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Rising Strong - A Book Review

I received a copy of Rising Strong, written by Brene Brown, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. This book released last month. Italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


This was my first Brene Brown book although I’m certainly familiar with her. I think every popular faith-based blogger I read has referenced her in their own work at least once. Her books “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly” set readers up for her latest “Rising Strong.” Both have spent time on the New York Times Bestseller list and this new book, released last month, will surely claim its place there as well.


A research professor by occupation, Dr. Brown has found her niche teaching the world the benefits of being vulnerable. The advantages of living with courage. Parts of “Rising Strong” read like a textbook. She is, after all, a professor. Other parts, though, told a story. That’s Brene Brown. It’s what she does so effectively.

And today I proudly call myself a researcher-storyteller because I believe the most useful knowledge about human behavior is based on people’s lived experiences.


Early on in this book, she references a progression in her work.

The Gifts of Imperfection - "Be You."

Daring Greatly - "Be all in."

Rising Strong - "Fall. Get up. Try again."


Sometimes that can all seem like a lot of work, can’t it? I thought of all the various women I encounter in ministry. From all walks of life in varying seasons. Some are completely open and easy to get to know, while others remain guarded. Sometimes they aren’t even sure who they are. Step one: Be you. They are still living in places of hurt or shame. Or perhaps they just never learned how to be open. Step two: Be all in.


But this book, Rising Strong, talks about what we do after a fall. Because it’s going to happen. For better or worse, these moments define us.

The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way through it.




Readers walk through each step of falling. We learn terms for all the steps we go through as we pick ourselves back up. Curiosity is simply acknowledging that we’re reacting to a struggle in life. There’s also rumbling, which is taking the time to understand our responses (to ourselves and others) during these times. There’s a choice to stay present that many of us have to learn because it sure isn’t going to come naturally.


Brown offers us examples of how we can do this from her own life. She shares the stories of others. She talks a bit about teaching our children to rise strong. 


You have to read this book slowly. There’s a lot to digest but it’s good stuff. However, the part that spoke to me the most was a story she shared about a time she got critiqued by a gal who finds speakers for a nationwide organization. The gal sent her a bruising email that hit a lot of Brown’s sensitive points. We all have them. 


As Brown processed this negative email and decided what to do with it, she realized she had to learn how to accept some things about herself that were just her. Some things she viewed as negative on occasion.

I’ll never write enough books or earn enough degrees to meet the standard I set up for "smart” - the New Yorker smart, the Ivy League smart, the anywhere-but-where-i’m-from smart. No credentials or letters behind my name can change the fact that I am a fifth-generation Texan with imperfect grammar, the tendency to cuss too much when I’m tired or fired up, and an ongoing struggle to police my long vowels and colloquialisms.


I liked that Brene Brown so much. I can relate to her. She sounded an awful lot like my own people, whom I trust. It got deep in the research part of this book, but when I felt like I was just having a conversation with her as a person, I could relate and learn.


How often I want to tell these ladies I get to know through ministry, there’s more! If you would just let us - your tribe of women - in, we can offer support. Be brave and vulnerable. Together, we can face whatever life has or will send our way. Quite simply, we’re for you.

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