My book club read this for January, and I’m really glad we did! Honestly, I have it on audio, and I will probably re-listen to it every once in a while for a pick-me-up, but I know every time I do, my feelings about how awesome the things she’s saying are will clash with my feelings about the style this book was written in, and what was left out of it.
To sum up: This is a self-help book written like a self-help book, complete with repeated phrases and kitschy terminology, but backed with intelligent social science and data, none of which we ever see.
Brené Brown has a PhD in sociology, and she supposedly spent two years researching this book. Also, every three pages she name checks all this bountiful data she supposedly has that she has based her conclusions on. But the whole time, I just WANTED TO SEE IT! What is this data? Where did it come from? Who are your sources? Did you do original research? Did you survey old research? How does this data prove that excellent point you were just making? Oh, wait, we’re going to hit that wilderness metaphor real hard now instead. Okay.
And the thing is, her findings are legit profound, but for me all the profundity was undercut by her not showing her work.
That is why I say I’m not the audience for this book. I wanted a book with all the dirty data and science and positing theories, etc. But this is a self-help book, written for a mainstream audience that doesn’t give two smelly shits about data, and only wants easy to understand concepts that will change their lives.
I would love to hear her speak sometime, or take one of her academic classes, or have a conversation with her. I would probably have a rollicking good time. But I found the format of this book limiting and frustrating, all the more so because I really believe everything she’s writing about is super important.
I might check out some of her other books in future, but I’m just going to have to know going in to expect much of the same.