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Showing 1-10 of 3,081 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,404 reviews
on June 24, 2015
Let me begin by stating where I was coming from, when I picked this book up. I've spent 11 years in the Army and done quite a few combat deployments. Moreover, I had recently been dumped in my 'perfect' engagement by my fiancee who had been cheating on me with a male coworker. So, this 'emotional' genre of reading isn't usually my thing and my sense of worthiness was very injured. I initially avoided this book out of concern that it was one of many under-evidenced self-help titles.

Changing my mind on reading this was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am a much better person for it. I don't guarantee very much, due to my skeptical nature; but, I think I can guarantee that something in this book will profoundly change you. Perhaps this was done by Dr. Brown's approach of confronting the 'things that stand in our way' of leading a 'wholehearted life'. This is important because thoughtful people need to confront these things in order to overcome them and develop not just a positive mindset; but, a *realistic* one that doesn't ignore the potentially negative cognitions that arise.

Some of my PROs and CONs follow. But, allow me to be clear: if you have just been dumped, divorced, or experienced a break-up, then I think this is a great book for you. Some other titles like to do half-baked analysis of what happened between you two. Some of those books are like your own, highly-biased pep talker ("she was all wrong for you", "you're better off, now", etc.). While well-meaning, this can weaken you going forward. They sacrifice truth and accuracy for 'feel-good' support.

Much has already been said about this book, so I've avoided a super thorough review.

PROs
-well-organized content. topics overlap somewhat (of course), but they are introduced in the form of very manageable daily 'guideposts'.
-content is qualitative research-based. I think this is the right approach, since qualitative research is well-suited to derive meaning from the experiences of people.
-writing style is down-to-earth, clear, and very humorous at times.
-the book is relatively inexpensive.
-the approach of tackling 'obstacles' of thinking that prevent wholehearted living.
-realistic expectations of the results of reading this book.
-comprehensive treatment of the elements of wholehearted living.
-the persuasiveness of pretty much every guidepost.

CONs
-for the uninitiated (read: myself), I thought that guidepost 8 wasn't as clear in defining the concept of stillness.
-umm.. I'll have to get back to you on this one.

I would like to conclude with a few things that convince me that something in this book has made profound changes. First, I grew-up with a very domineering father and reading this book has made me truly comfortable with him for the first time in my life. Second, I NEVER danced at a bar without having some 'liquid courage' to prime me. After reading, I danced several songs (badly, of course ;-) ) and truly enjoyed myself. Third, because of my balding, etc. I always felt a little too self-conscious to dare flirting with some very beautiful ladies that I've met. Not any more.

These are just a few thoughts, but I hope that they speak to someone out there.
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on August 14, 2011
I've been through 6 therapists, I've struggled with depression for nearly twenty years, never could finish anything I started, and everyone always assumed I had ADHD. Not until therapist number five did someone point out to me that ADHD is often mistaken for anxiety and he was sure that was my problem. Boy was he right. Sadly, he was terrible at treating, so I found a new therapist who encouraged me to embrace the bad days and bad times and she pointed me to Brene Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. It really spoke to me, so I thought it would be a good idea to read her book. I just looked at the screen for a full minute trying to figure out how to put into words how much this book has helped me and I just can't find them. All those years I thought I had ADHD, I was just afraid of what people would think. I would pick up a new hobby hoping it would be the one that I could stick with and foster, only to give up on it. Never was the problem an attention deficiency, it was a courage deficiency. The author talks a lot about how making a major change in your life isn't something you wake up and do one day, it's something you practice every single day. And most will struggle with it, but without the struggle, we lose out on so much. I will have far fewer regrets on my deathbed having read this book. If you read these Ms. Brown, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.
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on March 14, 2016
I read "Daring Greatly" about 6 months ago after watching Dr. Brown's TED talks and that book honest to goodness changed my life. I was excited to read this one, particularly because I found her discussion of perfectionism so helpful in Daring Greatly. I have to admit that as much as I still admire Brene Brown, I found this to be a watered down version of Daring Greatly and I kind of regret buying it (I don't regret READING it, but I do regret paying for it, and I don't feel that this improves my library).

I found this was a little shallow and abstract, whereas Daring Greatly so eloquently and articulately put words to ideas we understand intuitively, and it really enhanced my emotional vocabulary. This book offered little in that respect. Some of it (shame vs guilt, for example) was redundant of Daring Greatly (and other texts for that matter) and her discussion of ideas like intuition, spirituality, and numbing were vague and unhelpful to me. She was mostly quoting other people's definitions and discussion of these topics, and while some the quotes were thought-provoking, I didn't feel that it really enlightened me.

