During this book, Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey try to reframe the concept of trauma. In What happened to you? you’ll read the tons of conversations Perry had with Oprah where they get to speak about it and because of his background in the field of trauma related to children he explains the concept in a simple but interesting way.  Questions that need to be asked and that we all want to know. Throughout the book it becomes clear that human beings are the product of their personal history. The collections of things that happened to us influences the person that we become. Perry suggests a shift in our thinking from what’s wrong with that person to what happened to him or her? The book completely changed my perspective on what trauma is, how it functions and how it shows up in our lives. In the book review I will share more of my thoughts. However trauma can be a sensitive, heavy topic to read and speak about, I believe everyone should read this one.

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Publication Date

Flatiron Group




What Happened To You in numbers:


5.85 x 1.2 x 8.55 inches



People involved:

Oprah Winfrey


Dr. Perry


Awards What Happened To You has received:

We do not have information about any awards that “What Happened to You?” might have received after September 2021. It is conceivable that the book has garnered awards or acknowledgments since then. We suggest consulting recent sources like websites dedicated to book awards, news reports, or the official online platforms of Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce D. Perry to obtain the most up-to-date and accurate details regarding any potential awards the book has earned.

About the authors:

Oprah Winfrey, born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, is a media mogul, talk show host, actress, and philanthropist. She rose to prominence as the host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which became one of the most successful and influential talk shows in television history. Her ability to connect with audiences and tackle a wide range of topics made her a household name.

Beyond her television career, Oprah is also a successful businesswoman. She founded Harpo Productions, a multimedia production company, and developed a significant presence in the publishing industry with O, The Oprah Magazine. Additionally, Oprah has been recognized for her philanthropic efforts, particularly in education and child welfare.


Dr. Bruce D. Perry, born in 1955, is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist known for his expertise in child trauma and brain development. He has dedicated his career to understanding the effects of trauma on the developing brain and finding ways to promote healing and resilience in children who have experienced adversity.

Dr. Perry co-authored the book “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog,” which offers insights into the impact of trauma on children’s mental and emotional well-being. He has worked with organizations and institutions to develop trauma-informed approaches to caregiving and education. His collaboration with Oprah Winfrey on the book “What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” aimed to shed light on the importance of understanding and addressing trauma for personal growth and healing.

In 2021, Lisanne recommended “What Happened to You” by Oprah and Dr. Perry and said…

“I’ll admit that I didn’t know a lot about trauma and how it shows up in our lives. Until very recently I had the idea that trauma had to be a big, gigantic thing experienced. I considered it as a heavy topic related to experiences like rape, racism, or abuse. After reading the book I realized I missed out on a lot.”

I highly recommend listening to the audiobook instead of reading the book.

I highly recommend listening to the audiobook instead of reading the book. As the book is basically one conversation between Oprah and Dr. Perry, the audio definitely adds something to the experience. I’m a big fan of reading personal stories but I probably like it even more how they have intertwined the science into it, making it a fun and informative read – guiding you through it. I also like the attempt to make mental health more accessible to the public – removing barriers to talking about it. This is one of those books that is not necessarily a piece of literature, yet it belongs to everyone’s bookshelf. While it may not achieve absolute perfection, I find it deserving of a solid four out of five stars, a testament to its contribution to humanity.


A wonderful read with important message to the world

A wonderful read with an important message to the world. I was always aware that our childhood and early beginnings shape us and make us into the people we become. Yet, little did I know how certain wounds can translate into behavior that can barely be recognized as some form of trauma. The examples given by Dr. Perry about the “dysfunctioning” kind in the classroom due to a simple trigger like a deodorant is truly mindblowing.


A powerful reminder to step back and resist the temptation to pass quick, hasty judgments

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. I normally don’t gravitate towards books in the self-help genre, but this piece is one of a kind. I liked their approach to promoting empathy. They insightfully highlighted the existence of emotional wounds in people, no matter who we are. It’s a powerful reminder to step back and resist the temptation to pass quick, hasty judgments based on mere fragments of behavior alone. Instead, they encourage a holistic view, urging readers to look beyond the surface. There is also a profound message of hope that resonates, at least with me, to foster and nurture our relationships. The book serves as a exquisite blend of scientific research and practical wisdom, offered in a conversational and accessible manner. The easily understandable insights make it a valuable guide for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of human nature. Highly recommended!

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