené’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the world’s top five most-viewed TED talks, with over 50 million views. Brené is the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, and in March 2022, she launched a new show on HBO Max that focuses on her latest book, Atlas of the Heart.

Brené spends most of her time working in organizations worldwide, helping develop braver leaders and more courageous cultures. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie, and a weird Bichon named Lucy.

Where I Would Recommend Getting Your Copy:

(I’d also highly recommend the audiobook because she talks to you like you’re having coffee together, repeats many important phrases for emphasis, and tells you some stories that aren’t in the book.)
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

I’d Also Recommend These Books By Brené Brown:

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage by Brené Brown (This was a talk she did, and Sounds True recorded it. I’d highly recommend it.)

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

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

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown

Other Like-Minded Books:

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruis

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

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Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown


Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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