Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (Hardcover)

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My lovely wife has a saying: “Be like Nob Hill Road; Always be working on things.”  She’s so funny.  So with her words echoing in my head, one day between novels I cracked open Atlas of the Heart.  I’d gotten the general impression that Brene Brown was a writer to take seriously in the self-help and Psychology world and so I looked past the kitschy name to see what was up.

My verdict?  There are two books that anyone seeking self awareness should read and this is one of them.  Yes.  It’s that good.

From the title and the bold red cover, I expected some Chicken Soup for the Soul style anecdotes.  And there are those, and they’re very good.  But these anecdotes are merely in service of what this book really is: a Glossary of Emotional Terms. Meticulously researched and up on the latest science.

So I can hear the brakes pumping.  You’re saying “Hold-up Tony. You’re saying a dictionary is an invaluable and interesting book on self help?.”  Yes, I’m saying that.  This book along with The Body Keeps the Score are the must reads if you need to take stock of what you’re feeling.  

So I’ll unpack that some.  Research shows that the majority of people can identify three emotions.  Happy.  Sad.  Angry.  This is a concern, because if you cannot name what you are feeling it makes it harder to understand.  Just as with colors, if you cannot recognize taupe, or beige, they could just be shades of yellow or green.  Incidentally like many guys, I’m not great at identifying non-primary colors. And until I became like Nob Hill, I wasn’t very good at knowing what I was feeling either.  Men and boys of my generation are often taught that being emotional is shameful.  “Boys don’t cry.” The problem with this is that in service of this manly ideal, I did my best to ignore my emotions for most of my life.  Ignoring them didn’t make them go away, they were just feedback that was inexplicably influencing my actions.  

I posit that if you want to teach your boy to “be a man” you should teach them what the emotions they feel are.  Teach them that feeling them isn’t shameful, but a “man” (or any functional human being really) acts after considering what they’re feeling but not under the influence of them.  That’s why this book is valuable.  Not just for boys or men, but everyone.  I discovered that my blind spot was Joy and that I would sometimes feel ashamed when I was feeling Joyful. Apparently this is not uncommon.  

If you want a book to enhance your self understanding, this one is simple, concise and truly useful.  I cannot recommend it enough. 

— Tony Hoffart


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In her latest book, Brené Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.”

Don’t miss the five-part HBO Max docuseries Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart!

In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.
Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown’s singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power—it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice.
Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

About the Author

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She also holds the position of visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Brené has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of six #1 New York Times bestsellers and is the host of two award-winning podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead. Brené’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages, and her titles include Atlas of the Heart, Dare to Lead, Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection. With Tarana Burke, she co-edited the bestselling anthology You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience. Brené’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, with over 60 million views. Brené is the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, and in March 2022, she launched a new show on HBO Max that focuses on her latest book, Atlas of the Heart. Brené spends most of her time working in organizations around the world, helping develop braver leaders and more courageous cultures. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie, and a weird Bichon named Lucy.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780399592553
ISBN-10: 0399592555
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: November 30th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English