Book Nook: Dare To Lead, by Brené Brown

Dare To Lead was in my Audible library because my wife’s account is linked to mine, so we have a shared library. I was familiar with Brown however, having watched and enjoyed her Ted Talk and her Netflix special: Call To Courage both. Still, I never read any of her books, despite the fact she has six number-one selling New York Times best sellers. That list includes 2018’s Dare To Lead.

I assume Dare To Lead was selected as the title because it rolls off the tongue easier than Empathy In Confrontation and Also Some Self-Talk, a descriptive alternative.

The book begins like about any other “leadership” book does, referencing Man in the Arena and this listing a bunch of values, placing the ones they like in the good bucket and the ones we don’t in the bad bucket. Despite the title, this book does not excel as a “leadership” book. At least not in the classical sense. But I think that is kind of the point. I swear I’m going to someday write the first leadership book that does not reference Man in the Arena.

Where it does excel is in the introspection category. Or at least it did for me. She spends a great time on empathy and tools to recognize deficiencies, and a few monikers to use as tools. I have long felt I struggle with empathy. I want data and solutions, not emotions. I am aware this is a shortcoming I have. As she was listing bad examples of how to react to situations, I had a few “oh shit, I’ve done that a lot” moments. Although I will not just assume she is write because she is an expert, I will say it led to some introspection.

Brown also deals with shame quite a bit, and not only accepting it, but embracing and weaponizing it. Many of us struggle with feelings of worthiness, imposter syndrome, etc. I am not excluded from that category. That is why my bluster is mostly false bravado, and not outright bravado. Worthiness and belonging drive a lot of day-to-day interactions, and being cognizant of such can only be a good thing.

That being said, Dare To Lead does not leave me wanting to back track to her other works, unless specifically recommended by someone I trust. Of the three similar books I have read this year, I would rank them: 1) Brett Bartholomew’s Conscious Coaching. 2) Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership. 3) Dare To Lead.

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