Book Review: The Courage Map by Franziska Iseli

Book Review: The Courage Map by Franziska Iseli
The Courage Map: 13 Principles for Living Boldly
Genre: Personal Development

Paperback | 145 pp. | TCK Publishing | | 1st Edition
Buy on Amazon
4.0 rating

The Courage Map is the latest book by serial entrepreneur Franziska Iseli. It is a self-development book focused on improving Courage as a Skill across your entire life. Based on a massive quantity of personal anecdotes and experiences, the book builds on a methodology that the author labels 13 principles to live boldly, which can be organised on an actual Map (a tool made available for free on her website). With a foreword by Sir Richard Branson, the book has just been released by TCK Publishing.

Franziska Iseli sees Courage as a trait that has distinguished a big part of her life. She considers this connected to entrepreneurship as she has set up several successful businesses. But also to another part of her life. A tale that comes back across the book is her personal experience to ride a motorbike along the Silk Road from Switzerland to Asia. She doesn’t see Courage as an innate trait though, but rather as a competence that can be learnt and trained, and the goal of the book is to focus on this.

Courage is not about being fearless; it’s about making brave decisions despite fear.

Franziska Iseli, The Courage Map, page 12

he also clearly distinguishes Courage from recklessness, or from continually trying to prove yourself to others. And speaks a lot about fear as a way to help frame and define what Courage means for an individual.

To understand courage, we need to understand fear.

Franziska Iseli, The Courage Map, page 16

From her point of view, there are four main attributes that courageous people have:

  1. They stay true to themselves.
  2. They can take more risks.
  3. They face difficulties head-on.
  4. They lead by example.

These are all valid attributes for Leaders, but also in general for people that feel successful in their lives. Interestingly, one of the assumptions that the author makes is that Courage is also about questioning the status quo, the existing rules, that things that don’t make sense to you. As such, the book fits perfectly in the quest for rebels that I have been exploring.

As mentioned, the book is not the outcome of desk research on the topic, but rather the result of the direct experience of the author. Franziska writes almost in an informal way, making brisk and quick examples for most of the elements she suggests. She dedicates a short chapter for each of the factors identified, which she considers the “compass” for the journey. In each chapter, she keeps the metaphor of the travel and builds on some Travel Tunes, a set of positive beliefs that should help transform each principle into a habit. Pit Stops are instead exercises, challenges or activities that should help put the principle in practice. Finally, each chapter contains several questions to ponder, and that should help frame your personal Travel Journal.

The Thirteen Principles

The 13 principles outlined are the following:

  1. Stories
  2. Truth
  3. Intentions
  4. Trust
  5. Intuition
  6. Love
  7. Kindness
  8. Imperfection
  9. Non-Attachment
  10. Flow
  11. Playfulness
  12. Evolution
  13. Commitment

As you read them, you will find many evocations of the popular self-development literature available. The originality of the contribution of Iseli’s book lies in the approach she builds entirely derived from personal experience. Plus, although not intentionally advertised, there is a decisively feminine touch in her experience, that helps create a solid point of view in many of the principles mentioned.

I believe the most interesting one is the first. Building your own Stories is explained as an essential element for building Courage, that is consistently expressed by the author across the book, as she keeps mentioning stories from her personal life.

The stories you tell yourself and others create a lens through which you see the world, and this perspective will determine whether you act out of fear or courage.

Franziska Iseli, The Courage Map, page 22

Stories are a way for self-reflection and become a powerful way to influence your personal development in terms of skills development and fear facing.


The Courage Map is a fast read, written in a simple and colloquial English, that draws easy to implement principles out of the experience of a successful entrepreneur in dealing with what she establishes as a critical skill for success: Courage.

I’m always careful with self-development books that claim to deliver fast recipes for success. The author, however, doesn’t hide the difficulties and complexities that are behind some principles. Her point of view seems honest from the start, and she points out frequently at the journey necessary to improve on each of the 13 aspects identified. Borrowing techniques from behavioural intervention, meditation and mindfulness, she can create a compelling narrative around building a more substantial impact less influenced by fear. This book situates itself in the groove of similar readings like Born to Shine by Ashley LeMieuxUntamed by Glennon DoyleDaring Greatly by Brene Brown. Thus it will appeal particularly on readers who have appreciated those successful works.

Did you read The Courage Map? How did you like it?

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Disclaimer: I have received a preview copy of this book directly from the publisher. Although this did not influence the way I have reviewed this text, I feel obliged to disclose this information. There has not been any other form of compensation for this review. Read how you can suggest your book here.

The Courage Map: 13 Principles for Living Boldly
Genre: Personal Development | Rating: 4/5
By Franziska Iseli
Paperback | 145 pp. | TCK Publishing | 10/05/2020 | 1st Edition
ISBN: 9781631610813
Buy on Amazon

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