Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone is the fifth non-fiction book by qualitative researcher and writer Brené Brown.
A couple of years ago, a friend lent me Rising Strong, another of Brené Brown’s books. I was having a tough time. That book pulled me out of the depths of my despair page by page. It was transcendent. Thus, I’ve been collecting Brown’s other work. I got Daring Greatly at a book swap, and I got this one from Indigo on Black Friday. The pretty cover didn’t hurt!
Here’s the cover of Braving the Wilderness:
I love it! Simple but perfect.
Here is the synopsis of Braving the Wilderness from Amazon:
“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.
Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”
Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
Finally, here’s my review of Braving the Wilderness!
This book was a disappointment. For most of it I couldn’t even grasp the concept Brown is getting at. This is the idea of “true belonging.” It could be that this book didn’t touch on things I want to improve on now. Or that I’m just disappointed because Rising Strong hit such a strong sweet spot of good writing and research + exactly what I needed at the time. I don’t know. However, what I do know is that I didn’t enjoy it. It almost felt like Brown just wanted to make some more money from another book. So, she just wrote some stuff that she’d been thinking about recently, put a pretty cover on it, and called it done.
Something else to note:
I found Rising Strong to be super believable and motivational. I think this was because so much of it was based on research. Braving the Wilderness felt a lot more like a story that she thought of that made sense. But it wasn’t really backed up with facts or figures or even anecdotal evidence. By the time I finished the book, I wasn’t sure what I’d read, or why.
Overall, 2/5 stars.
After Rising Strong, this was a disappointment with little substance. I don’t think I’m any better off from having read it. And that’s usually my goal when reading books in this realm.
Enjoy the interesting read!
– Paperback Patronus