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Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Break Free from the Perfection Deception

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  367 Ratings  ·  74 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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Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

لكل إمرأة، زوجة، أم، موظفة، ربة منزل أنصحها بقراءة هذا الكتاب. وخاصةً لمن تُعاني من هوس الكمال! الضحية التي تقع في دوامة الشك وتأنيب الضمير والتدقيق في التفاصيل والتذمر من شريك حياتها والمبالغة في الخوف على أبنائها ومقارنتها الظالمة لنفسها مع غيرها، والانتقاص من ذاتها لدرجة الخجل والشعور بالدونية. عند قراءة هذا الكتاب بكافة فصوله وما يحتويه من قصص مرضى الدكتورة أليس دومار -التي تُعبر عن حال أغلب النساء في أي مجتمع- حتمًا ستشعر بالأسف على هَؤُلاءِ النسوة!
علمًا بأن المُلام في صراع المرأةِ هذا هو
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
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يقدم كتاب كوني سعيدة دون أن تبلغي الكمال، طريقة لكسر القيود التي تفرضها الذات
ويسببها التفكير، إضافة إلى حلول حقيقية ونصائح علمية، الكتاب جمييل في أسلوبه
ربما تكون/ين ممن يعاني من هوس الكمال في جانب من جوانب الحياة دون أن تدري
"كما حدث معيّ"!
أنصح بقراءة الكتاب جميل جداً وممتع.

من اصدارات العبيكان.
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
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
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
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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.
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
Rotana Dia
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know where to start on giving this book a review!

This book was the very first self-help book I ever read in my life. This book is for women who feel pressured to give more than 100 percent to meet ridiculous standards that they have set for themselves because of tradition, pleasing certain individuals, or because they're "forced" to.

The author gives a lot of ways to rephrase negative thoughts that perfectionists tend to have. I highly recommend this book if you're a wife, mother, or just
اشتريت النسخة العربية منه من مكتبة جرير في معرض الكتاب 2013، ولم أتحمس لقرائتها أبداً كونها مترجمة أصبحت نص جامد من نصوص تطوير الذات، اطلعت على النسخة الإنجليزية بداية فكانت جميلة في البداية وممتعة للقراءة ثم الفصول الأخيرة أصبحت مملة جداً جداً كونها لا تلامس حياتي، التكرار في الكتاب يفوق الطبيعي! وهذا مصدر آخر للملل
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
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're a perfectionist this book is meant to be between ur hands
I've red the french translation and I found it amazingly well.
The author and her collaborate are taking us among every woman's life with its smallest details her thoughts and fears about her body; house; work; relationships; kids; decisions...All this against society and the way it makes women hugely stressed out about "perfectly" managing their lives.
The author mentioned some many inspiring stories that we may face or faced al
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*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
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
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
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!
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.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
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.
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