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Why Do I Feel Like an Imposter?: How to Understand and Cope with Imposter Syndrome

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Many of us share a shameful little secret: deep down we feel like complete frauds and are convinced that our accomplishments are the result of luck rather than skill. This is a psychological phenomenon known as 'Imposter Syndrome'. This book examines the reasons why up to 70% of us are developing this syndrome-and what we can do about it.

All of us, at one point or another, have questioned our capabilities and competence. Maybe you've wondered how you got hired and, handed big job responsibilities? One recent article suggested that 70% of people "will experience at least one episode" of IS in their lives.

Imposter Syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome, or the imposter experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a 'fraud'. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

This book presents an accessible and engaging examination of IS and how it effects us, not just at work, but as teenagers, parents and beyond. Using interactive quizzes to help you identify if you suffer and offering tips and tools to overcome your insecurities, psychologist Dr Sandi Mann will draw on her experience not only as an academic, but also as a practitioner, to present a comprehensive guide to understanding and overcoming IS.

184 pages, Paperback

Published September 10, 2019

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Sandi Mann

33 books18 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Sheena.
602 reviews264 followers
January 21, 2022
yes hello this marks my 1000th book on goodreads i feel like that is a cause to celebrate also it is my birthday anyway,

i found this fascinating and relatable and wish i had a hard copy to highlight a bunch of things but i heard there's a ton of typos in it. i didn't notice since it was an audiobook BUT imposter syndrome is real ya'll
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
2,053 reviews318 followers
February 12, 2020
"Why Do I Feel Like An Impostor? How to Understand and Cope With the Impostor Syndrome" by Dr. Sandi Mann is a well written guide to help any person or professional that may have felt incompetent or unsure about themselves, despite the years of training, the competencies, and degrees earned. A study has shown that over 70% of us probably suffer from Impostor Syndrome (IS), where you may believe that you are inappropriately claiming to be somebody you are not despite all the appropriate training, education, license, and competency. It is a condition that can be debilitating and affects our ability to confidently perform our roles in relationships, our jobs, or our professions. It can also affect ones ability to be a better parent or role in any relationship.
Dr. Sandi Mann is an expert in this field as a chartered academic psychologist and a senior psychology lecturer teaching clinical applied psychology. Dr. Mann also specializes in conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder to name a few. The first couple of chapters explains the Impostor Syndrome with quizzes and assessments. the next 5 chapters goes over how the Impostor Syndrome is experienced by different groups of people such as(1) women in the work force, (2) male stereotypes, (3) imposters outside the work force such as the do-gooders or those that keep up appearances of a perfect life, (4) perfect parents, and (5) Student pressures. Each of the chapters are further explained through case studies to help with real life scenarios followed by tips to work through those feelings or syndrome. I love that the strategies are presented to help manage Impostor Syndrome and feel the success, gain confidence and diminish insecurities.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone that may have these feelings fulfilling their role in their personal relationships and also in their professional life. This is a good reference and an excellent read written very clearly with real life strategies to help with this issue.

Thank you to NetGalley, Watkins Publishing and the author for an advanced readers copy of this ebook for honest and objective review.
Profile Image for Jerawan Meesangnilverakul.
193 reviews27 followers
December 31, 2020
เกิดมาเพิ่งเคยรู้เหมือนกันว่า Imposter Syndrome หรือโรคคิดว่าตัวเองไม่เก่งเป็นอาการทางจิต (ถึงทางการแพทย์จะบอกว่ายังไม่ถึงขั้นนั้น) มีอยู่ในสังคมของเรา และมีอยู่มานานหลายศตวรรษ

โรคคิดว่าตัวเองไม่เก่ง เชื่อว่าใครหลายคนอาจมีอาการของโรคนี้ คือรู้สึกว่าตัวเองทำอะไรสักอย่างสำเร็จ แต่คิดว่ายังไม่ดีพอ มักจะไม่รับการชื่นชมจากคนอื่น ทั้งๆที่บางที่สิ่งที่ทำนั้นดีอยู่แล้ว