Her examples were also not as compelling in this text. It was mostly about her, and while some of the examples were useful and memorable, I came away feeling like she was painting a picture of her family rather than focusing on her research and data. Daring Greatly, on the other hand, was written in such an empathetic and compassionate way that I kept saying, "YES! That's me! She understands!" or "Wow! That's totally my brother-in-law!" It was like one light bulb after another going off. Reading Daring Greatly was so inspiring and healing. This book didn't have that same level of empathy and was missing that universal quality, focusing instead on examples that were auto-biographical. Some other reviewers said this read like a blog, and I have to agree. By the end of this book I didn't feel UNDERSTOOD like I did after reading Daring Greatly. I honestly felt that as I read Daring Greatly, Brene Brown was like looking inside me and having a conversation with me, even though she doesn't even know me. After reading The Gifts of Imperfection, however, I felt that I understood more about her and less about myself.

There was also something a little kitschy about this. She had a section after each chapter called DIG deep where she listed ways that she tries to employ these strategies, and she often said "Amen" at the end of some quotes. While cute, it lacked the maturity and empathy of Daring Greatly.

She was also a little judgmental in this book (towards others and towards herself) and I could ironically see her striving for perfectionism (like in order to be perfect she needs to become "wholehearted," so she is actively working to employ these strategies rather than actually embodying them). It is almost like by the time she got to Daring Greatly she was fully reborn and had reached that full enlightenment, and she was still working on getting there in this text.

Additionally, unlike Daring Greatly, this reads a little bit like a checklist (see comment above) of things you should do: 1. don't be a perfectionist 2. Get creative 3. Rest and play 4. But don't numb 5. Dance like no one is watching you 6. practice self-compassion 7. Have faith. By the end I felt like I was being told what to do to be happy, as if it was a formula. While some of the advice was certainly helpful, it wasn't inspiring in the same way Daring Greatly was. Daring Greatly got at the heart of one's emotions. It talked about courage, authenticity, compassion (true ideals) and it showed how there is extraordinary in the ordinary. The Gifts of Imperfection seemed to get sidetracked by specifics (dancing, jewelry making, her childhood house in New Orleans) and it never reached that universality that was so healing in Daring Greatly.

Lastly, this book was highly referential. As I said earlier, she quotes a lot of other people to get at defining abstract terms. She also references the work of many other psychologists, researchers, etc. For example, Kristin Neff and Marci Alboher. It isn't that I didn't appreciated her references, but this felt blog-like again: "Hey I read this and I LOVED this idea, check it out!" Or "this quote inspires me! Let me share." In contrast, it felt like Brene Brown had found her own voice in Daring Greatly, and no longer needed to continually reference others' work and could just share her research and the conclusions she reached from it.

All in all, while The Gifts of Imperfection was a nice book that offered a little refresher of Brown's understanding of "wholehearted living" with some ideas about intuition and faith, creativity, and song and dance, it was not as sophisticated or inspiring as her latest book Daring Greatly, which really felt like a true culmination of her research and experiences. I'd skip this one; or at least just borrow it from the library...
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on December 1, 2016
 “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Wholehearted living is not a onetime choice. It is a process. In fact, I believe it’s the journey of a lifetime. My goal is to bring awareness and clarity to the constellation of choices that lead to Wholeheartedness and to share what I’ve learned from many, many people who have dedicated themselves to living and loving with their whole hearts.

Before embarking on any journey, including this one, it’s important to talk about what we need to bring along. What does it take to live and love from a place of worthiness? How do we embrace imperfection? How do we cultivate what we need and let go of the things that are holding us back? The answers to all of these questions are courage, compassion, and connection—the tools we need to work our way through our journey.”

~ Brené Brown from The Gifts of Imperfection

Reading Brené Brown’s books makes you feel safe.

Well, actually, they make you feel a little freaked out (laughing) as you look into some areas you may not like to look—like vulnerability and shame—but, ultimately, they make you feel more of the three qualities she advocates (and models) so powerfully: courage, compassion, and connection. And, in the process, like you’ve come home to yourself.

And that’s awesome. :)

Her work as a shame and vulnerability researcher led her to discover people who had figured out the keys to shame resilience and what she calls Wholehearted living. (Think: half-hearted kindasorta going thru the motions vs. WHOLEhearted, all-in joyful living!)
This book walks us through the ten “guideposts” of Wholehearted living in. It’s a quick-reading, fun, inspiring and wise little book that I highly recommend.

