I recommend reading Brené Brown

Brene Brown

I’ve been on a Brené Brown kick lately. I’ve flown through Daring Greatly, Braving the Wilderness, The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, the Power of Vulnerability, and Dare to Lead.

Many stories and themes overlap in Brown’s books, but each also offers new insights into who we are as human beings and how to best interact with each other. I’ve found reading Brené Brown useful as a woman, wife, parent, teacher, and teacher leader.

One of my favorite things about Brené Brown is that she is so human, so flawed. She is a self proclaimed storyteller and that is exactly what she does with her books. She tells stories from her life and uses them to teach her readers about psychology, sociology, and our shared humanity.

I list the books below in the order I wish I’d read them. I dove in with Dare to Lead and jumped around after that both reading the books and listening to her presentations at conferences on Podcasts and audio book, which lead to a bit disjointed listening. If I were to do it again, I’d read them in the following order…

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Start here:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

If you are only going to pick up one Brené Brown book, I recommend you purchase The Gifts of Imperfection. This book sets up her schema for how to look at life and relationships from a perspective that you are worthy of great things.

It introduces readers to what Brown refers to as “wholehearted living,” a concept which carries through as the basis of the rest of her work.

Then move on to:

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

Daring Greatly shows readers how to bravely live the wholehearted life we learned about in The Gifts of Imperfection.

Many of her books return to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt, but she introduces it in Daring Greatly:

“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 done 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 at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”—Theodore Roosevelt

She focuses on the idea that a life lived outside the “arena” is not really lived at all, but if you’re going to get in the “arena” then you’d better be ready to get knocked down and that’s okay. In fact, you need to get knocked down some in life to live a wholehearted life.

After Daring Greatly, I’d read Rising Strong.

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

In The Gifts of Imperfection, readers learn the tenants of Brown’s work and what she believes, based on her research, constitutes a life lived wholeheartedly.

In Daring Greatly, Brown shows readers why it’s worth attempting to live a wholehearted life and ways to go about doing it. She notes that in order to live a wholehearted life, one must dare greatly. We must put ourselves in situations that might be uncomfortable and situations in which we might fail. In fact, sometimes we will fail, or “fall” in her terms, and that is where Rising Strong comes in.

Rising Strong is about finding the courage to rise up from our falls/failures and to step back into “the arena.”

You could stop there.

After reading The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong you will likely have found your life profoundly impacted by what you’ve learned. Enough so that you might be content to work on the strategies you’ve learned (One of my favorites is “the shitty first draft”) for some time without any further reading. Or, like me, you might be voraciously seeking more.

Here are recommendations if you want to continue.

I am going to assume that since you are reading this blog you are affiliated in some way with education. Given that, I suggest your next read be Dare to Lead.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Dare to Lead takes all the skills you learned from The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong and puts them in the context of leadership. For me, I read it from the perceptive of leading as a wife and mother as well as a teacher and teacher leader.

One of the biggest take aways for me was leading with bravery by leading with vulnerability. You’ll have to read the book to really take a deep dive into what that means, but I feel confident that this book will make you think about the ways you lead your family and your classroom and help you to make brave and wholehearted decisions all the way through.

Want to keep going? I did. The rest could be devoured in any order.

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage (audio book)

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

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”

Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough (audio book)

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The Wannabe Teacher’s Guide 

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5 Recommended books for new teachers

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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