Sooooooo, if you haven’t read any Brene Brown, I highly recommend her. Brown is a PhD who studies shame and vulnerability as a research professor at UT Austin. She has also written a number of books that straddle the line between self help and leadership. I came to her books through professional development: I wanted to become a better leader in my professional life, and her book Dare to Lead was suggested to me by my boss. One book in and I was officially hooked. You can certainly read her books in any order – they all focus on slightly different things – but you can see how the research builds on itself, so it’s not the worst thing to start from the beginning.
The Gifts of Imperfection is one of the earliest of Brown’s books, originally published in 2010. In 2020, Brown re-released it with an updated introduction, and that’s the version that I listened to. (I also make it a point to listen to her books; Brown narrates them herself, and is generally delightful.) The basic premise of the book (and, indeed, of most of Brown’s research), is that emotional vulnerability is the key to true connection with others. She also talks about the very real things that keep us from being vulnerable, and also the importance of setting boundaries.
I think Brene Brown is one of those love her or hate her authors. Doing a quick skim through Goodreads, there are plenty of people who find her books vapid and chaotic. Personally, I appreciate that she shares examples from her own life, and I find her very relatable. I also get at least a few insights from every book that help me to understand myself better, and, hopefully, help me to better show up for family and coworkers.