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51Yq0hL1NEL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_I have a friend who shares a lot of books with me. I read plenty, but I would be the first to admit that I don’t keep up with all the newest releases or scour Publishers Weekly to find out what the critics think. I’m more of a late adopter.

So it works out well for me that I have a friend to curate my reading habits.

Now this friend is in my book club, so she knows that I lean heavily toward fiction in my reading preferences as well as what I write. Yet she gets jazzed about a lot of non-fiction books and always puts some in the pile. If the pile contains enough fiction that interests me, I may never even look at the non-fiction titles.

And this works out well for me—as long as my friend is not on vacation when I run out of fiction. Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago.

You can see my dilemma. I was practically forced to consider reading non-fiction. It was like a dare. So I did. I read one. And she still was not back from vacation, so I read another.

The second book was Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. Which I really, really liked. The odd thing was that as soon as I started reading it, I began to see references to the author everywhere I turned—blogs, Facebook posts, conference links. How did I miss all this?

Brown is an academic at the University of Houston who writes about issues of shame and vulnerability and courage and love from the perspective of research. She has interviewed thousands of people in various studies and drawn credible conclusions about how these issues function in our families, in our schools, in churches, in workplaces, in society. Her TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the most-watched TED talks, and she has developed curriculum for developing shame resilience. The stories she tells, both positive and negative, are tender, shocking, insightful, poignant.

They are about real people. Me. You. Our friends and families. I felt both understood for the person I am and challenged to be the person I’d like to be.

And all because I dared to read a book I likely would never have picked up on my own.

So I dare you. Read something outside your box. Read something a friend who knows you well thinks you would like. Maybe even read Daring Greatly.

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