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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking,"What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?" In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at …

Overall Book Review:

Integrally fascinating and conjointly arranged, researcher Brene Brown formulates an adept guide to help those on the path of “wholehearted” living in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Just as the title is a mouthful, the book is full of incredibly fruitful advice to help lay the groundwork for self-study and ultimately self-improvement.

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night and thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Less perky and more on the sardonic side, Brown approaches this tool book with honesty and authenticity rarely accompanied within a research novel. So, don’t let the terms “research” fool you; there are no figures, statistics, or analytic tables. Rather than quantitative research, you’ll be immersed in qualitative research.

Qualitative research is about finding patterns and themes that help you better understand the phenomenon you’re studying”

The phenomenon and tools of wholehearted living are broken down into chapters Brown calls “guideposts” – “daily practices to help us on our journey”. These 10 guideposts are to the point, at times philosophical, but always operative friendly.

Because we’re human and so beautifully imperfect, we get to practice using tools on a daily basis. In this way courage, compassion, and connection become gifts – the gifts of imperfection.”

Why is this a worthwhile book worthy of your time and attentions? Why is Brené Brown’s approach and perspective illuminating? I think the author explains it best with she shares –

I am not the first to talk about these subjects, and I’m certainly not the smartest researcher or the most talented writer. I am, however, the first to explain how these topics work individually and together to cultivate Wholehearted living. And, maybe more important, I am certainly the first person to come at these topics from the perspective of someone who has spent years studying shame and fear.”

Coming at this work with a full understanding of how shame tapes and gremlins keep us feeling afraid and small allows me to do more than present great ideas; this perspective helps me share real strategies for changing our lives.”

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  9 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 9 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms. Note: The word “Egads” is used 2 times, this is not tallied.

Violence/Gore:  Joke about child running with scissors; thought of kicking someone; mention of the word “gangs”; homeland security threat levels; report of shame being related to violence, aggression, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and bullying; report of sexual abuse among children; brief mention of genocide and trauma.

Sex/Nudity:  Brief mention of infidelity/cheating within a relationship; hand holding (2x); remark of seeing movie “Sex and the City”; the word “ballsy” is used; report on the perceived roles of masculinity and femininity; report of sexual abuse among children; mention of teen pregnancy; remark on pornography addiction; mention of sexuality; remark on sex and affairs; mention of pornography; remark on nudity (2x) in non-sexual context.

Mature Subject Matter:

Addiction/substance abuse/eating disorders, depression/mental health, sexual relationship(s),

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Several mentions/and/or references (more than 10) of smoking, drinking, alcoholism/other addictions, drugs; extended scene (about 2 pages) remarks about addiction and sobriety; mention of working as a bartender.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.