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Being Perfect Hardcover – April 26, 2005
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From School Library Journal
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From the Inside Flap
In Being Perfect, she shares wisdom that, perhaps without knowing it, you have longed to hear: about "the perfection trap," the price you pay when you become ensnared in it, and the key to setting yourself free. Quindlen believes that when your success looks good to the world but doesn't feel good in your heart, it isn't success at all.
She asks you to set aside your friends' advice, what your family and co-workers demand, and what society expects, and look at the choices you make every day. When you ask yourself why you are making them, Quindlen encourages you to give this answer: For me. "Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am. . . . That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart."
At the core of this beautiful book lies the secret of authentic success, the inspiration to embrace your own uniqueness and live the life that is undeniably your own, rich in fulfillment and meaning.
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Top Customer Reviews
Quindlen has done it again with BEING PERFECT. This little 64 page book extolls the wisdom of avoiding perfectionism, or the perfection trap. She furthers her argument of the dangers of the perfection trap by describing the consequences and the toll it can take on life. She provides answers to the trap, answers that most likely will assuage those habitual perfectionists, as well as the novice. Satisfying oneself is a goal worthy of effort, yet difficult at times to quantify and compose as many perfectionists don't look at finite goals. Consequently, perfectionism can be a slippery slope.
Quindlen moves ahead of the pack by asking the reader to consider what makes YOU happy, not your friends or family, YOU. This is an underlying message in the book...set goals and objectives in life that create happiness for you. We all have a tendency, at times, do what it takes to make those around us pleased or happy. The problem is simply this: these acts are not necessarily what makes us happy and thus, we are not living our own life.
Quite honestly, Quindlen has created an essay designed for introspection and enrichment, one that is quite thought-provoking. This is a book that can be read and re-read, and quite quickly. Her message, though short, is quite potent. Recommended.
Last fall, I wrote Anna Quindlen an email thanking her for her wisdom that balances "head and heart" so well, and telling her about her essay coming with me. She emailed me back saying I had "made her day" and telling me that "her sisters look over her shoulder" as she writes...
I was delighted to see what she had done with this excellent gem of writing. This little book is not meant to be a self-help tome, but a reminder that we need to re-check our motives frequently and assess what we are really doing in relation to the people and cultural pressures around us. The photos are, in my opinion, perfectly eloquent expressions of moments when perfection and conformity come into being in our lives--in all their beauty and joy, but all to often, with too much shallowness and mimicry.
A picture is worth 1000 words, right? This book is complete; to elaborate more would have muddied its message.
Still, I enjoyed the presentation. Anna's writing style speaks to me very eloquently. Her message was poignant and I'm sure would tear right at some heart strings for those individuals(particulary women) who have spent a better part of their lifetime trying to be the perfect 'parent' or 'spouse' or simply live up to society's impossible ideals. But for me, it was simply an interesting read that left me without any lingering thoughts.
While the black & white photographs were endearing, I couldn't quite see the full relevancy other than that they were from the era when Anna was a teenager perhaps. However, those photos seemed to occupy atleast 1/3 of the printed pages (which were few to begin with).
I would strongly recommend that you borrow this book from the library before investing $12.95 and having it sit idly on your shelf. I don't think its a book to be read and re-read, but perhaps a book that you would happily offer to a friend to take home and read and pass along to another friend.
The basic concept of the essay is that a young person can get so caught up in meeting others' expectations . . . and doing so perfectly . . . so that there's no room left for the young person to be her- or himself. Instead, you become a perfect imitation of the current manias. Ms. Quindlen wisely warns that " . . . nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations."
She warns that it's hard work being yourself. There's no model for you to follow. You have to face yourself and make the most of your imperfections.
Ms. Quindlen also warns against the concept of "effortless perfection" that young people seek to portray. It's an oxymoron. Perfection is a great task and the goals are constantly being shifted for you. In addition, it's the imperfections that draw the eye and make the hand-made rug more appealing than the machine-made "perfect" one.
To be human is to be imperfect. Revel in it!
To me, the photographs were the best part of the book, and they would have reproduced much better if they had been on larger pages. I graded the book down one star for failing to do justice to the photographs.
The book opens with a photograph of a young woman carrying an enormous briefcase on her back. It's a metaphor for the weight of carrying the need to be perfect in the world's eyes. The next photograph has six women in bathing suits at the beach. One is standing on her head while five similar-looking women pose in high heels with their arms around each other sitting on a rail. In the next image, two identically dressed females compare their shoes.
There's a lot of humor in the images.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a nice little essay to read but I was disappointed that it was priced like a full-sized book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cass
Growing up female, whether unwritten or unspoken, is the magnetic pull on some girls and women to strive for perfection. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kate London
This is an amazing book, I have purchased several copies. This seller was awesome.Published 3 months ago by Toni A. Maraj
Beautiful, nostalgic pictures and message. Happy to add this one to my Anna Quindlen collection.Published 5 months ago by Lourdes
Not worth the price! I downloaded this on my Kindle and read it in about ten minutes. I kept thinking maybe I was just reading the sample, but no, the book is just extremely... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jennifer B.
I really can't remember why I bought this book from Amazon, but it did appear in the mail and I did order it! Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rick Yvanovich
I want my money back! I'm furious. What a rip off. I paid about $11 on my iPad for this "book" to read on a long airplane flight. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rachel Maples
Anna Quindlen is one of my very favorite authors; I have a habit of reading "by authors" and have never been disappointed in Quindlen.Published 17 months ago by Peggy L. Mcintyre