สาเหตุที่หนังสือเล่มนี้สะดุดตาและสะดุดใจเราคือชื่อหนังสือ บอกเลยถ้าหนังสือเอาแค่คำว่า Imposter Syndrome มาจะไม่สะดุดใจเท่ากับคำว่า "ทำมากแค่ไหนก็รู้สึกไม่เก่งพอ"

เฮ้ย ชื่อหนังสือ แบบน่าอ่านว่ะ อยากรู้ว่าอาการนี้คืออะไร เพราะรู้สึกช่วงที่เราตกงาน หรืออาจจะเป็นช่วงที่มีงานทำ เราก็รู้สึกได้ถึงอาการนี้ อยากรู้จริงๆว่าโรคนี้จริงๆอาการมันเป็นยังไง

หนังสือแบ่งแยกประเด็นออกไปในหลายบทบาททางสังคม เช่น บทบาทในที่ทำงาน บทบาทการเป็นแม่ บทบาทการเป็นนักศึกษา

ซึ่งเราคิดว่าเป็นการแบ่งแยกที่ครอบคลุม และอาการที่ค้นพบได้เลยทั่วไปเลยคือ ความอยากที่จะทำอะไรสมบูรณ์แบบตลอดเวลาหรือ Perfectionist นั่นแหละ
คนเหล่านี้อาจถูกกดดันโดยสังคมภายนอกหรือปัจจัยภายใน ที่แย่ที่สุดคืออาจกดดันตัวเอง ซึ่งอาการเหล่านี้ถ้านานเข้าอาจมีทำให้เกิดความคิดที่ทำร้ายตัวเองหรือคิดสั้นได้

โรคนี้ไม่ใช่โรคที่น่ากลัว และมีวิธีการรักษาที่ไม่จำเป็นต้องเข้ารับการบำบัดจากจิตแพทย์เลย
การบำบัดของเราคือการคิดว่าไม่มีอะไรที่สมบูรณ์แบบเสมอ และเราสามารถเรียนรู้จะการผิดพลาด เรา���ามารถผิดพลาดได้ เพราะทุกคนไม่จำเป็นต้องสมบูรณืแบบตลอดเวลา

We all learn by mistakes.
There is no wrong in making mistakes.
Profile Image for Lyudmila  Marlier.
246 reviews25 followers
October 14, 2021
Эксперимент по попыткам почитать "умные" книги пока терпит неудачу 🤦 вот например, казалось бы, imposter, ну это как бы мы все. И в чем же проблема? Правильно, сексизм! (он кстати, конечно, имеет место быть), социальные сети (тут совет, что надо от всех отписаться), и ещё парочка неожиданных, на самом деле нет, причин. Каков же вывод? Разумеется, надо поверить в себя 🙄🙄🙄
Profile Image for Tatiana Shorokhova.
284 reviews99 followers
April 11, 2021
Компактная и легко написанная книга, не раздутая бесчисленными повторами. Классификация людей с синдромом самозванца, примеры из жизни, ну и конечно, варианты выхода. Ничего особенного, но полезно иметь рядом, чтобы постоянно гнать самозванку из своей головы.
Profile Image for Saarah Niña.
516 reviews21 followers
March 2, 2021
This book is a necessary read for anyone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome (IS) or has a loved one who deals with it. Before this book, I had no idea 70% of us have this issue. I thought it was like the 1%.
Clearly, everyone is ridiculously good at faking or hiding it!

After reading a book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on a similar subject, I had this thought that there are probably those who are more likely to experience burn-out simply because they didn't like their job but for no other reason than they felt they weren't good for it. So the constant 'trying too hard' and working harder, to prevent getting exposed as a 'fake', was getting to them. That is no way to live! Yet, for someone with IS, it's the only way to survive. The only way to keep our reputations intact, our means of income steady, and our lives stable.

