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The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning Paperback – December 1, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The aim of this book is to explain the underlying spiritual--although not necessarily religious--principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Part 1 presents the emphasis of this spirituality, which is the recognition and especially the acceptance of humans as imperfect beings. Part 2 tells how the founders of AA put spirituality to use. Part 3 discusses the benefits: release, gratitude, humility, tolerance, and forgiveness. On nearly every page, the authors retell stories and provide anecdotes from various sources: ancient Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Greek, and more. One need not have an interest in AA to benefit from this fine introduction to spirituality. This is recommended.
- John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An  inspiring guide, offering comfort...to those who  want to stop striving for perfection and start  living."--Publishers Weekly  

"A brilliant anthology of  wisdom stories from all the great traditions centered  around a most compelling and discerning  issue."--M. Scott Peck
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553371320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553371321
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is to spirituality as riding a rollercoaster is to physics. It is not a read; it is an experience. Kurtz and Ketcham have managed to tell their own story in such a way that the reader is invited to share in that experience.
Finding this spirituality of imperfection in Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve-step program, K&K have scoured spiritual writings throughout history to find the words to describe their experience. Boldface quotes and stories color almost every page.
K&K find the essence of the spiritual in human imperfections and failure, in the inevitability of pain. Spirituality is not the evasion of consequences or errors, but rather learning how to live with them. They call trying to be perfect the most tragic human mistake. They are clear, spirituality is found in asking the right questions, not in finding the right answers.
Perhaps every reader of this book will not be able to hear it's music. Perhaps only those who have been wounded by life, need it. Perhaps only those who have drunk deeply of failure will find nourishment here. All I know is that I did, and to Kurtz and Ketcham I will always be grateful.
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from the author of DREAMING YOUR REAL SELF: A PERSONAL APPROACH TO DREAM INTERPRETATION; and DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DREAMS, DAYDREAMS, AND FANTASIES.
I read THE SPIRITUALITY OF IMPERFECTION at the end of 1993, at the suggestion of a friend. I had hesitated to read it because it was "a recovery book" and I expected that designation to limit its benefits. What I found, however, were stories that confirmed that to grow we must be willing to fail and make mistakes. This is what it means to be human. With this book's encouragement, hope, and humor, I embarked on my speaking and writing career, willing to blunder and to learn from others. Since then, I have recommended and bought this book as a gift many times. I list this title in my handouts for nearly all of my self-help classes and in the bibliographies of the books I write.
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Format: Paperback
This book was suggested while I was in an alcohol rehabilitation center when other more traditionally Christian literature didn't seem to fit my needs. This wonderful volume includes and incorporates the spirituality proposed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous with the spirituality propounded at least in part in all of the major religions. It presents a fairly coherent arguement that Bill W. was no less a prophet than those more widely accepted who came before. The universality of the fundamental truths described through hundreds of anecdotes and quotes from a host of sources has legitimized and given voice to 'what seems like' my own concept of spirituality. The volume is easily read cover to cover, or piecemeal as a vehicle for contemplation and meditation. I highly recommend this for those struggling with conflicted experiences in organized religion or church, or who feel the futility and emptiness of atheism. It could also be of interest to those with obsessive compulsive character traits or perfectionistic tendencies. My concept of God or a Higher Power is the bedrock of my recovery program and this book has given me great comfort and insight.
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Format: Paperback
I have been sober for quite a few 24 hours, and during that time, I have read many spiritual books. I have learned from all of the books I have read; however my two all time favorites are The Spirituality of Imperfection and An Encounter With A Prophet.
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Format: Paperback
This book successfully relates the spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous,
and its Twelve Step program, to the other major spiritual traditions of
the world. It is related in such a way that the non member of these programs
can appreciate the depth and importance of this movement for everyone.
Alcoholics Anonymous has been praised by Aldous Huxley, Scott Peck
and many other religious thinkers as possibly America's own contribution to
the history of western spirituality. Kurtz and Ketcham do a fine job showing the
uniqueness of AA's modern insights as well as their kinship to forms of spirituality
which pervade the wisdom of many traditions from the early Christian Desert Fathers to
the wizened Rebbes of the mystical Hassidim. The Spirituality of Imperfection tells this story with
the colorful stories and parables of these various traditions. Some of the tales are wise,
some funny and all have the quality of capturing our humaness in a form that is entertaining as well
as instructive.
These stories comprise a minor theme of our spiritual heritage, which celebrates our humaness
and limitation as a source of wisdom, rather than "totalitarian" forms of spirituality which subjugate
human experience to an obsession with abstract and antiseptic perfectionism.
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Format: Paperback
This book was great and has something to offer all of us. It presents a very humanistic approach to spirituality. Although throughout the book "The spirituality of impefection" is closely tied in with the spiritual teachings of Alcoholics anomymous, you *TRULY* need not be an alcoholic to apply and learn from the many lessons it presents.

If, however, there are alcoholics in your family, you will benefit greatly from reading this as well since this book sheds light on the reasons why some people are never able to overcome their addictions- namely that when people equate sobriety with perfection they understandably see it as an overwhelming and unattainable goal.

One of the most important things about this books is that it brings home the fundamental message that in order to grow spiritually, people must first be able to understand and accept their own nature as imperfect beings.

This book covers so much ground and offers to teach so much about spirituality without ever being dogmatic. It is unifying as it reaches out to people of all religions, an accomplishemnt in and of itself. A must read. I know I'll be reading my copy for years to come.
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