Rising Strong by Brené Brown: Book Review

Cover of the book Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Gold text on a white background.

True confession: I did not enjoy this book as much as I did “Dare to Lead”. While “Dare to Lead” was quite scientific and focused on workplace behaviour, “Rising Strong” was more personal and emotional which would not normally be my choice in non-fiction. Brown would say that I need to rumble with that emotion, and she would probably be right. “Negative” emotions do not sit well with me.


Rising Strong describes a process for owning your failures and finding opportunities for personal growth. Brown breaks this into 3 steps:


Reckon with your emotions by noticing and investigating them.

Reckoning is a mindful process of noticing the emotions you are feeling and exploring any associated thoughts, physical sensations and feelings both before and after the emotion. Once you’ve identified the emotion explore why you are feeling that way. Was there an event, memory or sensory input that triggered it? Question why you are feeling so strongly at this moment.


Rumble with the stories you tell yourself to uncover false beliefs.

Brown uses a device she calls “the story I’m making up is…” which is just what it sounds like. What is your inner narrative around this event or emotion? Are you telling yourself that someone acted in a certain way because they don’t like you, or that you acted in a certain way because of some personal failing? Question that narrative as if you were talking to a friend and challenge the logic.


Revolutionize your attitude with the results.

Take your newly gained insight and use it to learn, grow and respond more constructively next time.


The lesson is valuable. Shortly after finishing the book I got into one of “those” conversations with my partner. When I found myself getting upset I took Brown’s advice and questioned why I was feeling that way. I was able to explain to my partner why I was upset and to ask him for what I needed to move past it. It worked. We got to an outcome that we both felt good about where we would previously have gotten into an argument.


For me, though, the book was too much introspection and anecdotes from Brown’s own life. Its possible this is because I’ve been reading the books out of order. I still haven’t read “Daring Greatly”. Perhaps “Rising Strong” will be more meaningful once I’m all caught up.


Have you read Rising Strong? What did you think?

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