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'Gutsy Girl' aims to inspire daring attitudes in young girls




The cover art for Caroline Paul's 'The Gutsy Girl.'
The cover art for Caroline Paul's 'The Gutsy Girl.'

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Author Caroline Paul wasn't always daring, but she eventually grew to be gutsy.

Her new book, "The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure," shares her personal thrills, and hopes to inspire new ones for today's girls.

Paul joined host Alex Cohen.

Caroline Paul and "Gutsy Girl" illustrator Wendy McNaughto will be at Vroman's in Pasadena at 7 p.m. Monday. Click here for more information. 

Interview Highlights

How Caroline Paul wasn't actually born with nerves of steel:

"I'm actually an identical twin, and so my sister was super outgoing as a kid. And in all our family pictures, we could tell us apart because she was the one with her arms flailing and her mouth open, and I was the one wide-eyed, like a marmot. And so I was a really shy kid, and I was scared of lots of things, you know, like big kids and being called on in school and anything under the bed after dark."

How she overcame her fears:

"The first was one that I did not give credit to, of course, because it was my mom, and we don't really notice what our parents do for us when we're kids. But very recently — in fact when I was writing an op-ed for The New York Times about the subject of girls and bravery, she said, 'You know, I was raised by a really fearful mom, and she didn't let us do anything. And when I was 21, I went on a ski trip, and it was revelatory how fun it was to be outside with friends.' And she told me, 'I wanted you kids to have that kind of life.' So what I realized was my mom encouraged both me, my twin sister and my younger brother to do a lot of things, to try a lot of things."    

How she tames her fears:

"I think fear is a normal reaction to a lot of situations, like being 70 stories up on the Golden Gate Bridge." (Which she actually did, and warns that it is, in fact, illegal.) "It's like climbing a skyscraper and being at the 70th story. So, fear is important because it's obviously a good tool. And I'm not against fear, I'm pro-bravery, and that's what I really try to say throughout the book. So fear is just one of the emotions that we need in our tool box, but it shouldn't be the overwhelming one. And I really see that women and girls use it as the overwhelming one and as an excuse not to do things. And that's such a shame because there's so much to learn by getting outside your comfort zone. And so, I talk about this a lot, how in a situation where you're uncomfortable because you're outside your comfort zone, and you will feel a little fear, it's really important to put that fear in its proper place."

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.