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The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life Hardcover – April 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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  • The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The author’s extensive research and academic credentials don’t keep his humanity from taking center stage throughout this touching lesson on living authentically. . . . Eric Conger’s sublime voice is a joy to hear.”
      ―AudioFile [Earphones Award]
--This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.

About the Author

Tal Ben- Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of Happier. He taught the most popular course at Harvard University and currently teaches at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel. He consults and lectures around the world to multinational organizations, the general public, and at-risk populations. He obtained his Ph.D. in organizational behavior and his B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Harvard. For more information visit www.talbenshahar.com.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071608826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071608824
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In the poem "Richard Cory" written by Edward Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) and first published in 1897, the first two stanzas identify Cory as "a gentleman from sole to crown, /clean favored and imperially slim" who "fluttered pulses when he said, /`Good morning,' and glittered when he walked." Then in the two remaining stanzas, Robinson adds

"And he was rich--yes, richer than a king--
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

"So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head."

In The Pursuit of Perfect, Tal Ben-Shahar explains that many people (as well as fictional characters) fail to lead a full and fulfilling life because they do not allow themselves "to experience the full range of human emotions" and thus limit their capacity for happiness. They need to give themselves the permission to be human...to ground [their] dreams in reality and appreciate [their] accomplishments." Throughout this book, Ben-Shahar refers to negative perfectionism simply as perfectionism and to positive perfection ism as optimalism. "The key difference between the Perfectionist an the Optimalist is that the former essentially rejects reality while the latter accepts it...as a natural part of life and as an experience that is inextricably linked to success.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the title of the book could be misleading for some people, as many wouldn't label themselves as perfectionists , Tal Ben Shahar proves in his theory that we all have struggles in perfectionism in one field of life or another which is very true to me. I prefer to call this book: The book of change, in which the author takes us into a journey of self reflections, self insights & subsequently a chance for a meaningful change only through the HARD WORK of sincere implementations of the exercises.
His unique writing style mingles philosophy & the best of academic research in cognitive psychology all together in a persuasive presentation. The exercises are persuasive enough because they all stand on the solid ground of empirical evidence.
What took me in awe were the closing 10 meditations, or better to call them the 10 wisdoms .
In conclusion, a unique work indeed, bringing a deeper and more mature level, for a more happier life.
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Format: Hardcover
From: [...]
Author & Book Views On A Healthy Life!

The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life (McGraw Hill/ Apr 2009) by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.

Author Tal Ben-Shahar is known for his Positive Psychology and upbeat lectures surrounding happiness. A Harvard graduate, he is also a champion squash competitor, winning both the U.S. Intercollegiate and Israeli National competitions. Ben-Shahar is also known for his bestselling book Happier. He began his search for the happiness while thinking about the subject, as a successful but unhappy athlete, and also as a successful but unhappy professional, leading him into the research of Positive Psychology.

Traveling abroad, giving international lectures has allowed the author to meet diverse groups of people, all in search of happiness. A common barrier coexisting in them all is "the aspiration to a life that is not just happier but perfect." The Pursuit of Perfect Ben-Shahar writes is about what perfectionism is and "about how to overcome this obstacle to a happier life."

Positive Psychology differentiates between positive (optimal) and negative perfectionism. Ben-Shahar points out that the perfectionist rejects failure, painful emotions, success, and reality. He limits himself with worry of failure, producing anxiety and procrastination. The optimalist however, accepts failure, painful emotions, success, and reality; he lives the full scope of the human experience. Though the optimalist may fail, he accepts the reality of the situation and moves forward.
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Format: Hardcover
I was expecting this book to be a rather bland take on a typical self-help theme, something along the lines of being providing excuses for those who are willing to put in the necessary hard work needed for excellence.

Wow. That was incorrect. Ben-Shahar starts by debunking the perfection as a goal (and perfectionism as a attitude), replacing it with the concept of "optimalism", optimizing outcomes against the constraints of reality. He does this fully and from many angles. And thus finding happiness outside of perfection

And then he takes the concept further linking it to deeper philosophical, emotional, and psychological concepts.

I had thought that the notion of abandoning the drive for perfection would be contradictory to my overall approach to life. Instead, I learned that the converse is true. And that has made this the most eye-opening book I've read in years.
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