All Brené Brown Books, Sorted Chronologically (and by Popularity)

Brené Brown Books Cover

Brené Brown is currently a professor at the University of Houston. Brown has spent more than two decades of her life studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy to share it with us. She has published six #1 New York Times bestselling books. 

Aside from being a writer, Brown is currently the host of two original podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead on Spotify. She also has an excellent TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. It is one of the world’s top five most-viewed TED talks, with over fifty million views. Brené Brown is also the first researcher to get her own feature documentary on Netflix. 

Back in 2009, Brown was voted in Houston Woman Magazine as one of the city’s most influential women. Brown has also received awards in teaching. This includes the Graduate College of Social Work’s Outstanding Faculty Award. In addition, in 2016, the Huffington Foundation pledged $2 million in her name for four years to endow a research chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. This is where she guides young social work students in grounded theory methodology and shows them her research into vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy.

So far, we’ve summarized 7 of her 9 books as part of our 1,000+ summary catalog here on Four Minute Books, and today, we’ll compile all Brené Brown books in order of both publication and popularity for you. We’ve even included a section recommending which one you should read first.

 

You can easily navigate this list by clicking on whichever section interests you the most in the below table of contents. In addition, we’ve included an image of the cover of each book, a 1-sentence-summary, and our favorite quote. We’ll also share our most important takeaways and why you might want to read the book yourself.

If you want to dive deeper into any book, click the “Read on Four Minute Books” button or use one of our Amazon affiliate links to buy a copy. So, without further ado, here’s the complete list of Brené Brown books!


All Brené Brown Books (in Chronological Order)

1. Women and Shame: Reaching Out, Speaking Truths, and Building Connection (2004)

Brené Brown Books 1: Women and Shame Reaching Out, Speaking Truths, and Building Connection

Favorite Quote

“We desperately don’t want to experience shame, and we’re not willing to talk about it. Yet the only way to resolve shame is to talk about it. Maybe we’re afraid of topics like love and shame. Most of us like safety, certainty, and clarity. Shame and love are grounded in vulnerability and tenderness.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Women and Shame is a compilation of interviews from over 200 women that presents an understanding of shame across topics, appearance, sex, body image, motherhood, parenting, health, and aging.

Why should you read it?

This book talks about the gender-specific concern of women as a matter of growth and empowerment. The book will reveal the bittersweet and poignant interviews with different women. This book is a must-read for women seeking a book that encapsulates how women face the same social issues. Aside from this, four key points that allow women to transform shame into attachment and acceptance are recognized and explained in this book. So if you are looking for a feminist book that tackles how women live with (and through) social norms and experience them, this book is for you.

Key Takeaways

    1. Women can recognize their experiences of shame.
    2. Women can move through shame constructively while maintaining their true selves.
    3. We can establish stronger and more meaningful connections with people in our lives.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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2. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) (2007)

I Thought It Was Just Me (2007) Brene Brown Book 2

Favorite Quote

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) helps you understand and better manage shame’s complicated and painful feelings.

Why should you read it?

I personally read a summary of this book because I thought it would help me in a situation where I was, at the time, struggling with a work embarrassment. It did! The book itself holds plenty of more insights for various scenarios in which you might feel guilt, shame, or other negative emotions, based on interviews with people who went through those exact scenarios. If you struggle with shame and lack self-esteem, I recommend you check out this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. To understand shame, first learn to put it into words.
  2. Practice critical awareness to react better to shame when it happens.
  3. You’ll be tempted to turn your shame into anger. Don’t.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. The Gifts of Imperfection (2010)

Brené Brown Books 3: The Gifts of Imperfection (2010)

Favorite Quote

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

– Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

The Gifts of Imperfection shows you how to embrace your inner flaws to accept who you are, instead of constantly chasing the image of who you’re trying to be, because other people expect you to act in certain ways.

Why should you read it?

This book is about accepting yourself as you are. It’s about learning to live authentically – to be honest despite not being perfect. It’s a very comforting read, and as always, Brené’s wisdom lies in the details. Clever paragraphs, short alliterations, and even single lines can entirely transform your perspective on a topic. Best of all, it’s not like this happens just once but many times as you read. I’d highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection.

Key Takeaways

  1. Trusting your gut and making rational decisions aren’t mutually exclusive.
  2. Comparing yourself to other people makes you boring, not better.
  3. The opposite of play isn’t work — it’s depression.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. Daring Greatly (2012)

Daring Greatly (2012) Brene Brown Book 4

Favorite Quote

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Daring Greatly is a book about having the courage to be vulnerable in a world where everyone wants to appear strong, confident, and like they know what they’re doing.