Let’s explore some of the Big Ideas:

1. Dos and Don’ts - Of Wholehearted living.
2. Guideposts - Ten of them.
3. Practicing - Is where it’s at.
4. Ordinary Courage - Requires vulnerability.
5. A Deep Sense of Love - And belonging is required.

Here’s to doing the little things (diligently, patiently, persistently and playfully) as we cultivate courage, compassion, and connection that help us live Wholeheartedly and put our soul in a wonderfully good mood!

More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our ​*OPTIMIZE*​ membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.
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on June 20, 2016
My goodness, this book is challenging! However, I am a huge fan of Brene Brown, so I am reading all of her books even if the truth she speaks is the last thing I want to hear. This book has really helped me to examine my intentions behind my actions and then revise my thinking to be more whole-hearted. I have learned a lot about my own disordered thoughts and behaviors, where they might stem from, and what to do about them. I now find myself recognizing destructive cycles and breaking the thought chain before it can spiral out of control. That has drastically improved my life and my relationships. This book has been a tremendous blessing in disguise as I venture out into life on my own post-college.
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on July 16, 2013
A good friend of mine challenged a few friends to read The Gifts of Imperfection at the beginning of the year. I'm so glad she did. I've been inspired by Brené Brown for a long time, and love her TED talk.

I'm inspired by her research and the way she communicates. She set out on a research project about shame and next thing she knows, she's a best selling author with her own stories of shame and vulnerability to tell.

I loved this book. And I wrestled with this book. To be honest, I started it 6 months ago and here it is 6 months later and I've just finished it. I had to take it slow. Each chapter [Guidepost] is teeny. Just 4-5 pages. You'd think one would sail through it. Once you read the first chapter you will gain a better understanding of just how quickly or slowly it will go for you. For me, I needed to take my time. Nearly every chapter landed a lump in my stomach the size of a cantaloupe that I needed to overcome before I was able to take a deep enough breath to begin whatever was going to come next.

This little 130-page book caused me to set goals, have conversations, [cry a little], face disappointments, and ask a whole bunch of uncomfortable questions.

You can see why I had to take it slow.

The book's greatest challenge to readers is to embrace who you are. You become more yourself as you understand shame, vulnerability and their power.

If you haven't read anything by Brené Brown before, now's the time. It won't be easy, but definitely worth the work.
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on April 23, 2017
Everybody should read Brene Brown.
Let me tell ya, I am not a self-help kind of gal and I hate cheesiness. When a therapist recommended this book to me I rolled my eyes internally and thought "ugh, another self help book."
Brene Brown is straight forward, honest and connects to you on every page. She is not telling you how you should live or what to think or telling you, 'If you just think positive it will all be okay!"
She guides you through other people's stories, makes you love them and her for their vulnerability and honesty-then she makes you feel that way about yourself.
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on June 26, 2016
The Gifts of Imperfection represents, not only years of qualitative research by the author, but valuable lessons learned from that investment of time, energy, love, and tenacity/perseverance—lessons and resources that make can make huge differences for readers! As she described herself and her challenges, at times, I thought she was describing my wife. My wife has read several chapters in the book, and she admits that Brown’s insights and suggestions are on-target and extremely helpful!
Her Guidepost 2: Cultivating Self-Compassion-Letting Go of Perfectionism was worthy of capturing in its entirety as a Word document for sharing with others. Brown ends all her chapters with a three-part, behavioral-change segment: DIG Deep. It encourages the reader to take action-- to get Deliberate, get Inspired, and get Going.
Readers have the advantage of being introduced to new resources such as authors, books, online self-assessments, etc. The author is also very authentic and revealing as she shares the personal challenges she has faced. She had a keen sense of humor, of which she is the usual target. Her writing is simply interesting, conversational, and real-world focused. She has heart, pure and simple.
This book was my introduction to Brene Brown’s work, and it will not be my last!
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on June 7, 2017
Brene Brown is someone who can put the most fundamental human needs into words that really come to life and make sense and get people to talk about them and put them into practice. I have grown up in a generally healthy social and family life. I have been to college, grown up in a strong religious background and community, my parents being missionaries, and I think I have more or less been happy. Still, her words have shaken me up and helped me to realize what really matters, and what was keeping me from being me and embracing the life and freedom that God has created me to be. In addition, I have come to embrace others in the same way.

