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Brené Brown’s Netflix special: The Call to Courage

  • Social scientist Brené Brown addresses some tough questions in her new Netflix special
  • The true marker of courage, she argues, is our capacity to let go and be vulnerable

A screen grab from Brown’s TED Talk.
A screen grab from Brown’s TED Talk.

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Brené Brown made shame, fear and vulnerability cool. In 2010, this social scientist at the University of Houston in Texas was invited to deliver a TED Talk. She chose to speak about “The Power Of Vulnerability” in the 20 minutes allotted to her. The rest is history.

Viewed over 38 million times, the talk led to several best-selling books, including Daring Greatly (2012), Rising Strong (2015) and, most recently, Dare To Lead (2018). Brown has since conducted workshops with major Silicon Valley companies, spreading her leadership mantra and the key to living a fuller life, at work and beyond. And now she has a show on Netflix, The Call To Courage, where she distils the essence of her philosophy in 76 minutes.

Charming, vivacious and down-to-earth, Brown is a delight to watch, even though some of her arguments may seem obvious, even glib, at times. But it is the simplest ideas that trip us over most often. Drawing from her 20 years of research, including 400,000 pieces of data, as well as anecdotes from her life, Brown argues that we can’t be brave without being vulnerable. As she puts it: “If you’re brave with your life and choose to live in the arena, you’re going to get your ass kicked. You are going to fall, fail, and you’re going to know heartbreak.”

Inspired by a quote from the late US president Theodore Roosevelt, Brown unpacks her thesis in her unique style, applying it to scenarios as varied as dealing with online trolls, negotiations at work, and configuring marriage and relationships. “We’re wired for love and we’re hardwired for belonging,” she argues, but none of these aims can be fully achieved until we inhabit who we truly are and embrace our insecurities and doubts.

The Call To Courage is streaming on Netflix.

—Somak Ghoshal

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