Apr 02

Book Review: I Thought It Was Just Me

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of ShameI Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown

This is not the first book by Brene Brown I’ve listened to, but I think the other ones were more like recordings of her talks, as this was the first one done by a different narrator. Though the narrator did an adequate job, I prefer Brown’s own voice and inflection. I’m not sure of the timing, but it feels like an earlier work, less focused and more inclusive.

What I like about Brown’s work is that it deals with a critical subject (shame) but uses solid data to back it up. This is especially impressive considering how non-concrete the social sciences can be. She has quotes and anecdotes from interviews with hundreds of women.

There were a few misses for me. One was that this material is almost the same material that’s in the other books by Brene Brown I’ve listened to, except that the focus felt more dissipated. The material is so relevant and personal that it begs for a self-help format. How can we create shame resilience? She asks that question rhetorically again and again, but I feel that it was answered much better in her other works.

This book feels like a greatest hits album that has most of the songs of two other popular albums, but with some stuff you don’t like and without that amazing song you listened to endlessly on repeat that one time. It isn’t inclusive enough to replace her other work, and it’s so long and meandering that it’s not better, and it seems like it’s missing the crucial information about vulnerability that she covered in her TED talk and other works. I liked it because I like her work, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been and it’s not a must-read.

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