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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

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Do you have trouble going to bed at night when there’s a mess in the kitchen? Do you think you would be happier if only you could lose weight, be a better parent, work smarter, reduce stress, exercise more, and make better decisions?

You’re not perfect. But guess what? You don’t have to be.

All of us struggle with high expectations from time to time. But for many women, the
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Crown (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  450 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Maria McGrath
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I listened to this as an audiobook, read by the same woman who reads the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories to my kids. It was very helpful and gives great tips about cognitive restructuring and interesting quotes from real women, some who are still struggling, and some who have made big steps in the right direction. Domar helped me understand perfectionist traits in myself and my offspring, but not in a condemning way. Very helpful.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was eye opening for me. I knew I was a perfectionist in some areas but I didn't realize the extent in others. I see some of my tendencies in a new light and have learned some tricks to help me. I listened to the audio book and think it would be better to read a printed version for easier note-taking and skipping around. My rating reflects feeling this book is good but was a bit too repetitive to be great. Wanted to get to the point more and give a better summary at the end with recap o ...more
María Clara
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a surprise for me because I expected something completely different from the title. I put it on hold on Libby a long time ago and when I finally got it I had no idea what to expect.

I'm not gonna lie, I know I'm not the most laid back person ever, but I wasn't expecting to listen that some of my most common behaviors could possibly be harmful to my mental health. Perfectionism is such a cliché word that I wouldn't have used it to describe myself, but here I was, realizing I have ve
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5stars. The author's voice bugged me. Her views on stay-at-home parents seemed to have a little condescending undertones with the examples or generalizations she gave (and I've been a working mom, part-time working mom, stay-at-home mom, and work part-time from home mom so I've been all of it.) Her facts are spot on but her examples for improvement & suggestions felt a little too "just snap out of it & do it different" to me. Good for recognizing perfectionist patterns & where you ...more
Megan McBeath Hay
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I fee as though 3 stars is overly harsh. This wasn't a bad book, but self-help books just have never been my thing. I'm definitely a perfectionist and I did glean some good suggestions/recommendations from this book, but it didn't always hold my interest. Also a lot of the suggestions, are great but not entirely practical (sometimes the kiddos won't let you do a mini refresh no matter how you try). Anyway, if you're a perfectionist and recognize it and want to change it- this is a good book for ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a surprise for me because I expected something completely different from the title. I put it on hold on Libby a long time ago and when I finally got it I had no idea what to expect.

I'm not gonna lie, I know I'm not the most laid back person ever, but I wasn't expecting to listen that some of my most common behaviors could possibly be harmful to my mental health. Perfectionism is such a cliché word that I wouldn't have used it to describe myself, but here I was, realizing I have ve
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book describes, at length, examples of perfectionism in body image, at work, at home, when parenting, and when making decisions. The also provides short descriptions of strategies to overcome perfectionist tendencies; but the descriptions are summary. I thought this book would unpack more about strategies to overcome perfectionist tendencies rather than describing how to recognize perfectionism and how it can be harmful. A little disappointed.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The target audience for this book is the married woman with kids. Several examples are geared toward this audience.

Chock full of coping mechanisms including mindfulness (meditation, breathing exercises), thinking distortions (negative thinking, catastrophysinng, black and white thinking), interpersonal skiils (gender differences) even time mannagement (prioritizing)
Ashleigh McClain
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perception, Perspective, Permission
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Jalissa Nawrocki
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book - really eye opening for perfectionist and breaking free from life's expectations. Fantastic read!
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good and fast read. This book was about having a happy life without expecting perfection from yourself and others.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
what a pity that valuable advice was so smothered in sexism and stereotypes
Josh Gruninger
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is written to women (who are likely perfectionists) who live in a society that expects them to wear many hats including, wife, mother, friend, professional, housekeeper etc. The author is a psychologist and draws on her experiences to teach the idea that we should not expect perfection in all we do and find ways to be satisfied, and even happy, with what we can do.

The principles discussed are applicable to both genders and to people in most situations. If you are not married, there wil
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Karen Whitney
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Michelle Massi
Dec 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
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
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Picked this one up mostly because the author studied under Albert Ellis (whose book Rational Living I'm finding helpful), and because perfection is a common trait in my family. Domar's book is targeted specifically towards women-- particularly married women-- with or without children. Her advice seems to be more relevant for a generation a bit older than mine. Millennials, you probably won't like this book.

Still, her advice is sound throughout, and the book is arranged in easy section
Sep 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, audio, adult
OMG HELL NO. 6 hours into this book, I am abandoning ship. Was this written in 1996 and intended for 40-something working moms? When I got to the chapter on perfectionism at work-- the part that should speak to me the most-- it told me about how "men and women just operate differently in the workplace." It also advised me in very specific terms on how to dress at work, involving "a rainbow of shells."

Ultimately? Some useful nuggets, but mostly only for 45+ mommy women with traditional gender ro
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