Perfectionism is endemic to modern Western culture, and exacts a hefty psychological price. People are increasingly dissatisfied with their performance, hypercritical of their peers, and undone by the slightest hint of failure. Somov argues that by applying some Buddhist-minded psychological tactics, people can let go of their pathological perfectionism and improve their lives, jobs, and relationships. While some of his advice is superb and crucial for people who are too hard on themselves and others, much of it has extremely limited practical applications; oddly, Somov's advice seems to exist outside effective participation in modern society. While some of what he says - be mindful of tasks, focus on one thing at a time - is sound, readers may finally ask, "But how can I successfully do this and perform well in my career or life?" This is not the question that a self-help book wants its readers to have to ask. Better integrating the advice would have been a vast improvement; as it stands, Present Perfect feels more useful as a guide to the idealized reality that Somov counsels his readers against.
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“This brilliant and practical new book is designed to help alleviate the excess stress and dissatisfaction of perfectionism, one of the main practices of the extremely popular, if unheralded, religion I lovingly call Control Freakism. Pavel Somov gives us numerous helpful awareness exercises, conscious inquiries, insights, mindfulness practices, original perspectives, and penetrating ideas, all conducive to helping us free ourselves from this tyrannical inner demon and experience the radiant reality of things just as they are. Acceptance has its own transformative magic, and I heartily recommend this work to all who want to transform, awaken, and edify.”
— Lama Surya Das, founder of Dzogchen Meditation Centers and author of Awakening the Buddha Within
“Rarely does a work of art like Present Perfect fall upon one’s desk. This book allows us to transform existential pain caused by our need to be perfect. This book is abundant with tools and ideas that equip the reader to resolve guilt, shame, and perfectionism. Once you accept and surrender your perfectionism, the magical paradox of mindfulness as a healer will unfold.”
— Ronald A. Alexander, Ph.D., executive director of the Open Mind Training Institute and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind
“Even those of us with a lot of self-help reading under our belts will experience many a-ha moments while immersed in Present Perfect. Somov’s approach is highly logical, creative, resourceful, and compassionate. Never once will you feel judged; instead, you’ll feel understood. I highly recommend this valuable resource to therapists and anyone with perfectionist tendencies.”
— Dina Cheney, author of Tasting Cluband Williams-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Salads
“Present Perfect takes a wholly fresh look at an age-old problem by applying a generous dose of the healing salve of mindfulness. Filled with fascinating references and down-to-earth examples, this book skillfully guides the reader through exercises and strategies that can transform the paralyzing and demoralizing pattern of perfectionism. Present Perfect is the perfect way to liberate yourself from the guilt, shame, and blame of perfectionism and rediscover the freedom of living in the ‘what is.’”
— Donald Altman, psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, and author of The Mindfulness Code
“Pavel Somov offers an intelligent, witty, and compassionate critique of perfectionism and makes a compelling case that life is already perfect. I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable and personally and professionally useful from the first page. I feel as comfortable recommending this book to my colleagues as I do to my patients and am confident that both will find it of tremendous value in their lives. Since perfectionism is often the other side of compulsive and addictive behavior, this book will be relevant to all who seek more moderation and balance in their lives.”
— Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in treating addictive behavior and author of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy
“In this book, Somov not only provides a plethora of highly accessible and instantly applicable ways to connect with mindful awareness, but also provides lucid and rational ways to dethrone the inner tyrant of perfectionism and fully live in the completeness of each moment.”
— Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of Mindful Motherhood
“Licensed psychologist Somov has found that clients can make progress in the areas of tolerating uncertainty, refraining from harsh self-judgment, and reducing anxious feelings by doing mindfulness exercises. Essentially, the more they accept the moment, thhe more they can accept themselves.
Verdict: Present Perfect, one of the most helpful in the OCPD self-help arena.”
— Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