Matt Evans's Reviews > The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
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Feb 13, 2012

it was ok
Read in February, 2012

Listening to this book, I felt like I was being lectured to by the kind of person who concludes her cell-phone's voicemail with the word, 'namaste' -- a Hindi word that means 'I acknowledge the divine in you.' Actually, 'namaste" also signifies that its user knows an exotic Asian concept-word. (Total aside, but in my experience, chronic 'namaste' sayers tend to be impatient and prone to pedantic rages, when life hits them between the eyes with two-by-fours of difficulty and stress; I don't know why that is. Perhaps, like me, chronic 'namaste' sayers aspire to a higher way of life that is simply beyond their ability when they are in pain, and suffering.) Learn from me, says the word 'namaste,' let me guru you.

Let me guru you. That’s the simplest way to understand Gifts of Imperfection. This is the kind of book that does two simultaneous, paradoxical things:

One. Gifts of Imperfection offers hope. The hope of a little respite from the harsh, perfectionistic voice in your head that criticizes not only you but every living soul in your purview, and that seeks, simultaneously, to raise you above those whom you’re castigating and criticizing, including your very own self (which, when you consider it, is weird). That’s the first thing. And it's a good thing. Two stars for that, I say.

Second. Gifts of Imperfection not too subtly points out that you've made a fecal mess of your life on life's carpet. The book then basically kind of grabs you by the back of your neck and pushes your nose down toward the mess; your nose hovers inches over the glistening pile, a pile the consistency of a very deep-brown chocolatey softserve, coiled, too, like softserve, and then says to you (i.e., the book does) Do Not Do That Again. But, being human, of course you're going to do it again. And when you do, expect the book to shove your nose down toward the mess again (which is highly adhesive, the pile is, and it threatens to stick).

I felt relieved to be done with the book. It felt good to get out from under it and see the sunshine again.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill I haven't read the book, but I find your review completely interesting. Makes me want to read it just to identify with you.


message 2: by Buz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Buz Mayo Wow... I don't know what triggered you as you read this book but did you know that you just ascribed your own fictional judgment on someone you don't know. I'm glad you have a forum to express your opinion. But I don't buy it. Sounds like your "feeling" of being lectured has come back to life in your own review of someone else's work.


message 3: by Abeer (last edited Aug 20, 2013 08:54PM) (new) - added it

Abeer "Do Not Do That Again. But, being human, of course you're going to do it again". No, that's not being human, but being a doofball (for lack of a better word) rather.. Learn from your mistakes and come out stronger so you don't make that chocolatey softserve mess again! :)


Matt Evans Abeer wrote: ""Do Not Do That Again. But, being human, of course you're going to do it again". No, that's not being human, but being a doofball (for lack of a better word) rather.. Learn from your mistakes and c..."

I wish there were a "like" button for your comment, but there's not. So: thanks for your comment, I like it.


message 5: by Tif (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tif I think maybe yous should read it, instead of listening to it. Reading it in your own voice, with your own tones is different... it's not a lecture that way, it's walking in willingly, not having to sit and be told what to do. This book is useful, and CAN change your life... if you let it.
I don't think it's preachy, and I don't think she is that kind of person. Quite the opposite actually... I think maybe the issue is the means of taking it in... not the taking it in itself.


message 6: by Rori (new)

Rori And so... with this detailed of a review, I have to ask, what book would you recommend instead?


message 7: by debra (new)

debra I know quite a few very sincere people who use the word Namaste because of what it means. They are sincere and heartfelt when they say it. They are not ashamed or embarrassed to use that word. They don't care if someone thinks they are trying to impress with an exotic Asian word. They mean what they say. By your very descriptive comments you seem to be bitter and wanting to make people feel false because the wish you Namaste. You are young to be so bitter. I can only say...Namaste


Arwa I usually don't like visceral reviews. But I agree with this one totally! I don't like to split good from bad like there's no grey in between especially with human behavior. The author insists on splitting her life into the pre and post breakdown-scratch-that-spiritual-awakening era which totally is frivolous in my opinion.


message 9: by Joy (new)

Joy Namaste does not translate as "Peace". It actually means "I acknowledge the Divine in you". Your negative and bitter response to the suggestions in this book could lead one to believe that it is EXACTLY the advice YOU NEED!!


drowningmermaid I listened to this on audio, too, and I have to wonder if I would have felt differently about it if I were reading it in print. I thought the reader sounded like she had a cold, and surely the author did not intend the smug-vibe? I still rather liked it, although I was struck by the thought that this book was telling me the exact, "perfect" way I needed to be imperfect. With no deviations for personality type.


message 11: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Evans drowningmermaid wrote: "... the exact perfect way to be imperfect" Exactly! It's that weird New-Agey position that, on the one hand, advocates a let-it-go, don't-judge-anything way of life but, on the other hand, expects you to let go or don't judge in exactly the right way. I love that you made that distinction. Other things like that: Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP website, which puts on this false easy-breezy, we're-just-friends show, even though it's 100% prescriptive. Also: Barney the Dinosaur. He's so happy, so friendly, so "hello kids!" fun that it takes a while to recognize what an absolute control freak he is. Your reply made my day. Thanks!


message 12: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Evans Joy wrote: "Namaste does not translate as "Peace". It actually means "I acknowledge the Divine in you"." You're right. And I thank you for the correction.


message 13: by MCLA (new) - added it

MCLA Joy wrote: "Namaste does not translate as "Peace". It actually means "I acknowledge the Divine in you". Your negative and bitter response to the suggestions in this book could lead one to believe that it is EX..."

It may literally translate to all that, but in India when we say “Namaste" we just mean "howdy" when we meet someone, and "see ya" when we say good bye. Works both ways. We also say "hi", "hello", and "bye" a lot more than “Namaste ", so it's perfectly ok for westerners to say "hi" to us.

In any case, we never ever say “Namaste” to acknowledge the (sometimes hard to find) divine in anyone.


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