Brief review of B. Brown's Braving the Wilderness
|Brene Brown, as I found out,is a name a lot of people know. Now that her name is known to me I also know she has a handful of best-selling books and a TED Talk that is one of the most viewed TED Talks ever (not yet by me…). So when many friends recommended I read anything by her I was anxious to see what she was about.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone is a short work about (surprise) belonging. It is about the paradox of belonging so fully to yourself that you belong both nowhere and everywhere. She borrows this from Maya Angelou and explains it through retelling an encounter with the god herself (and Oprah - of course).
I liked the book; her methodology is laid out plainly, something I appreciated as reading a book about “true belonging” made me roll my eyes. I do wish she had explained more about the groups she interviewed for her research ( not Oprah - of course). For me, it was her personal anecdotes that helped illustrate her “four elements of true belonging”. She tells her stories with wit and honesty. The elements themselves often left me wanting. Some felt a little obvious (ex: speaking truth to bullshit in a civil way) or too based on emotional responses (ex: the shared experience of being at a concert is like holding hands with strangers).
That being said, there are moments that deserve solid reflection. Some parts of the book made me question parts of me, especially the parts about anger. Overall I am glad I read the book. I would recommend that it be read along with someone. A lot of it deserves discussion and personal reflection. Read it with a trusted human to really make the most of it; you know what they say about a life unexamined (or maybe you don’t).
The paradox of belonging nowhere to belong everywhere really resonated with me, but I’ve always had a penchant for philosophy. The wilderness, as I learned, is a place we all need to spend some more time in. If you’re into that, read the book. I don’t think it will change your life, but it will hopefully make you think about it. Score: 3/5