Book: Rising Strong, How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Dr. Brené Brown

Reviewer: Gretchen S.

Age/Genre: Adult Non-Fiction

Preferred Reading Environment: Anywhere; this book will drown any distractions

Reading Accoutrements: Favorite color highlighter

Content Notes: Be prepared to marinate with difficult decisions, emotions, and situations you have made in regards to addressing guilt, shame, loneliness, mistakes, fear and abandonment. Then, consequently, be excited for the opportunity to openly accept and change the trajectory of how these feelings guide your future.

This book, quite literally, fell into my lap. It was gifted from my sister, Hannah, and as someone who was reading chapter books by age four, I fully trust every recommendation she provides. She understands my yearning for continual self-development. I knew instinctively this book was calling my name. Rising Strong introduces a rubric for emotional health. A “Shitty Rough Draft” – as the author calls it – which is a layout for life’s most challenging developmental moments. Each chapter walks the reader through how to identify, cope with, and overcome barriers in regards to difficult feelings. Dr. Brené Brown uses her own professional and personal dilemmas to ensure readers are able to relate and make sense of the information provided. I finished the book with an overjoyed feeling of being able to conquer every highly emotional aspect of life, due to the eye-opening guide so eloquently taught.

Rising Strong has a gravitational pull to continue flipping each page as personal self-discovery seems to be lurking with every turn. Laughter, astonishment, tears, dialogue, confusion, excitement, and doubt will consume your mind and body throughout this empowering read. Simply stated at the beginning of chapter one, “We are born makers. We move what we’re learning from our heads, to our hearts, through our hands.” Acknowledging vulnerability, being brave, and confronting truths are just three major emotional journeys ‘Rising Strong’ addresses and conquers eloquently.  

As a parent, social worker, and life long learner with a mindset of being completely confused with life, I instantly and instinctively fell in love with the author, Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW. I immediately felt like she was speaking directly to my soul and examining my darkest demons. Her writing style is mixed with dry humor, twisted analogies, and propositions that allowed my mind to wander in unlimited directions. Without passing judgement, she seemed to demonstrate exactly how to perceive right from wrong, in a way that delicately and politely offends people. Over eight pages of cited sources in the back, a guided question list, and summary of key points are the least of all reasons to explore this book.

The reckoning, the rumble, and the revolution are concepts that after finishing this book will never hold the same definition in my brain. I struggle with conflict and confrontation and found myself in an uncomfortable situation as I was reading ‘Rising Strong.’ I went out on a whim and tried one of the methods introduced. It worked! I was able to address the individual I had conflict with, I faced my fear of confrontation, and everything went the way I desired it to go! I am still stunned at the outcome as I write this review. Never would I think I could apply a method so soon and it actually work. It instilled a level of confidence never before felt. Real life stories are shared from Brené Brown, her friends, and her colleagues which assist in making the material more tangible and applicable. As I imagined myself in their shoes, I opened channels of thought into my own life. The journey the reader is able to go on is a true awakening to the inner self.

“Creating is the act of paying attention to our experiences and connecting the dots so we can learn more about ourselves and the world around us.” (p.42). This sentence struck a spiritual chord with me. As I am searching for my more spiritual self, it is refreshing to feel like there are other people in the world who are just as lost, yet yearning to be kind, compassionate, and good-hearted people. There is no religious bias in this book – simply the message of being honest, being open, and being loving. These messages are the underlying tone for the whole book.

Trauma and grief are two areas that I enjoy grappling with. However, with my social work background these topics are very familiar to me. For many, these areas could resonate some uncomfortable feelings and the verbiage, perhaps, could leave readers feeling lost, or require additional research to understand them. Thankfully, with citations from Maya Angelou, Joseph Campbell, Nelson Mandela, Star Wars, Pixar, and J.K. Rowling, readers are able to transport their mind to familiar resources which could allow for easier comprehension.

My opinion on this book is that every individual should read it. Period. There is not a page in my copy that does not have highlighting and/or notes on it. If you are searching for a book to truly challenge and enhance your quality of life from the first page to the last, look no further. I have bought this book for seven people and I wrote a personal letter to each of them on the inside cover as to why I insisted they read it. My letter to you, future Rising Strong reader, is that this book can elevate your feelings of worthiness to an amount that seems unattainable. I took my time reading this book, and at only 267 pages, I read like molasses and took two weeks to finish it. I wanted to fully absorb the information. I can confidently say I am a changed person with a renewed sense of ambition to not be afraid of myself.

Have you ever read a book that instantly changed how you interact with people? Tell us about it in the comments!



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