From the Inside Flap
"You're such a perfectionist."
Are you supposed to feel insulted or flattered when you hear this comment? Is someone saying that you are detail oriented, organized, and driven to excel? Or that you are controlling, rigid, and self-defeating? Is your perfectionism a good thing, or does it get in your way?
In The Perfectionist's Handbook, Jeff Szymanski helps readers navigate their way out of the "perfectionism paradox": If your intentions are good (wanting to excel) and the outcomes you want are reasonable (to feel competent and satisfied), why would your perfectionism backfire and result in unhappiness, stress, and unwanted results? Many people consider their perfectionism to be one of their most valuable attributes and critical to success in achieving one's life goals. Advice aimed at trying to stop you from being a perfectionist doesn't ring true.
Jeff Szymanski, a clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), helps readers understand when their perfectionism will pay off, and when and why it sabotages you. Specific strategies are outlined throughout the book to help readers identify the difference between their "healthy" and "unhealthy" perfectionism. There is no reason to eliminate perfectionism altogether—rather, build on what is working and change what is not. In addition, The Perfectionist's Handbook helps readers to:
Distinguish between intention and strategy as a way of improving outcomes
Identify diminishing returns and ways to redistribute time and resources
Make the most of mistakes rather than being preoccupied with trying to avoid them
Learn to focus on your "Top 10" list as a way of getting the most out of your life
Interact with others more effectively as a way of improving performance
Establish more balance in your life
Transform your perfectionism from a liability to an asset. Let your instincts lead you to achieve your goals—but also learn to enjoy your journey and its rewards.
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Perfectionist's Handbook
"Dr. Szymanski offers the reader both research-supported and user-friendly techniques that can enhance productivity without compromising the pursuit of excellence. The Perfectionist's Handbook is an obvious example of how the author practices what he preaches."
—PHILIP G. LEVENDUSKY, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School; Director of the Psychology Department and Psychology Training and Senior Vice President for Business Development and Marketing, McLean Hospital
"The Perfectionist's Handbook is the perfect book for those who struggle with perfectionism. Dr. Szymanski begins by clearly outlining the features of perfectionism then describes the various ways to manage tendencies that get in the way of a perfectionist's life. After reading this book, readers will have new ways of managing their perfectionism in order to get tasks completed."
—MICHAEL A. JENIKE, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Medical Director, OCD Institute, McLean Hospital
"This handbook weaves a self-described perfectionist's personal story with insights from clinical experience. It is the 'perfect' formula for education and action."
—PAUL HAMMERNESS, MD, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; author of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life
"Jeff Szymanski helps readers determine when 'good' is good enough. Whatever your area of effort, you will be more creative and productive by learning the art of Adaptive Perfectionism!"
—SHELLEY CARSON, PhD, Department of Psychology, Harvard University;author of Your Creative Brain