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Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How To Break Free From The Perfection Deception
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Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How To Break Free From The Perfection Deception

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  238 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Chasing perfection is a phenomenon that leads women to underappreciate and loathe their lives. This title is about learning how to reset unrealistically high expectations and replace them with realistic, attainable goals that will result in success rather than failure.
Paperback, 283 pages
Published 2008 by Crown Publishers
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Sep 16, 2008 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all my girlfriends (apparently us perfectionists stick together)
So, I was ironing my pillowcases when I decided to take a break and read this book. But then I got distracted and had to make muffins from scratch and fold the towels correctly. Then, later that day at work, I got annoyed because no one moves as fast or works as hard as me. Then I decided to work out, but after realizing that I wouldn't be able to devote a full hour to lifting, said "screw it" and went home to spend three hours doing freelancing. I'm pretty sure this book has nothing to do with ...more
Have you ever read a book and thought "They have totally got my number!" ? Well, this book is painfully accurate about my life.

Co-written with a psychologist, this book starts out by addressing the social influences and pressures, especially on women beginning in the 1940's, to have everything perfect. It points out that media and consumer culture (especially the culture of Martha and Rachaele Ray) exists purely to sell us an image that is basically unachievable (unless you also have scores of m
Much of this book was not relevant to my life because I don't have kids (lots of stuff on dealing with kids) or a negative body image and I, apparently, am not as much of a perfectionist as my family would have people believe. It was also a bit redundant and boring, but had a few good tips on relaxtion and re-training the brain. Would recommend to individuals who I feel truely have an issue with perfectionism, but I'm not sure that I know anyone who does. Would not recommend the audio version to ...more
I want to go back and get my masters degree in the nest few years and specialize in counseling for women so that is why I read this book. Maybe someday I will write a paper about it-it was that good. It has information in it to help most women who suffer from perfection deception - as it is coined in this book. I think we can all benefit from parts of it. She helps by offering tips on how to overcome anxiety, relax more, and let things go. I don't know that I have ever met a woman who didn't nee ...more
Maybe if this had been one of the first books I'd read about happiness, I might have a different opinion about it. I ended up skimming most of it. It was written in a casual, upbeat tone, began with a quiz, and was set up like a typical self-help book. The recommendations in each chapter also seemed a bit repetitive.

The book isn't bad, but as I seem to have moved into a more inside-out approach with my happiness project, the simple "try these 5 techniques" style of this book isn't really what I
Some great concepts and processes that can help you if you are an ACTUAL perfectionist. From reading it I realized I am more of a procrastinator who gets down because she can't pull out of more like I wish I could be more perfect.... and not that I am a perfectionist that needs to tone it down a bit! Dont I wish! lol
Michelle Massi
Overall I thought this was a good book with some great tools. I was however disappointed that it was entirely directed towards women and specifically older, married women with children. A few reasons this is a problem for me: first, there was nothing in the title to suggest that it was only for women; secondly I feel like a perfectionistic woman might pick this up and think that men don't suffer from perfectionism too; and third i think a lot of these would be helpful hints for young adults as w ...more
This book made me realize how much of a perfectionist I really am, and how much it has been affecting my life.

I tend to have high standards, and although sometimes friends pick on me for this, I always thought it just meant I was aiming high, and that there's no harm in that. Even as a kid, when I would practice spelling, if I messed up a word out of an entire paper, I would crinkle up the paper and throw it away, because it wasn't perfect.

In high school, my perfectionism played out well. I usua
This book was an interesting read. I primarily read it because I'm interested in various approaches to women's health issues (took quite a few classes in the subject in my undergrad institution), and was curious to see how this author tackled the issue of the Perfectionist Trap in her book. Suffice to say, within the scope of the topic she covers and the bases of cognitive restructuring she delves into, it's very good. The accounts of some of the patients gave the work a personal touch as well, ...more
I definitely recognized myself in this book and in many of the women's stories. What Domar explains about Cognitive Distortions rings really true to me and I certainly would benefit by changing my thinking. But I had difficulty with her approach of "just use these simple techniques to fix your thinking." Every single chapter she keeps referencing these same techniques and while I don't doubt their efficacy, the book got a little redundant. Moreover, I would think mastering these techniques takes ...more
Since I am one of those people that has a sign in my kitchen that says: "Save Time, do it my way" I must have the perception of trying to be perfect. Their is an assessment in the first part of th book to take and determine you level of perfectionism. I was only a 3 of possible 5. Here is the description: I expect perfection in some, but not all, areas of my life. I occasionally get sidetracked by unreasonably high expectations. Have strong ideas about the "right" way to do things but able to be ...more
I scored 3 out of 5 on the book's perfectionism scale, and realized that most of my stress focused on work...with relationships, and decision-making following, far after. I scored non-perfectionist when it came to my body and home, which surprised me, since most people seem to compliment me mostly on my looks, or my house. Perhaps, because I feel the most control in these areas, I feel confident enough not to let perfectionism paralyze me there.

