3 Sentence Summary
In “Atlas of the Heart,” Brené Brown looks at the relationship between our emotions and self-awareness. She identifies and examines over 80 different emotions and experiences, using research from herself and others. This book provides a guide to understanding your emotions and learning how to regulate them.
Summary Read Time: Less than 4 minutes
Actual Book Length: 301
First Published in: 2021
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the book:
Chapter 1 & 2
In the first chapter, entitled “Places We Go When Things Are Uncertain or Too Much,” the author defines and discusses the emotions of stress, overwhelm, anxiety, worry, avoidance, excitement, dread, fear, and vulnerability. She shares her own personal experiences with these emotions, including her time as a waitress where she developed coping skills that she still uses today.
In the second chapter, “Places We Go When We Compare,” the author delves into the emotions of comparison, admiration, reverence, envy, jealousy, resentment, schadenfreude, and freudenfreude. These emotions are all related to our relationships with others and can even be tied to the collective emotions of a social group.
Chapter 3 & 4
Chapter three is titled “Places We Go When Things Don’t Go as Planned.” In this chapter, the author discusses the emotions of boredom, disappointment, expectations, regret, discouragement, resignation, and frustration. She notes that, while these emotions may be considered negative, they are all necessary for survival.
In chapter four, “Places We Go When It’s Beyond Us,” the author explores the emotions of awe, wonder, confusion, curiosity, interest, and surprise. These emotions are connected to the process of learning and gaining knowledge.
Chapter 5 & 6
In the fifth chapter, entitled “Places We Go When Things Aren’t What They Seem,” the author discusses the emotions of amusement, bittersweetness, nostalgia, cognitive dissonance, paradox, irony, and sarcasm. These emotions all have a duality to them.
Chapter six, “Places We Go When We’re Hurting,” focuses on the emotions of anguish, hopelessness, despair, sadness, and grief. The use of vivid text features and photographs helps to lighten the emotional weight of this chapter.
Chapter 7 & 8
Chapter seven is titled “Places We Go With Others.” In this chapter, the author discusses the emotions of compassion, pity, empathy, sympathy, boundaries, and comparative suffering, all of which relate to the theme of making meaningful connections.
In “Places We Go When We Fall Short,” the author defines and examines the emotions of shame, self-compassion, perfectionism, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment. This chapter also touches on the societal impact of these emotions.
Chapter 9 & 10
Chapter nine is titled “Places We Go When We Search for Connection.” In this chapter, the author discusses the emotions of belonging, fitting in, connection, disconnection, insecurity, invisibility, and loneliness. She highlights the importance of an individual feeling a sense of belonging to a community.
Chapter ten is titled “Places We Go When the Heart Is Open.” In this chapter, the author explores the emotions of love, lovelessness, heartbreak, trust, self-trust, betrayal, defensiveness, flooding, and hurt. She provides strategies for using cognitive methods to cope with negative emotions.
Chapter 11 & 12
Chapter eleven, “Places We Go When Life Is Good,” discusses the emotions of joy, happiness, calm, contentment, gratitude, foreboding joy, relief, and tranquility. The author focuses on the benefits of gratitude in this chapter.
Chapter twelve, titled “Places We Go When We Feel Wronged,” explores the emotions of anger, self-righteousness, contempt, disgust, dehumanization, and hate. The author connects these emotions to the social divisions present in today’s society.
The final chapter titled “Places We Go to Self-Assess,” which discusses the emotions of pride, hubris, and humility. These emotions also relate to events occurring at the time of the book’s writing. The final section, presented as an afterword, provides concrete steps for cultivating meaningful connections and is illustrated with a comic demonstrating the dos and don’ts of a skill that the author believes is essential for well-being.