Her work has helped me to put pieces together that I think I have known in my head to some degree, but did not know how it fits together and make sense in my life and in the world.

This book can be seen as a foundational book among three of her books (including Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong). I highly recommend reading these.
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on October 14, 2013
I love the content of this book, and I want to read it and re-read it again to stay on the right path. Some of the most helpful points for me were:

1. In order to feel joy, you have to lean into uncomfortable feelings and not numb pain (through food, TV, substances, sex/love, obsessions, etc), because you can't selectively numb emotions, so if you numb pain, you numb joy as well

2. That joy will often be accompanied by fear because we fear we will lose the things that make us joyful, so you can expect anxiety to come up when you are about to feel joy or in the midst of feeling joy. You have to be able to tolerate the discomfort, because If you can't tolerate discomfort, then you will lose your capacity to experience joy. But there is no way to feel joy without feeling vulnerability because this life has no guarantees. She suggests, very helpfully, that one focuses on gratitude in order to overcome it. I've practiced this and it helps a lot- she suggests saying "I feel vulnerable right now, and that's okay, I feel so grateful for..." Gratitude is the key to joy.

4. That we think we can avoid pain by avoiding feeling the joys in life, but actually you need to feel the joy fully in order to be able to handle the difficult things that will come up. If you never feel joy (because you are numbing yourself), then when difficult things happen you don't have the inner resources to handle them and you end up having to numb yourself more, then because you are numbing yourself, you don't feel joy, so it's a cycle.

5. That everyone is so busy trying present themselves in certain ways and live up to expectations in order to be accepted, but you can never feel true love and belonging if you don't present your real self (be authentic).

6. In order to be authentic you must have a lot of courage in order to risk being vulnerable, because you could present your true self and be rejected, but if you don't try you will never experience true belonging.

7. The root of feeling love and belonging is feeling worthy, now, just as you are, of love and belonging, because you have to believe that your true self is worthy in order to have the courage to be authentic.

8. Feeling worthy now is also the answer to handling shame. Shame is the fear of being unlovable, so believing that you are worthy is the opposite of shame and the antidote to shame. You have to face shame and practice using shame resilience (which she teaches in the book, which feeling worthy is at the root of) in order to overcome perfectionism.

I don't really love her writing style. You can really tell that she loves to put things in boxes, her background is as a researcher, and she loves definitions (and the majority of the definitions are really good and some of them are fantastic). But it means that her writing style doesn't seem to work the best for this subject matter. It feels like if she had a more of a clear, simple, inspirational tone, it could have had a little more flow and felt a little stronger, writing-wise. It's just a little hard to read sometimes, it feels a little clunky. But there are so many amazing parts that blow your mind and change your life, so it's totally worth reading.

She made some really amazing points about so many subjects, but there were several subjects she really just brushes through and says basically that she discovered that "these were important characteristics of whole-hearted people as well, and here are some other books to look at on the subject" but I didn't really think she herself made that many great points on these subjects. And maybe for other people she did say things that hit home, but the subjects I felt she could have worked more on were:

1. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith (This is a really huge thing for me, and now, from the book, I know that it is important to have faith to be whole-hearted, but I didn't get any closer to figuring out HOW to have faith from what she said)
2. Cultivating Calm and Stillness (There is so much fantastic information out there on this subject, I would highly recommend the book "Mindsight" on this subject.)
3. Cultivating Creativity, Play and Rest, Laughter, Song and Dance (these are fairly straight-forward topics, probably most people can figure out how to incorporate more of these things into their lives, but these chapters didn't feel like they offered a lot of useful points on the subjects, aside from just pointing you in the right directions towards doing these things- which in and of itself is very important!
4. I wish she had said more about HOW to cultivate authenticity. The chapter on authenticity was chock-full of great points, but I would have loved more on how
5. She discusses using boundaries and holding people accountable to be compassionate, instead of the usual shaming and blaming we do. I could have used A LOT more instruction and advice on HOW to use boundaries and hold people accountable in a compassionate way.

This book is life-changing, it is necessary reading for everyone in my opinion. The first chapter was actually the hardest to get through for me- writing-style wise. I actually thought it wasn't a good book and I put it down and considered it a bad investment after reading the first chapter- I felt it was full of fluff, and obvious stuff, and that it didn't have any useful information. But then thankfully, a month or two later, I picked it up again, and once you get to chapter two, everything starts getting a lot better. Then it kind of goes downhill again at Guidepost 5 and beyond. But between chapter two and guidepost 5, it is pure gold.
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