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Good Reads

Good Reads: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown; and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.


Recently, I have been trying to find more time to read in order to complete reading the myriad of books on my desk!   I recently finished reading  Daring Greatly by Brene Brown; and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Keon.  These were both Good Reads!

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.  Her 2010 TEDxHouston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of most watched talks on

Daring Greatly was named after a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “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 errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

In this book, Brene Brown presents her findings on the concepts of shame, weakness, and vulnerability.  Defining vulnerability “as exposure, uncertainty, and emotional risk,” Brene Brown maintains that this feeling is the crux of most of our meaningful experiences.  Ultimately, she writes, it is not a weakness; everyone is vulnerable, we all need support via friends and family.  Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand.  Brene Brown believes it is essential to expose oneself to a wide range of feelings in order to combat shame, break down the walls of perfectionism and stop the act of disengagement that separates many from themselves and others.  “Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice,” she writes, “we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.  This is vulnerability.  This is daring greatly.”   When we choose to dare greatly, the rewards are vast: We feel more loved and are more loving, we feel worthy of that love, we choose our path and commit to it with daily practice, and we live with courage, engagement and a clear sense of purpose.

One of the reasons I enjoyed reading this book is the openness and vulnerability with which Brene Brown speaks of her own experiences.  She is clear in describing herself as “a great mapmaker and a stumbling traveler” and I think it the descriptions of her own struggles with vulnerability that make the book so accessible and relatable.

What spoke to me overall, is the idea of how we are in a culture of “scarcity,” thinking we are not “enough,” that we are failing somehow as a person, and how that leads to fear, shame and guilt, etc.  Brene Brown contends that in the end, we need to be brave and let ourselves be vulnerable, whether what we do is successful or not, because that is the only way to fully experience life and joy.  We cannot shut out just the bad stuff selectively.  When we try, we shut out the good stuff too.  Overall, I found this book eye-opening and thought-provoking.


Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

I loved this book!  I read about this book last year, and recently ordered it.  It is a quick read and it is filled with insightful quotes, fun drawings, and inspirational photographs.  This book helped me to think more creatively about becoming more creative by introducing me to a variety of different perspectives that will help me become more alert and more aware.

The quotations included in this book are excellent.  Below are some of my favorite quotes.

Art is theft.”  – Pablo Picasso

The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”  – David Bowie

What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.”  – William Ralph Inge

It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” – Mark Twain

Start copying what you love.  Copy copy copy copy.  At the end of the copy you will find your self.”  –Yohji Yamamoto

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”  – Jessica Hische

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert

Happy Thursday!

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Pat Pope #

    Great book reviews! I feel like I have read the books myself.

    March 22, 2013

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