Why should you read it?

If you need courage, read this book. Whether it’s the courage to do something important at work, the courage to make your art, or the courage to lead others, be it a family or an organization, Brené’s honest yet insightful writing will help you take the next step. You can feel that, in her talks and writing, Brené practices what she preaches. She’s not a bullshit artist. She’s seen the dark side. And she’s here to tell us that, sometimes, we’ll see it too — but that we’ll survive and, ultimately, everything will be okay.

Key Takeaways

  1. Vulnerability means strength, not weakness.
  2. Understand and verbalize your shame to make it go away.
  3. Children can only become who you are, so be a role model.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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5. Rising Strong (2015)

All Brene Brown Books 5: Rising Strong

Favorite Quote

“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Rising Strong describes a 3-phase process of bouncing back from failure, which you can implement both in your own life and as a team or company, in order to embrace setbacks as part of life, deal with your emotions, confront your own ideas and rise stronger every time.

Why should you read it?

Brené Brown is the Seth Godin of feelings. Her instructions are based on principles, and they are more strategy than tactic. So too with the 3-step Rising Strong process — but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. If you’re afraid of trying again because you’ve failed in the past, this book is for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Reckon with your emotions by noticing and investigating them.
  2. Rumble with the stories you tell yourself to uncover false beliefs.
  3. Revolutionize your attitude with the results, just like Brené changed hers about generosity.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Braving the Wilderness (2017)

Brene Brown Books 6: Braving the Wilderness (2017)

Favorite Quote

“The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Braving the Wilderness offers a four-step process to find true belonging through authenticity, bravery, trust, and vulnerability since it’s mostly about learning to stand alone rather than trying to fit in.

Why should you read it?

If you feel rejected by society, this book might be for you. It’s about learning to be happy by yourself, to live alone “in the wilderness” and keep doing your own thing — but without rejecting others. You just…wait. You’re honest, brave, and vulnerable, and whoever wants to be a part of your little world will be invited in — but not at the expense of losing yourself. Brown will help you change through a series of stories. Her books work at the subconscious level more so than like IKEA instructions. If you want to start feeling like you’re on the right path, this book will be right for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Once you stop working so hard on fitting in, you’ll find it’s easier to allow yourself to be you.
  2. The courage you need to be who you are comes from learning to trust yourself and others.
  3. Don’t swallow your anger, but turn it into a positive before it becomes resentment.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. Dare to Lead (2018)

Dare to Lead (2018) Brene Brown Book 7

Favorite Quote

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Dare To Lead dispels common myths about modern-day workplace culture and shows you that true leadership requires nothing but vulnerability, values, trust, and resilience.

Why should you read it?

This book is about finding power from within. It will help you summon the strength to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it might be. It’s a comforting book that will give you calm and help you stay composed while moving on, even if the next step is a challenge you’ve never faced before.

Key Takeaways

  1. Courage and vulnerability always go together.
  2. If you can narrow your core values down to just two, you can navigate even the toughest of times.
  3. The seven behaviors that create trust can be summed up with the acronym BRAVING.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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8. Atlas of the Heart (2021)

Brene Brown Books by Popularity: Atlas of the Heart (2021)

Favorite Quote

“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”  – Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Atlas of the Heart maps out a series of human emotions and their meaning and explores the psychology behind a human’s feelings and how they make up our lives and change our behaviors, and how to build meaningful connections by learning how to deal with them.

Why should you read it?

This book will help you understand your emotions and how they affect your behavior. It provides a series of definitions for our most common feelings. It also includes examples of situations in which they influence our decisions, thus making it easy for readers to understand where things go wrong and how they can quickly improve their approach to similar situations. If you want to learn more about your feelings and become better at navigating them, read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Some of the most common toxic traits of all humans are comparison, internalizing anger, and disappointment.
  2. To let go of negative emotions, you have to become vulnerable and allow meaningful connections to form.
  3. Knowing our emotions makes it easier to turn them into strengths and do away with our weaknesses. 

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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9. You Are Your Best Thing (2021)

Brene Brown Books 9: You Are Your Best Thing (2021)

Favorite Quote

“Shame cannot survive being spoken. Shame only works if it can convince you that you’re completely alone, but once you know you’re not alone, that other people have lived through that or are experiencing that, it takes down shame at its knees.” — Brené Brown

The Book in One Sentence

You Are Your Best Thing is a collection of essays by Black writers, covering Black Shame and healing, showing how to create a safe space in which to see and process the trauma of Black people caused by white supremacy.

