At the beginning of 2018, I made a goal for myself that I would read 20 books this year. Naturally, I'm reading about seven books at the moment- just check out my Goodreads. I'm reading a solid variety of fiction and non-fiction, but Brené Brown's "Braving the Wilderness" has particularly struck a chord with me. I can't put it down. Multiple people have suggested to me that I read something she's written and I've finally gotten around to it. I'm nothing short of captivated.

Brené Brown is an author and professor at the University of Houston, as her bio mentions. Brown researches shame, empathy, vulnerability, and courage. She's been interviewed and engaged with the likes of Oprah and Maya Angelou. She's even given a couple Ted Talks. You can find her second talk here. Brown has a few published books out (and I plan to read them all), and I landed on "Braving the Wilderness" to read with a friend. It is sort of a book that answers some major questions I've had.

I'm about halfway through "Braving the Wilderness", but it's already opened my eyes to a new context through which to understand how we currently communicate and connect with each other. As a communication instructor, I crave understanding people and why we behave the way we do. In "Braving the Wilderness", Brown identifies the struggles we face every day in staying true to ourselves and withstanding the difficulties of communicating with people who have different ideas than we do. That's a very simplistic explanation of what she lays out in the book, really.

Brown grounds her ideas and concepts in research, which I appreciate. She's built up a wealth of knowledge and understanding from herself and her own heroes that can help us understand the value of being vulnerable with each other. The important take away is that we should really be seeking to understand each other better as individuals. In a culture that is especially politicized and divided, her tactics could come in handy.

No matter who you are, you can connect with Brown on some level. She uses examples from her own life and historical examples to demonstrate the ideas she proposes. The greatest elements of her ideas are that she seeks truth, has a clear picture of reality, and dives into the nuances of complicated issues that cloud our thoughts in this nation every day. Her writing is eloquent and down-to-earth all at the same time.

Brené Brown is sassy, sophisticated, and honest. Her research and novels are an attempt to better understand humanity and how we function as a social species. I appreciate her work in the sense that it is meant to aid us in being the best and most authentic versions of ourselves. Check her out- Brown provides us with insightful perspectives to consider. I can't wait to read the rest of her work.