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Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control Paperback – June 1, 1993


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Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control + Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control + When Perfect Isn't Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449908003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449908006
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

For many of us, perfectionism can bring life's most desired rewards. But when the obsessive need for perfection and control gets in the way of our professional and emotional lives, the cost becomes too high. Although many of us appear cool and confident on the outside, inside we are in emotional turmoil, trying to satisfy everyone, attempting to direct the future, and feeling that we are failing.
In TOO PERFECT, Dr. Allan Mallinger draws on twenty years of research and observations from his private practice to show how perfectionism can sap energy, complicate even the simplest decisions, and take the enjoyment out of life. For workaholics or neat freaks, for anyone who fears change or making mistakes, needs rigid rules, is excessively frugal or obstinate, TOO PERFECT offers revealing self-tests, fascinating case histories, and practical strategies to help us overcome obsessiveness and reclaim our right to happiness.

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Customer Reviews

I found the book very interesting and easy to read.
beth dristas
I had trouble finding a good book about obsessive compulsive personality type (most were about obssessive compulsive disorder) until I found this one.
Laura Crandall
This is tricky because you can't just hand something to a typical perfectionist and say "you really need this"!
Late Shopper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By P. Moran on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I will always be grateful to have read this book, because it uncovered for me unconscious patterns in my life and ways I behaved that have been really holding me back. My copy is now completely marked up. I found myself underlining practically every other sentence. The book gave me great insight with how my internally programming is simply not working. The authors demonstrate great skill in demonstrating their skill in diagnosing / uncovering the many different "flavors" which obsessiveness can manifest itself in ones life.

Unfortunately, and to my great dismay, the authors give very, very few practical suggestions for what to actually do about it, now that you have identified yourself as suffering from obsessive tendancies. Most of the book is concerned with "does this sound like you?, does this sound like you?, does this sound like you?" and after say "YES, YES, YES!" to 200 pages of this kind of questioning, there are probably 5 pages total in the book for what you can actually _do_ about it. (Other than "see a therapist", and to my astonishment, the last sentence of the book suggests "sustained, hard work." Ok, but I thought the M.O. of obsessives was sustained, hard work, and the book whole purpose is to demonstrate how THAT DOESN'T WORK. We, newly self-diagnosed obsessives needs guidance on what DOES work, what are healthy ways to cope, what are healthier attitudes towards life, and how to we come to adopt these?

With those questions in mind, I came across this gem of a book, that has helped me immensely.
A Guide to Inclusive Therapy: 26 Methods of Respectful, Resistance-Dissolving Therapy

I hope this book might help some who are suffering with obsessive thinking, obsessive behavior, perfectionism, etc.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I ordered three books on perfectionism from Amazon. This was the best one. I'm ordering three more copies to give to friends and family. This book helped me identify destructive thought patterns and habits -- and stop them. The book gives a cohesive picture of the perfectionist person; explaining how diverse behaviors and beliefs are related and why the perfectionist originally developed them. If perfectionism is driving you crazy and ruining your life, this book can help.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin A. Cropp on September 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Normally I would not be writing a review for an item. I always thought it was because I was lazy, or that I didn't care. After reading this book, I have come to realize that it was in large part because subconsciously, I could not meet my own perfectionist expectations. There are a lot of low-risk undertakings in life that I have not attempted for the same reason.

This book, for me, has brought to my conscious awareness all of the subconscious obsessive thoughts that were creating immense frustration and anxiety in my life. Of course, I realize that changing perfectionistic thoughts is not a quick fix. It takes time and effort, in both cognitive and behavioral aspects.

Of all the books I've read on CBT, NLP, perfectionism and the like, this book has meant the most to me personally than any other book I have ever read.

If you have perfectionistic tendencies, in ANY area of your life, then I hope this book will bring you waves of insight and comfort, like it did me.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Laura Crandall on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had trouble finding a good book about obsessive compulsive personality type (most were about obssessive compulsive disorder) until I found this one. It was so fascinating that I flew through it in one night! I had many "ah-ha" moments while reading the book, and recognized certain traits in my spouse, my mother, and myself. I found the book to be well written, easy to read and understand, and amazingly informative. It had many positive things to say to balance the negative and included constructive suggestions for changing behavior patterns. I highly recommend reading this book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a reformed perfectionist who has achieved much happiness and success in my life because I read and applied this book. For me, the most revelatory moment came through the authors' explaination of the difference between striving for perfection and striving for excellence. I found that I could work towards excellence and yet give up much behavior that was painful to myself and others. Too Perfect is concise, easy to read, and has practical suggestions for each type of perfectionistic personality. I recommend it for anyone who is overwhelmed by being driven by the details of living--you may find that the cause is your internal perfectionist. And if not, I'll bet you know someone it fits--perfectly.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first, I was disappointed to discover that this book is not just about perfectionism but more generally about "obsessive personalities" (not to be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder). But as it turns out, I do indeed have many "obsessive" traits in addition to perfectionism. I found the chapter on "demand-resistance" especially illuminating--although I would've liked more guidance for how to get over it. Other chapters discuss difficulty making decisions and commitments, guardedness, worrying, rigidity, drivenness, and of course perfectionism.

I also recommend Richard Rohr's "Discovering the Enneagram," about a personality-typing scheme in which one of the nine types centers on "the need to be perfect." And if you're a perfectionist and a procrastinator about writing, I recommend Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life."
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