Of Note: Catalyst for Connection
Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown
Random House Books, November 30, 2021
More than seven thousand workshop participants over five years used only "happy," "sad," and "angry" to describe their daily emotional experiences, while Brené Brown and her team have identified one hundred and fifty key human emotions. Exploring eighty-seven of the key emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human, Brown's new book, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience, holds riches for everyone in our school communities: parents/guardians, students, and faculty/staff. A social scientist, Brown grounds her writing in her research findings and fills many of her books with a combination of research and storytelling. Replete with photographs, comics, and pull quotes, Atlas follows something of a new model, presenting more like a textbook, art book, or travel book. You could use Atlas as a required, core text for a seminar class or advisory program. You could read it as a faculty or design a parent series around it. Brown's project is to help all of us have a richer, wider language to talk about our experiences and lives – and ultimately to help us connect more meaningfully with ourselves, the world, and one another. Using mapping as a metaphor, Brown believes that "a sense of place is central to meaning-making," and all of the "places we go" in this book – from anxiety, to reverence, to despair, to self-trust – are within us, our language for them a catalyst for connection.