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Men, Women and Worthiness

The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough
Written by: Brené Brown PhD
Narrated by: Brené Brown PhD
Length: 2 hrs and 14 mins
5 out of 5 stars (230 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We Are Enough: Engaging with the World from a Place of Worthiness

What does it take to be secure in our sense of belonging and self-worth? We may hustle to attain this security through achievements, meeting expectations, or repeating affirmations to ourselves - but Dr. Brené Brown's research has shown there is ultimately one obstacle to our sense of worthiness. “Shame is the barrier,” she teaches, “and building shame resilience is how we overcome it.” With Men, Women, and Worthiness, Dr. Brown draws upon more than 12 years of investigation to reveal how we can disarm the influence of shame to cultivate a life of greater courage, joy, and love. In this rich and heartfelt examination of this pivotal element of happiness, she invites you to explore:

  • The differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women.
  • Guilt vs. shame - why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small.
  • The four elements of shame resilience - identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, sharing our story, and speaking honestly about shame.
  • Empathy as the primary antidote to shame.

“Whether you are a man, woman, or child, every one of us has the irreducible need for love and belonging,” Dr. Brown teaches. “A sense of self-worth, unhindered by the inner voices of shame, allows us to meet that need.” With the warmth, candor, and humor that has made her a celebrated speaker, Brené Brown offers a road map for navigating the emotions that hold us back-so we can cultivate a life of authenticity and connection.

©2012 Brené Brown (P)2012 Brené Brown

What listeners say about Men, Women and Worthiness

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Loved it!

Listened to it 3 times back to back. Loved it. Gave me needed language. Would highly recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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I Recommend The Power or Vulnerability

I read Dr. Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability before this and I found it to be quite repetitive.
If you are deciding between either or, I would suggest The Power of Vulnerability.
I will say that I enjoyed hearing her narrate. She engages you from the start and keeps you interested until the last sentence.

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This was so helpful for my personal growth

I share it with everyone. Brene is funny and uses relevant experiences from her life to educate. Her stories are vulnerability embodied.

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A must

Every person would benefit from taking time out of their life to listen to this. No matter where you are mentally, physically, emotionally, you will take something away from this. Whether or not you are ready to hear what she has to say is another question. However, what she speaks about is very real and working on this will make you a better person and improve your relationships.

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Wow! life-changing insight & easy to digest lingo!

Wow! life-changing insight and easy-to-digest lingo! Thank you for your research and motivation to help others get this information.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent as Usual

Excellent. I love Brene Brown. Her work is insightful. She talks TO you from a place of courage and experience rather than AT you from a place of learning and correction.

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  • BdE
  • 2018-09-14

Encourages compassion for self and others

Amazing, just amazing. This book helps shed light on shame for both sexes so well. If you want to understand yourself and others, partners or otherwise this will help immensely. I listened to it all in one go and am already excited to listen again.

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Everyone should read this

incredibly inspiring, insightful and life changing for anyone who is a people pleaser, self sabotaging and feeling unworthy.

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another great Brene read for the whole hearted

if you like Brene you will enjoy this! I had some real shame gremlins come up during this. I feel like I've processed them and let them go now!

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I love her style, and listening to her voice!

She uses her topics with great personal or studied experiences, and defines her words (with stories) wonderfully. It's wonderful when she explains the emotions that are experienced (blushing, heart rate increase). It enlightens the audiobook!

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  • Richard K Patton
  • 2016-05-24

good stuff, but...

good stuff but too similar to her sessions, The Power of Vulnerability. If you are going to get something by Brené go for the six hour book, much more in depth and live content is much better

39 people found this helpful

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  • barefoot rabbit
  • 2015-01-13

Nothing new here.

Brene Brown is great, but sadly, this really has no real new content beyond what you will get in The Power of Vulnerability. If it wasn't so expensive I would be fine with it as it's always a pleasure to listen to her, but this is really not worth the price. It seems like SoundsTrue is just trying to make more money by offering new shorts by Brene that are just more of the same, unfortunately. Just get the latter audio book which is more than 6 hours of teaching, and you'll get all you need on this topic.

