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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  49,786 ratings  ·  3,739 reviews
Instead of pushing for perfection

A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, ne
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Zondervan
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Bice You can borrow from your Library. I have the great Libby App.that I use daily. ( Like it better than Hoopla) I use the ISO version but there is an And…moreYou can borrow from your Library. I have the great Libby App.that I use daily. ( Like it better than Hoopla) I use the ISO version but there is an Android version. I borrow ebooks and audiobooks from my local library. via Libby.My Library usually has the books I wish to read and has an excellent search engine. The ebooks are delivered to your Kindle App or your Kindle device. Nook too I believe. You listen to Audiobooks right from Libby App. I think you can read ebooks from App itself but I have not tried that. All you need is a Library card and a pin that you set up with your public local Library. Great that this is all for free!(less)
Jennifer Smith I would say yes. But keep an open mind about it and finish reading the book. I'm that way about books written by authors of other faiths or lack of fa…moreI would say yes. But keep an open mind about it and finish reading the book. I'm that way about books written by authors of other faiths or lack of faiths and I've learned plenty from those books as well. It opens your mind to more to keep open minded even if it's a "Jesus book" or what have you. I'm not done with this book and I'm enjoying it.(less)

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 ·  49,786 ratings  ·  3,739 reviews

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Annie Rim
Aug 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
I was drawn to Shauna Niequist's newest book, Present Over Perfect because its title seemed to indicate our current season. I quickly realized that Niequist's life and my life are vastly different. While I'm learning to live with a messy playroom, Niequist is finding balance by saying no to Big Opportunities and Flashy Job Offers. She's learning to settle in at home with a cup of tea and her family. Perhaps it's harder for someone with a lot of opportunities to say no and to find that balance. I ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2016
1.5/5 stars.

I have never read anything by Shauna Niequist, but I see her books everywhere. So when I saw Present Over Perfect available for review, I thought, why not?

Niequist is known (to me) for her food memoir, so I knew this book would be a bit of a departure, but I was excited to give it a try. However, I would not recommend reading this book. As so many books I have read lately, I felt this one had positive and negative elements, but the negative elements definitely outweighed the positiv
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
Where to begin with this review...I think first the positive. First and foremost, this book should be called a memoir. It should not be read for spiritual instruction, but since Niequist has assumed the role of an author, speaker, and teacher, no doubt readers are coming to her for instruction. If I were rating this book simply on writing style and relatability to the author's struggle for simplicity, for being present over perfect, I would give it a 4. But as a believer in Jesus Christ, I strug ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I WANTED to like this book, really I did, and to be honest there were a few chapters I really appreciated. However, I just don't think I can relate very well to the context of the struggle. It's really hard for me to connect to someone that has the luxury of going away from life every summer to a lake house or Lake Geneva and leaving things behind. I kept wondering why things were so tough for a person that has two healthy kids, a loving/wonderful husband, and annual get-away destination. I foun ...more
Angela Mushrush
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I stopped on page 70. I just can't believe this is a book and I'm embarrassed and kind of angry that I bought it. There are some truths in this book. Basically that she's addicted to working and is really rich and blah blah blah. She could have summed this book up in about a paragraph on her Facebook account. I waited for her to say how she became present over perfect but she just kept talking about vacations and describing places (like Hawaii) of complete serenity where her in laws were keeping ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some good nuggets in here and a good theme, overall. But super repetitive (super!!!) and felt a bit thrown together. Like, her editor called her to badger her about a new book and she said, "no! I'm done hustling! I'm taking a break and getting back to my core!" And her editor said, "great! Write about that! I need it in a week!" It has that messy, mid-journey memoir, right-in-the-thick-of-it feel to it. It very easily could have been (probably should have been) a magazine article. ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another positive audiobook focused on simplifying life. Some helpful tips here and lots of acceptance.

2017 Summer Vacation Book #1 (Audio #1)
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Shauna Niequist's honest and approachable style. Her devotional Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are is one I've relied on for the past couple of years.

Having read probably 10 books about "slowing down" and "simplifying," I'm never quite sure if I'll glean anything new from a book or if it will just be more of the same. I'm not sure if Niequist's writing just resonates so well with me, if I was desperate to hear the message, or if this book is really that good, but th
Feb 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
I did not learn anything from this book. The best thing about it was the title. The rest was her complaining about how busy she is and how she isn't going to write books anymore—while she is writing a book. I wish it had more practical advice, or even just wisdom about what matters in life versus what doesn't. Instead it felt like a lot of self-loathing followed by peace followed by more self- loathing. ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think there were nuggets of good thoughts here and there in this book, but overall, I was overwhelmed by the serious lack of recognition of privilege throughout. I had to wonder if someone making a low to middle-range income had read a manuscript at any point through the editing process. It might have helped. I think the fact that I heard a ton of hype about this book may have set me up for disappointment, but still.

That said, if you happen to be someone who is free to choose your own work ho
2.5 stars

I struggled with this one. It had some good insights, but overall was repetitive for me and was hard for me to get into. Oh well, on to the next one...
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book spoke to me so deeply. The whole book is wonderful, but three things in particular pervaded my recent thinking.

