The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown (2010)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adults, especially exhausted ones!
The Gifts of ImperfectionBoy was I tempted to mistype this title! But it’s the lengthy subheading that says it all: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I am usually impatient with self-help books: Stop reading about it and go do it! But this one really caught my attention, after years of striving for perfection. Brown, a college professor and researcher into the obstacles that prevent a joyful life, has written a short tome (about 125 pages) intended to provide guideposts for getting us to self-acceptance. She draws a distinction between self-improvement (good) and self-criticism (bad), and offers some ways to get us thinking about how we can choose to shift our mindset. Forget what other people think, and you will be more satisfied, less stressed and cranky, and yes, more joyful. She calls it the Wholehearted life – more authentic, as it accepts the good with the bad, the fun and the sad. It’s more “real” than hiding our truths in order to present the perfect image for others to admire, when in fact what they are admiring is false. All it does is lead you to spend a lot of time trying to bolster the false front. The lessons are best when delivered with stories from others, as Brown uses her own life and family too much for my taste (poor Ellen and Charlie – they’ll be burning these books in their teen years!). But the book got me thinking, and trying to make some changes. (Yup, I can see the irony too!)
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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