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The Book Nook

Le Coin Lecture

Curl up and grab one of these books to help you navigate the work that's ahead.

This list is meant to help, challenge, and encourage discussions around DEI, Anti-Racism and Emerging Leadership practices. 

January 1, 2023

Dare to Lead


Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

What's this about?

Social worker, leader, and author Brené Brown guides us through some best practices when it comes to compassionate leadership with relatable and moving stories, grounded examples. The book has so many quotable text, it's funny, it's thought provoking, it makes you question your behaviour and your commitments to change in the spirit of calling in versus calling out. It does more than just tell you how to be a better leader, it challenges you to find ways you can already be getting better.


Leadership, Storytelling, Compassion, Authenticity

What We Liked

The lessons are clear and well constructed. They are backed not only with explanations, research, but also real life experiences lived by Brené, her colleagues and others who practice brave leadership. The book makes you accept that leading has nothing to do with a title, it's the action that anyone can take to make a difference in other people's lives through showing them your authentic self and by building the environment to encourage others to bring their authentic selves. Easier said than done, for sure. But this book definitely shows us a few first steps for leaders among us to take in order to get us all there.

We loved that right off the bat, Brené defines what is a leader: I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. This lets us know the tone of the book - a leader is not a title, its a role that anyone can play.

What this book is : a guide, a collection of vulnerable stories that humanize mistakes, show unusual paths to courage and finding strength. This book invites a lot of introspection, walks us through shame towards empathy, but also holds challenges and practices to put into action with teams, pushes us to be different leaders. The book busts myths about leadership, encourages us all to be vulnerable but grounded in our boundaries and be generous with ourselves. 

What this book isn't : a definitive or mandatory practice. This book isn't telling you the one way to be, but instead it's offering ways for us to become the type of leader that leads with empathy, compassion and bravery. How you arrive to it is not dictated.

Why You Should Read This

If you're a leader who wants to work on your approach when it comes to motivating your team, understanding yourself, and become a better version of yourself, this book will provide the tools for you to start asking yourself the questions to set you on that path. The stories help us reflect on situations in our own lives, things we have observed in our workplace and maybe didn't handle as well as we would have wanted to. The tools and lessons these stories are followed up by help us unpack and rethink how to navigate the situations in the future. The exercises in the book can be used in team meetings, trust building and planning for leaders.

Quick Quotes

"Vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability. It might be fear or anxiety. We have to think about why we're sharing and, equally important, with whom. What are their roles? What is our role? Is this sharing productive or appropriate?"

- p.40 Rumbling with Vulnerability

"We cannot selectively numb emotion. If we numb the dark, we numb the light. If we take the edge off pain and discomfort, we are, by default, taking the edge off joy, love, belonging, and the other emotions that give meaning to our lives."

- p.85 Rumbling with Vulnerability

"We have to be able to take feedback - regardless of how it's delivered - and apply it productively. We have to do this for the simple reason: Mastery requires feedback.

- p.202 Living into Our Values

Get the Gist

Listen to Brené talk about her book on the Dare to Lead Podcast.

How does it fare?

“Expect to take notes in the margins of “Dare to Lead.” It’s an absorbingly actionable handbook on creating a space for better work and more fulfilled people. If readers can muster the courage to follow the research, it could create better cultures in our organizations — government included."
- Mary Beth Albright, The Washington Post

"This book is dense, so it is difficult to summarise and do it justice. There is so much richness in the spaces in between the bullet points and anagrams."

- Leading With Courage

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