Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown

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Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown.

Accepting Imperfection: It is a Gift.

Have you ever had that feeling that no matter how much you do or how hard you try, you are not enough? I know I have, and for more years than I should have! If you’ve felt that way too, this book is for you.

It’s an easy to read book that nevertheless provides amazing insights into accepting yourself and loving yourself and living wholeheartedly. I don’t believe this is a book you read just once. Already I’m starting to re-read it. There is so much information in it, and so much to absorb from it, that it may be more like a reference book to me. After all, the subject matter isn’t something that can be completed in the course of the book.

A Bestseller Still

It has been an Amazons #1 bestseller in the self help category, so I guess I’m not alone in my opinion. Between Amazon and Audible, the book has nearly 4,000 rating/reviews with an average over 4 out of 5 stars. For a non-fiction book, that is a large number. It’s also a book that has a message necessary over generations. Unfortunately, many of us today deal with the deeply ingrained feelings Dr. Brown discusses in this book. I would guess most of us have some, even if we aren”t aware of them.

The author, Brene Brown, spent more than a decade studying shame and guilt, fear, with the goal of helping people to live wholeheartedly. When she started writing her first book she realized it was a lot about her. She had to deal with her own issues of shame, guilt, unworthiness before she could finish.

The result brings the reality of our feelings front and center, since she’s lived through many of them herself. I think we all probably spend part of our lives trying to be what others want us to be or what we THINK should be to be acceptable. And you can see that would keep us from being authentic and living genuine lives.

When Do We Get to be Enough?

We get constant messages about how we should be. prettier, more handsome, taller, thinner, better, more. An important part of what the doctor teaches is the need to be aware, to be critical of what we hear, so that we can filter it.

When do we get to be enough? Her goal is to show you how now. We all want to belong. And we all want to feel we are worthy of belonging.

Her book breaks it down into guideposts. Each guidepost has cultivating in its title, such as ‘Cultivating Authenticity’, or ‘Cultivating a Resilient Spirit,’ then a subtitle which for the Authenticity chapter is, ‘Letting go of what people think.’ Those were the headings that got my attention… Letting go of numbness… perfection… comparison.. .the need for certainty… Many of the subtitles struck me as things I needed to hear.

One of the things she covers that I especially like is courage. Not only the difference between heroics and courage, but also how it takes courage to be vulnerable in the first place, to tell someone–someone you trust–of your shame, of your fears. When you have that courage, and take that step, it opens you up to be authentic and more compassionate to others as well. And it frees the person you are telling to be as courageous and vulnerable as you are.

Learn to Sort Those Feelings

Here are some of the things you will learn;

  • Courage, compassion, and connection; what she considers the gifts of imperfection.
  • The difference between shame and guilt.
  • How to cultivate awareness of shame so we can act deliberately.
  • That perfectionism often finds its roots in shame.
  • Anxiety is often a lack of courage.

There is so much in this book, I could keep listing thoughts I found key for another page or two. I agree with the author that we have to understand ourselves to know what causes our reactions, and thus be able to change. We want to live authentically. We want to live whole-heartedly. But it’s something that will take time and practice. This book is an excellent place to start.

Daring Greatly

Another popular book by Dr Brown. It does take courage to be vulnerable, to face our conditioning. If we can get there it can alter every aspect of our lives.


I Thought it Was Just Me

This one is about using our imperfections — yes, we are all imperfect — to be accepting and more compassionate. Our openness about our imperfections leads to acceptance and joy. The title itself is so encouraging, to make the journey… to “I am Enough.”


Listen to Author, Dr. Brene Brown

You can listen to the author herself on PBS or hear a short review of her book. Both are very good.

Dr. Brene Brown


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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1 Comment

  1. I am actually part of the way through this book as I write! There have been moments this year when this has spoken to me and so it sits constantly on my desk, ready to turn to when needed. I’m grateful that I haven’t felt the need very recently, but it’s sat there ready for when I do. It’s amazing how we don’t necessarily talk about these things to anyone but that there’s so many of us who feel it’s useful to purchase it to help us move forwards… Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

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