It’s ok for life to be less impressive on the outside. This might mean fewer vacations, fewer blog posts, and fewer parties, because being home and being with our loved ones leaves a space that is “beautiful and peaceful and full of life and connection, what I was looking for all along.” A Romanian saying I learned from my step-father-in-law is “They will not build a statue of
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: christian, self-help
Shauna repeats herself WAY too much, I felt like I was reading a blog post about the same thing over and over again. Is this book a memoir or self-help? very selfishly written if she truely meant to inspire. the premise is good, but how??? no meat whatsoever, especially if you're looking for truth based on the Bible. I have never given such a low review, I almost feel bad, but she says in her book that she isn't looking for accolades from others anymore, so... oh well! ...more
Irene McHugh
Let me save you time and money. Shauna Niequist’s plan to practice a life being present over perfect is completely dependent on you strengthening your relationship with God.

It’s a God book. A memoir about how busy she was, and her messy, messy, oh so messy life. It’s a collection of disjointed essays that happen to be written in chronological order about how she dealt with her own issues through prayer and redefining her relationship with God.

For most of this book, I was rolling my eyes. As an a
Jan 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
This may be for some. But definitely not for me.
Poorly written. I felt so much was left out. The word whining comes to mind and narcissism...
definitely not for me.
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As someone who can get caught up in the act of perfectionism and the frantic lifestyle, I really took away a lot from the content of this book. If you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, this book may be a helpful tool for change.

Although the author and I live drastically different lifestyles, I can relate to her struggles as well as the desires she has for her life. This book was a good reminder to refocus on what my priorities are in life and I found her stories profoundly relatable
I'm always curious of Shauna's new books, although I have realized long ago that I'm not always the targeted audience of everything she writers. I don't resonate with everything she writes about in this book, but there have been some aspects that rang true and caught my attention.

Shauna Niequist tells stories from her personal discovery of what it means to have way too much on your plate, saying "yes" to one more thing, but forgetting what is important and what should be a priority. The author m
Jan 07, 2019 marked it as dnf
I thought this would be like Brene Brown's work: accessible social science, with vaguely spiritual overtones and practical self-help tactics. This book turned out to be more like a Christian memoir. The religious language was off-putting for me (though I see other reviewers feel the author was not Christian *enough*) -- but I kept reading, subbing in humanist ideas for the religious parts to make it more relatable (e.g. thinking of my meditation/reflection/gratitude practice when she speaks of p ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A 4.5 for me. A really strong (good) message about not hustling. Almost feels like she can see into my brain.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm going to agree with many of the reviews that this was more of a memoir then any kind of self-help book. It was like reading her diary. It seemed repetitive and very biblical off for me at various points. It was an easy read but I was disappointed. I was expecting more encouragement on my own path to a life of simplicity. I don't recommend this book unless you enjoy reading someone's diary of thoughts and struggles. I do recommend The Best Yes by Lysa Terkurest, Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Fre ...more
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm convinced Shauna Niequist is me, just 12 years older and with an excessive love of cheese I'll never be able to share. Basically everything she writes hits me squarely in the heart and tells me exactly what I need to hear right when I need it most. This one was no exception. Full review to come. ...more
Christy Ryan
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Hmmmm. Not what I thought. This type of book is truly my favorite type of non fiction. I love books on balance, busyness and best yes. My night stand is full of them. Love the title and the concept of slowing down and giving your best to those in your home first. But, I felt like I was drowning in so much new age thinking that this one just wasn't for me. ...more
Melody Warnick
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That thing when you read a book that is exactly what you need at this precise moment in your life? Yeah, I love when that happens.
If you're not a person of faith -- like me -- you can easily skim over that stuff and/or fill it in with whatever your spiritual preference is.

That said: I don't think she goes there deep enoough. Niequist realized she was filling her life with tasks and to-do lists and that she needed to make things more simple. To say "no" more. And yet, there's no real reflection upon why. "I want to be more present" would be worth really diving into, and yet, it's all superficial.

There's nothing new in here
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the book "Bread and Wine", but I struggled to finish this one. Too repetitive and the new age religious tone of this book, well lets just say I'm not a fan. ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you want to start your next year out right, this book is for you. Niequist really explores our lack of presence in our lives as this becomes overshadowed by busy schedules and pleasing the wrong people in our lives. Basically, this book is giving you the side-eye, overcommitted extrovert. You know it is!

Shauna shares her own struggles of overcommitting, guilt about what she isn’t doing, and how we look for validation through social media instead of the people sharing our home.

Yup, it hit me r
Elizabeth Moore
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"...and the soul felt its worth." ...more
Samantha Baruzzini
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book and it feels good to finish something. Then there are books that move me. Bring tears to my eyes. Convict me of needing to find and rediscover pieces of myself and my soul and connection to God. To make the time for quiet and stillness and prayer. For creating and recreating furniture and art and song. That is this book. I haven't picked up and finished one so quickly amidst my busy-with-life frantic mindset in a long time. It will be one that stays on the shelf, to be ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is a certain peace and freedom found in these pages. Today I decided I would read this book. And I did. All day. It's the only thing I did, really. And I'm glad. I'm in this same season of stripping away, deciding what I can and can't do and learning how to say no. Learning how to say yes. And learning how to jump. And sometimes, well, all the time, God gives us exactly what we need when we need it most.
Today it was this book.
Lisamarie Landreth
Shauna does it again with another book I'll be revisiting year over year, season after season. ...more
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Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron Niequist, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live ...more

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