Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She made quite a big impression with her TED talks on shame and wholehearted living. In this cogent and wide-ranging book, which is peppered with personal stories and research insights, Brown presents her understanding of the positive powers of vulnerability. It is not a weakness; rather it combines courage and a willingness to show up and be open to new possibilities.

Brown states that we are hardwired to connect with others, yet trying to achieve that purpose is the source of pain and pleasure in our culture of winners and losers. In our vulnerability, we must deal with shame — the feeling that we are worthless. Brown presents twelve "shame categories" which all create disconnection. She then posits shame resilience as a way out, and empathy as one of its handholds.

In order to protect our vulnerable selves, we use three "vulnerability shields" (forboding joy, perfectionism, and numbing). Those who have managed like a warrior to conquer these obstacles are ready to take small baby-steps toward wholeheartedness by setting boundaries, finding true comfort, and cultivating Spirit.

Brown also covers how people can take daring greatly into education, work, parenting, and society at large.