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Book Review: ‘Braving the Wilderness’

November 01, 2019 by Abigail Bostwick

Bestselling author and social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, examines the human condition in her psychology non-fiction book, “Braving the Wilderness.”

The book has sparked global conversations and meetings on what it means to put meaning into lives and enhance our living experience — by using the tools she believes everyone can obtain: Courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy. 

In “Braving the Wilderness,” Brown attempts to define what it means to wholly belong in the days where social media is becoming the primary source of friendships, online is a large part of the workforce and a general age of increased polarization and isolation. This has led to spiritual crisis of disconnection, Brown argues, and offers four practices in which to challenge and grow ourselves and our relationships with others. 

In a world full of medias that demand perfection and people-pleasing, many people are opting out of it all or choosing to only belong to ourselves as a source of safety or necessity, but Brown searches for ways to find a culture that can fit in without negotiating our values or our true selves. 

Using daily practice to develop authenticity, Brown seeks to teach readers a commitment that is personal and heartfelt, and, ultimately, clarity and courage to find our ways back to one another for unity and connection. 

With her well-known basis using research, storytelling and witty honesty, Brown attempts to make a worldwide conversation while giving readers a map to find their place in a world. 

I don’t typically enjoy psychological or self-help books — but this was recommended to be by a good friend. I found the narrative relatable and a different take on a world that has become so large. Brown is an excellent author and speaker. 

“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. The special courage it takes to experience true belonging is not just about braving the wilderness, it's about becoming the wilderness.” 

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