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  • Marcia
  • 2013-08-29

Incredibly helpful book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Shame can have devastating energy and effect, and for me it seems to occur around those people that I love the most. I don't want to hurt or worry them when I am going through these feelings. Brene has helped me understand the ugliest side of shame and has giving me the tools to work through those feelings rather then being ruled by them. After reading this book I was able to give my daughters some examples of my behavior that they had a keen memory of and explained that this book would help them understand why I felt and acted the way I did. I went on to explain to them that if they took the time to read this book they would be exposed to an extremely helpful concept that would help them the rest of their lives. This would help them to not only understand themselves better, but to understand those people around them better.

Which character – as performed by Brené Brown – was your favorite?

It is so helpful that Brene is so honest and open about her own experiences. I felt like I was in the room with her and felt such empathy for her story. It allowed me to feel empathy for my own memories in which I still feel shame.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

The concept of turning shame into anger and lashing out helped me to understand my own behaviors and those of people close to me. I was able to forgive and understand some comments that had been said to me from my mother. I now understand that these hurtful comments were about her own feelings of shame.

It was also so helpful to hear about men's shame. This gave me very useful insight into what drives us in our relationships. It gave me the ability to have much more empathy for men, but for all people really.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2013-08-13

Great Book!!

If you could sum up Men, Women and Worthiness in three words, what would they be?

Was very glad that this book was recommended to me! And wished I hadn't waited to listen to it. But I'm glad that i finnaly did. Brene Brown uses some of her own storys from her life to help relate the information that she is explaining. I listen to the book and there is a lot of info in there that I listen to it again back to back. And I'm listing to her other books and love all that I have listened to. For me you can't go wrong listing to her books. We all deal with shame and she to me has been the only one to address this. Thanks to Brene Brown for looking into men and how we deal with shame! I love the info that I got from her book.Please keep them coming!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Brene Brown

Which character – as performed by Brené Brown – was your favorite?

Herself

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Men, Women and Worthiness?

To understand shame and how it plays out in my live as a man.

11 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2014-02-21

A really humbling experience

One of the best things I've read. Deeply impacted by this book. I learned so much about the experience of shame and am so grateful for her take on male shame.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Moonglotexas
  • 2013-11-05

Mind-shifter

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! It elegantly and humorously conveys the importance of accepting imperfections within ourselves. More than that, it highlights how differently men and wonen experience the world.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Men, Women and Worthiness?

Brene's stories make the theory so very much lighter and easier to remember, she keeps you giggling!

Which character – as performed by Brené Brown – was your favorite?

This question doesn't really apply to this sort of book, but Brene being Brene is awesome!

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Bret L Berry
  • 2014-08-29

I'm ashamed of my appreciation for this book

Where does Men, Women and Worthiness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks among in the top 5 of 18 of the audiobooks to which I've listened. I haven't listened to that many, but I have chosen audiobooks very well. This book is excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

That someone else documented the shit with which I live.

What about Brené Brown’s performance did you like?

She was quite a performer. If she hadn't been a white, texan woman with incredible edu cred, I'd have connected a bit better. I'm a white, mid-west, truck driver, with no edu cred, so I automatically hate her and all that she represents. Anyhoo, I liked hearing her. She obviously knows her s*** and her s*** is so my s***.

What did you learn from Men, Women and Worthiness that you would use in your daily life?

I learned some coping stuff, you know.

Any additional comments?

I kid a bit in my responses, but this book was excellent, unless you have not experienced shame......or life, a******.

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  • Mark
  • 2020-01-16

Random uninformed musing masquerading as science

I recently listened to a book that my girlfriend requested me to called “Men, Women and Worthiness, the experience of Shame and the Power of being enough”. My girlfriend noted that the author, Dr. Brene Brown, shared some points that I’d been trying to explain regarding differences between men and women. I went in with an open mind and thought it might help me understand women.

I didn’t like the book, it was written by a woman for women. It did help me understand women more and understand some of the problems facing males in society today.

Dr. Brown expounds on a situation that changed her life and research when a man confronts her with a difficult topic at one of her book signings. He tells Dr. Brown that his wife would rather he die on his white horse than fall off of it. This leads her to discover that society holds men to different, but equally difficult standards as women. It is a revelation to Dr. Brown. She nobly decides to actually talk to men in her research after learning this very obvious fact. What she finds is that men and women feel shame for different things. Women feel shame when they don’t meet traditional feminine standards (beauty, family, submissive attitudes), and men feel shame when they don’t meet traditional masculine standards (power, money, success). Somehow, she felt years of research were necessary to discover of something any high school student could explain. At least on this point she was correct, men and women are fundamentally different in the things they feel shame about and thus are different in the things they value. She was wrong about most everything else.