Why should you read it?

This book is created to let the voices of the silenced be heard. It is a compilation of essays to discuss the topics Brown and Burke have dedicated their lives to understanding, edited by those two authors. The book shows how Black people can be vulnerable and yet resilient to shame. It also explains that to heal, one must confront white supremacy and the racist systems in America so that all people, including Black people, can feel unsafe in our society. It’s an invitation to let go of the past and talk about the future – and what we must do in the present to make said future a reality.

Key Takeaways

  1. To balance optimism and realism well, we must acknowledge the Stockdale Paradox: Only when we confront the brutal facts can we have faith that we’ll persevere in the end.
  2. We have to develop empathy towards other people so that we can see the world as others see it.
  3. We have to extend the most generous interpretation possible to other people’s intentions, words, and actions.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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Brené Brown Books by Popularity

Want to know which Brené Brown books are the most popular? Here’s a short reorder of the list based on the total number of Amazon ratings, ranked from most to least.

  1. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (⭐️ 29,900+ Ratings ⭐️)
  2. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. (⭐️ 16,900+ Ratings ⭐️)
  3. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (⭐️ 15,500+ Ratings ⭐️)
  4. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (⭐️ 11,600+ Ratings ⭐️)
  5. Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone (⭐️ 9,300+ Ratings ⭐️)
  6. Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead  (⭐️ 7,600+ Ratings ⭐️)
  7. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” (⭐️ 5,500+ Ratings ⭐️)
  8. You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience: An anthology (⭐️ 1,500+ Ratings ⭐️)
  9. Women & Shame: Reaching Out, Speaking Truths and Building Connection (⭐️ 10+ Ratings ⭐️)

Given that only about 1% of people ever leave a review for something they bought on Amazon, you can easily see how that many ratings amount to millions of books sold. In fact, Brené Brown has a net worth of at least five million, based on estimations.


In What Order Should You Read Brené Brown’s Books?

Which of Brené Brown’s books should you read first? If you ask us, here’s the order in which reading his books makes the most logical sense based on their topics:

  1. The Gifts of Imperfection: This book will take you on a journey of ‘Whole heart’ living. Brown will give her ten guideposts to help us realize our real strength of character. This strength will be developed through how we accept their imperfections and create courage from them.
  2. Dare to Lead: In this title, Brené Brown will teach us what it means to take risks, rise strong, and have courage in the Wilderness. Based on her research on leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, Brown will show us how to put ideas into practice so we can move forward and lead.
  3. Atlas of the Heart: If you want to find the way back to yourself and one another, you need language and the grounded confidence to tell your stories and be stewards of the stories you hear. These books follow Brown’s takes on 87 of the emotions and experiences of being a human. She maps out the skills and a meaningful connection, language, and tools to get new choices and second chances—a life where we can share the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments.
  4. Daring GreatlyDaring Greatly is more than winning or losing. This book is about courage. This book will show us how to practice and have a powerful way to let ourselves be seen.
  5. Braving the Wilderness: This book is timely and essential to all the challenges we think we know about creating connections in our communities, organizations, and culture. Brown says that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection today. She also introduces four practices of true belongingness that challenge everything we all believe about ourselves. 
  6. Rising Strong: In this book, Brown tells us it takes some time to get back up. When we own our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak, these give us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle can be our greatest call for courage to rise strong.
  7. I Thought It Was Just Me: Brown stated in this book that aiming for perfection is unrelenting and exhausting. We constantly want to meet social expectations and think that being imperfect is inadequate. Where we go, we all see many messages of what and how we’re supposed to be. That is why we want to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, criticism, judgment, and blame by pretending to be flawless — but it just doesn’t work.
  8. You Are Your Best Thing: This latest book of Dr. Brené Brown brings together a dynamic group of Black artists, writers, organizers, academics, and cultural figures to discuss the topics of vulnerability and shame resilience.
  9. Women and Shame: This book is a compilation of interviews with over 200 women, in which they share ideas, strategies, and information for understanding shame across topics, such as appearance, sex, body image, motherhood, parenting, health, and aging, supported by poignant and relevant case examples.

If you’re only interested in a specific topic or idea, you can start with whichever one of Brené Brown’s books appeals to you the most!

Conclusion

Brené Brown is one of the world’s greatest authors today. Her writing is always encouraging, helpful, and inspiring. Moreover, you can always find a new perspective on life in her books. We hope this comprehensive list of Brené Brown books will help you pick your favorite and get started!


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Last Updated on November 18, 2022