Until 2010, the Texan psychologist Brené Brown was an obscure professor, working in what academic researchers call “the field of shame”. Then she gave a Ted Talk called “The Power of Vulnerability,” which became one of the five most-viewed Ted Talks of all time. She’s published six books since then, all of them best-sellers. Her latest, Atlas of the Heart, came out last year. Now she’s made a five-part docuseries of the same name, which is currently streaming on Binge.
Self-help is a fantastically lucrative industry. According to Forbes magazine, Americans spend more than $US10 billion a year on self-improvement paraphernalia. Brown is one of the genre’s rising stars, and the blurb for her series suggests she’s invented a radical new form of entertainment: the binge-worthy “interactive” TV show that’s also thoroughly good for you.
Actually, there’s nothing very groundbreaking about the format of Brown’s show. She stands on a stage in front of a studio audience and imparts the lessons of her book, using slides and movie clips to illustrate her points. There’s a lot of talk about “relatable learnings” and going on journeys together. There’s a lot of thanking each other for sharing ... [READ MORE]