She claims the reason men and women feel shame from different things is social norms society enforces. No. Wrong. This claim is in direct conflict with all the science on gender differences published in the last 15 years. She is either willfully ignorant of this or misrepresenting herself. Men and women share many traits and personality traits do have significant overlap, but there large statistical differences in gender personality traits. These differences manifest themselves across all current cultures, across all previous cultures, across the primate animal kingdom, and across all mammals. There are large innate biological differences between men and women that drive our values and thus shame. This misunderstanding drives the rest of her errors.

After “discovering” that men and women feel shame from different things, she doesn’t make the obvious conclusion that the sexes should deal with shame differently. Not that she does much to explain how to deal with shame for either sex. Her direction is all over the place, but I think her first step in dealing with shame is to identify when you’re feeling shame. Based on her definitions, you’d have to be a connoisseur of emotions to figure out when you’re feeling shame vs. the myriad of other unpleasant emotions. So far so confusing. Next is to call a friend (or spouse) who is close enough to “move a body for you” and dump this emotional baggage on them. Your friend must be a fully trained in how to effectively empathize. God forbid they sympathize (vs empathize), because that’s so bitchy. Then everything is better, or something.

If there was any scientific proof that this worked, maybe she could be forgiven for the complete lack of coherence, but she presents nothing of the sort. The proof of her technique’s effectiveness is that she, personally, was able to control her emotions after a judgmental mom gave her some shit in her child’s school drop-off line. This is a doctor of social “science” who uses her own subjective experience to justify the effectiveness of her recommended coping technique. Using personal experience as justification flies in the face of any scientific principle and says a lot about the rigor of the social “science” academic field. The other subjective experience she uses as “proof” is a company executive who tells off a coworker after he caught some shit for crying at work. It’s weird how far she goes to too establish this man’s prestige and how little this vignette has to do with any technique to deal with shame.

She also delves into how women deal with emotional men. She is surprised that she and other women are disgusted when their male spouses get emotional in the sad weepy way regarding shame. Really? This is surprising? 200,000 years of natural and sexual selection has shaped women to desire powerful men (read The Evolution of Desire if you have trouble with this obvious fact). She’s surprised that men acting weak turns women off? Her solution to being turned off by her husband acting weak is that she must work harder and she twists herself into knots trying to convince herself emotional men are OK. Her recommendation for men to deal with shame is for them to act against their biological nature and act more emotional to their spouses. Then, their wives need to act against their biological nature and somehow be attracted to emotional men. This is madness, but fairly standard for the social “science” field.

The unstructured musing of an academic in the social sciences can be very dangerous to society. Look no further than the musing of a middle age white woman who grew up privileged, stayed cloistered in the university academic world, recognized that she had a lot of privileges then projected her privileges on all white people in the book “White Privilege”. This is how madness begins. The danger of this book is that women will read this and start expecting emotional outbursts from their husbands and teaching it to their sons.

Males shouldn’t deal with their problems by emoting to their spouse or friends! The majority of males don’t want to emote like this and teaching them that they must is stupid. Other men don’t want to deal with emotional men and women are turned off by it. Social programming isn’t going to change this, it’s written into our DNA. Stop trying. It’s confusing the hell out of our young men. Teaching them to do things that are counterproductive to their success is insane.

I understand where this desire comes from. The social “sciences” are populated by majority women (this gender disparity is driven by different preferences of men and women) and they filter things through their feminine lenses. Like Dr. Brown initially did, these women assume that men and women are the same, and teach men to deal with problems the same way women do. Women would also like to train men to empathize better and teaching everybody to emote like women furthers these ends. These “scientists” don’t do any work to disprove their hypothesis (which negates their claim of being scientists) and continue to promulgate theories that are harmful to men and boys. At least Dr. Brown published some very obvious differences between the sexes and hopefully it will help the social “scientists” realize that men and women need to approach their problems from different angles.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Yarrow
  • 2016-07-05

Outstanding audio experience

Brené Brown's intelligence, compassion, insight, creativity, and humour paves a safe path through the swampland of shame and invites us to walk along with her. Listen if you are sick of feeling like you're not enough and if you want to claim your worthiness.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-10-23

thought provoking

I never right reviews but this is an insightful book every needs to read yesterday.

1 person found this helpful