Brené & Quinn – As You Were

I’m starting some casual blogging. It’ll be messy. Maybe often more like taking notes to write something later. (Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

Embracing imperfection is in the spirit of the topic.

In early 1993, I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. He quickly became a profound influence on me, and thereafter I kept up on his work. Eventually, I wrote a masters thesis inspired by his work, and it’s linked from his website. I was led from there to all manner of other related topics, including emotional intelligence.

Sometime after her vulnerability TED Talk came out, I heard about Brené Brown. Eventually, I watched the TED Talk. Awesome. Eventually, in early 2017, I read Daring Greatly. Awesome. When Braving the Wilderness came out, I read an article/interview online. Had to read the book. That was it. Spent the next few months going through everything on her website’s Books and Audio page. She became another profound influence on me.

However different these two people and their work, I saw lots of connections between them. Earlier this year, I put it this way in a Facebook Group I created to explore those connections:

Brené Brown: vulnerability, courage, emotional intelligence, emotional literacy, empathy, compassion, wholeheartedness, shame resilience, marble jar, reckoning, rumble. Few people express a better, deeper understanding of the nature of individuals and what is needed for them to be as healthy as possible.

Daniel Quinn: Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael, Beyond Civilization, tribe, Leavers and Takers, New Mind, vision over programs, anarcho-primitivism. Few people express a better, deeper understanding of the nature of our culture and what is needed to change it.

Where they connect: authenticity, belonging, boundaries, community, egalitarianism, spirituality, no one right way. And they both spent significant portions of their life living and working in Houston, TX 🙂

If one or both of these authors has strongly affected you, and if you’re interested in exploring how the ideas of each may need the ideas of the other to really come to fruition in the world, this is probably a pretty good place for you.

Let’s connect conversationally, ponder possibilities, investigate ideas and face frustrations… together.

The pandemic had me thinking about them a lot and even considering revisiting their work. Then, just this summer, within days of each other, on respective Facebook Groups for fans of theirs, book clubs for each of them were launched. I joined them.

A few weeks in, I was chatting at one of the book club meetings about the connections I saw between them, and it became clear that I wanted to blog along the way about the connections I saw. In the past, I might have felt that it would only be worth the effort if I planned to write a book later on. Who knows, maybe I will. But for now, I’m just taking it all as it comes.

It will be imperfect. Messy. I’m not going to feel a need to explain everything for people who aren’t already familiar with their work. Early on, the connections may be more vague and sparse, since I’ll have to rely on what I can recall from past exposure to make connections from either one to what I’m rereading of the other. As I get deeper into revisiting both of them, there’ll be that much more of their work fresher in my mind to make connections, so things will likely get richer as I go. So be it.

When I’ve at times pondered writing a book or whatever else about these connections, and I’ve pondered a title, at some point I thought of “As You Were.” It conveys a sense of stress giving way to relaxation, as when someone in the military says this to a subordinate. It conveys a sense of, like The Beatles said, getting back to where you once belonged. These are sentiments that, to me, deeply connect the work of these two people.

Brené Brown, whose work is rigorous but who writes about her work in a warm and fuzzy way, including vulnerable stories about herself, so you feel you know her — and so I inevitably think of her by her first name.

Daniel Quinn, whose work is rigorous behind what seems like a not-so-rigorous facade, whose thinking is more outside the box than almost anyone else’s I’ve come across, and who in conversation, whether online or in person, was always cool, detached, rational, anything but warm and fuzzy — and so I inevitably think of him by his last name.

Let’s see what happens when we try to connect them.

View the complete As You Were archive.

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