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You Are Your Best Thing summary

Edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown

Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

4.1 (103 ratings)
32 mins

Brief summary

You Are Your Best Thing edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown is a collection of essays that explores the impact of systemic racism and shame on Black lives. It promotes self-love and healing as essential tools for combating oppression and achieving social justice.

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    You Are Your Best Thing
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    Black experiences of shame, vulnerability, and trauma are inextricably tied to white supremacy.

    In the protests that rocked the United States after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered in 2020, Black activists took to the streets with the aim of fighting white supremacy. But Tarana Burke noticed there was something missing from the conversation. Activists kept trying to make white people less racist. But there was very little discussion about how the trauma of continued racist violence affects Black people. 

    So Burke approached Brené Brown, a longtime friend and expert in trauma. Burke had always found Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability to be inspirational. But, as a Black woman, it was sometimes hard to see herself in it. 

    The key message here is: Black experiences of shame, vulnerability, and trauma are inextricably tied to white supremacy.

    Brown's work reveals how much we have to gain from letting down our defenses and becoming vulnerable and open with each other. It shows how harmful internalized shame can be and argues that everyone is worthy of joy and connection. But it doesn’t explicitly acknowledge that Black people often aren’t allowed to be emotionally vulnerable in society because they experience real threats in daily life. It also doesn’t examine what it’s like for Black people to find self-worth in a society designed to shame and oppress them.

    While Brown’s research had always incorporated many diverse voices, including Latinx and Black respondents, the way she’d presented it was from her own perspective: as a privileged, middle-class white woman. As a result, the anecdotes tend to exclude a big chunk of her readers who don’t have the freedom that she does. 

    So, when Burke proposed collaborating on an edited collection of essays about how Black people experience shame, vulnerability, and trauma, Brown jumped at the chance to make her work more relevant and inclusive. She agreed to join the project on two conditions: Burke would be listed as first author, and Brown’s share of the profits would go toward supporting Black storytellers. 

    The blinks that follow are a sampling of personal stories. Black artists, intellectuals, parents, and activists share how they wrestle with the trauma of systemic racism on a daily basis – and how they create lives full of connection, love, and growth in spite of it. 

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    What is You Are Your Best Thing about?

    You Are Your Best Thing (2021) is an anthology of original essays that explore Black experiences of living, loving, and parenting in America today. It examines concepts like vulnerability and shame, and shows that the key to personal healing lies in confronting white supremacy and the racist systems that make Black people feel unsafe in their communities. 

    You Are Your Best Thing Review

    You Are Your Best Thing (2021) edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown is a powerful collection of essays that explore the intersection of race, gender, and vulnerability. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With candid and honest stories from a diverse range of contributors, it offers a unique and enlightening perspective on the lived experiences of marginalized communities.
    • Combining academic research and personal narratives, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the impact of trauma and the path towards healing and empowerment.
    • By shining a light on the importance of connection, empathy, and resilience, the book offers practical insights and tools for personal growth and social change.

    Who should read You Are Your Best Thing?

    • Black people looking for tools to heal from trauma
    • Psychology-lovers seeking new perspectives on how the personal and political intersect
    • Those who want to deepen their understanding of the impact of racism in America

    About the Author

    Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, is an activist who has fought sexual violence and sytemic inequality for the last 25 years. She was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017.

    Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and the author of five #1 New York Times best sellers, including The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly.

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    You Are Your Best Thing FAQs 

    What is the main message of You Are Your Best Thing?

    The main message of You Are Your Best Thing is to embrace and celebrate our collective humanity.

    How long does it take to read You Are Your Best Thing?

    The reading time for You Are Your Best Thing varies for each reader. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is You Are Your Best Thing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    You Are Your Best Thing is a powerful and insightful book that is definitely worth reading. It offers valuable perspectives on self-love and connection.

    Who is the author of You Are Your Best Thing?

    Edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown.

    What to read after You Are Your Best Thing?

    If you're wondering what to read next after You Are Your Best Thing, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
    • Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown
    • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
    • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
    • The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman
    • Fear Less by Pippa Grange
    • Making Work Human by Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine
    • Rising Strong by Brené Brown
    • Emotional Agility by Susan David
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman