I have come to the wonder of Brené Brown in reverse order. Rising Strong is the first of her books that I have read, and as I understand it, it follows on from The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly. I have previously heard snippets of an audio book of hers (I believe it was Daring Greatly, but don’t hold me to that!) and I immediately wanted more. As her latest release, Rising Strong was the first to cross my path in an actual book store, and I snapped it up on sight. In hindsight, I think it would have been beneficial to read them in order, and I will be going back and doing just that, before re-reading Rising Strong to get the full benefit.

Regardless of the order in which I read it, I got a great deal from this book. It came to me at a time I was seriously struggling. I was trying to pull myself up and get back on track after a (seemingly unending) series of falls. The premise of the book is simply this: if you live a full life, you are bound to fall down. It’s inevitable. There’s no avoiding it. You will have failures (or perceived failures). You will lose people and things that matter to you. You will be brought low by thoughts, fears, feelings. By the things the world does to a person in the course of an ordinary life.

Falling is not, in itself, failure.

Falling is perfectly natural.

The trick is accepting that, learning from our falls, our failures, and rising strong.

That is this book in an overly simplified nutshell. It doesn’t sound like much. But Brown’s insightful analysis and keen sense of the human condition bring depth, poignant understanding to an otherwise simple sentiment.

It’s easy to say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s easy to say that which knocks me down only makes me rise stronger. But actually living this belief is something very different. 

It’s actually very difficult.

The Rising Strong Process (In A Nutshell)

The process outlined in Rising Strong comes in three steps: The Reckoning; The Rumble; The Revolution.

Respectively these stages refer to: learning to recognise our thoughts, feelings, and actions, or ‘story’; owning that story and getting really honest about ourselves, past and present; changing the ending – taking what we have learned and using it to shape a new, stronger, braver story for ourselves that enables us to live a full and wonderful life.

I thoroughly enjoy Brown’s writing. Her style is easily read, and despite tackling some difficult topics easy to follow. She injects her work with a flare of her own Texan personality. I will admit, there is quite a lot of this. If you’re at all averse to books that stay true to the personality of the writer, rather than offering a neutral narrative anyone can relate to, it may not be for you. I loved it. I love the sense of truth and reality that comes when a writer writes as their full self and doesn’t censor aspects of their personality to suit the general masses. But if you don’t like bad language, country expressions, and the use of autobiographical anecdotes to illustrate points you may find it grating.

Brown uses a lot of case studies, stories, and quotes throughout. At times, these are perhaps a little much, but they do enable the reader to directly relate the theory she is putting forth to real life events. I believe this is absolutely necessary, otherwise the book would be a pretty fancy but not much help on a practical level. I found it immensely helpful and very interesting. I’ll pick up her other books as soon as I can, and revisit this review with further thoughts!