At the end of this book I realized that I tend to
Karen Whitney
Sep 30, 2008 Karen Whitney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Book groups, women
A refreshing, non judgmental book that embarks on studying to latest trend – perfectionism or “Martha Stewartism”. Written with a sense of humor – I actually laughed out loud at times, Dr. Domar covers many topics that are close to home – including our home, kids, work, husbands, PTO etc…. She sheds light on why we, as women strive to be perfect, the problems that can cause and ways to navigate this “dreaded disease” – that last part is from me - adding my own humor. It is well researched, offer ...more
I found that some parts, I could relate to more than others. I'm not a mom, I'm not married and I don't have kids yet. so most topics didn't fit in so well with my problems. I did enjoy reading some of the stories, it's just sometimes there's too many of them... I found that some of the explanations for being a perfectionist made me think of other people in my lives and it helped me to understand things about them better. It would really be more useful to them, but I doubt they'd wanna read this ...more
Chapter 4: Taming the Beast, has very succinct explanations for a variety of relaxation techniques. There is a strategy for everyone.
This was reading was for work. Alice Domar's books always have plenty of practical ideas I can use in coaching.
Gave me a lot to think about regarding friendships, body image, stay at home mom expectations, etc..
*Perfectly imperfect*

Perfect reading for perfectionists! If you frequently feel that your body/home/job/relationships/parenting/fill-in-the-blank are not good enough, this book is likely to provide some welcome relief. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, Be Happy Without Being Perfect provides ways to identify and restructure the cognitive distortions that often lie at the root of perfectionism. The book's easy-to-read and easy-to-apply information, advice, and techniques help pave the road
As a part-time perfectionist, there was some good insight for me.
Mostly common sense.
Helpful, but not quite as helpful as I was hoping. In listening to this, I realize that my husband is much more of a perfectionist than I am, which is too bad, because the book is exclusively geared toward women.

I found the narrow focus detracted from the book's overall effect, especially since the "women are like this" parts often didn't apply to me especially well. Still, enlightening, if only in that it tells me more about a few of my tendencies, and in helping me understand my husband better
beth anne
Apr 09, 2008 beth anne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: perfection seekers
i didnt read thw whole book, but im going to put that i did. mostly because if i would have read this book BEFORE going to a therapist and spending $$$$$, i wouldnt have needed her. in the end i read all of the case stories becaise im like that. but the info in this book is exactly what my therapist told me. so if you are struggling with being perfect (i sill am and i would like to know why there isnt a spell check on this!), this is a good book for you. it will save you tons of $$ and time.
Kelly (TheWellReadRedhead)
If you are a perfectionist in any area of your life (and it causes you stress), this book is a wonderful way to start considering your thought patterns more carefully and eliminating that stress. Chances are, some chapters will apply to you more than others, but the general strategies suggested are helpful for anyone facing this issue. Note: geared towards female readers. (link active 3/5/13)
I admit that I only listened to half of this, but still feel like I can rate it. I've not had much patience with self help style books, but this was better than others. She jumped right in with analysis and suggestions, rather than a lot of the "I will be telling you how (but not for several chapters" BS like they usually are. I guess much of this stuff was kinda obvious to me. But if it were all just that simple, I wouldn't feel like I needed to read a book about it.
The best part about this book is it challenged the way I think; it challenged how I view day to day situations and more importantly disappointments. This book is great for bringing awareness but a little light on ways to deal with negative thought processes. I would recommend this book, however the book is very much written to women, I still got a lot out of it but it was kind of strange for me to looking at every example from a woman’s point of view.
Eye-opening and incredibly helpful. I never realized all the ways my perfectionism has been negatively impacting my life. I now feel more self-aware, and I'm learning to chill out and let myself off the hook in situations where my instinct has always been to strive for an unreachable level of perfection. I'll definitely reread the book a few times to continue soaking up this information. A lifesaver!
This book was great. It taught me so many great things that I am trying to use in my life on a day to day basis. I really loved how she encouraged you to make 3 lists. A list is things that have to get done today, B list is things that need to get done in the next couple of days, and C list is everything that needs to get completed! I highly recommend this easy read!
Someone requested this before I finished it, so I can't speak to the whole book. What I read was good. I very much wish it was made clear on the cover that this is a book for women, and mostly aimed at white women. I don't think the author/editors intended to exclude anyone, but making the female focus clear on the cover would have eliminated the aftertaste of bias.
This was an interesting book. I have a lot of issues with perfectionism, so it definitely applied to me. I liked how the author presented examples of how her solutions would be applied in a variety of situations. Although I don't think it's strong enough to be the *only* book of its kind that I rely on, it will be a valuable tool in my arsenal against perfectionism.
I thought this book was an excellent read. If anyone ever wants to know how my mind works, all they have to do is pick up this book. I swear it was written based on me and my life. I think I might read it again some day but take notes. I really liked that the author took lots of information from other books so that it wasn't just the authors opinion.
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