I've been there: wishing classes were cancelled because I couldn't stand another day of 'faking it'. Even if I understood the work, or was doing well, I would attribute it to something or someone else. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, this book would be most beneficial.

From Dr. Sandi Mann's neatly condensed book, you'll learn how best to minimise the symptoms of IS from taking over your life. I had no idea this was possible! IS taints everything, dents your success, happiness and accomplishments. It gets in the way but there are ways to give yourself a much-needed 'reality check'. It's not true, the stuff it tells you, it limits you. (I need to remind myself of this too!) We need to own our good moments, and keep the bad stuff from ruining them.

IS is something that lingers. It's either always present or in the background. Dr. Mann offers a thorough guide to understanding and identifying its characteristics in individuals. There are different types of 'Imposters': the perfectionist, the striving parent, the high-achieving student, the self-employed entrepreneur, the devout religious leader etc.... We, 'imposters', are everywhere.

From the beginning, I thought that the people who didn't know IS was a 'thing' are truly missing out. Their lives are also worse for it. All imposters have contemplated quitting the source of their misery. Or, refusing that promotion or salary bonus. Most of us don't act on these beliefs- we know where they come from. But those who don't? They'll quit and never fulfil their potential.

This book raises awareness and understanding massively: it answers questions I didn't know I had.
I recommend!

I received this book through NetGalley for review consideration. All opinions are honest and completely my own.
3,224 reviews27 followers
July 9, 2019
I blame our parents, relatives and teachers. They always made us feel worthless, dumb, and small and held up others as being so much smarter. I have often felt like this and have even made Dean's List in college! My first academic job, I was actually asked by an aunt "Are you smart enough to work there?" Still feel like I'm faking it after 30 years in my field. I am grateful I've never been caught out and am close to retiring. All the brilliant people on this plant likely feel like frauds. Sad so many of us feel like this. I'm sure it has had a profound effect on humanity's future. How much better of a world it would be if everyone's self esteem was higher and we felt more confident.
I've been waiting for this book for a long time. Sorry it was a bit late for me and my career, but I certainly hope it finds it's way into younger hands.

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Profile Image for Jen .
277 reviews24 followers
September 6, 2019
This book strongly resonated with me, as imposter syndrome has dogged me for a long time; beginning when I started at university and continuing to the present both at work and socially.

Dr. Sandi Mann has neatly condensed the research into this short and easy to read book, self-assessment quizzes, case studies, and tips for overcoming imposter syndrome. I particularly liked how Dr Mann looked at how expectations around gender and social roles lead to different types of imposter syndrome for women, men, and parents, as well as covering how IS can affect teenagers and students.

Why Do I Feel Like an Imposter? has definitely given me some perspective on my fears and some techniques to try out.
Profile Image for Jay French.
2,041 reviews74 followers
May 30, 2020
I switched from a true introvert job, researching new technology for a big company, to being a techie sales person. You betcha I feel like an imposter at times, even after decades, and feeling more so the more there is to learn. I found this book quite interesting, although the focus was not what I expected. A lot of the book focused on the difference between the sexes. According to the book, this is mostly thought of as a woman’s issue, but it impacts quite a few men as well. I found this part of the book, the majority, quite interesting. The book also talks about imposter parenting, which I didn’t find as interesting. So why do I feel like an imposter? One reason could be that some people just don’t like me, and some people just like making others feel bad. This book provides some of the logical arguments to move on from this. Good read, and short.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
403 reviews
March 26, 2021

Heads up fellow coaches. This is a useful textbook for a really common client complaint.

Up to 70% of us have suffered from Imposter Syndrome. Interestingly only those experiencing some level of success get it.

This book covers what it is, why we get it and then delves into different types: women, men, parenting, social, students etc.
It’s packed full of tests, tips and interesting case studies.

I’ve already been able to lessen the burden of some clients imposter syndrome by applying what I have learnt in this book. Well worth the read if you have it or have the opportunity to help others apply the learnings.
Profile Image for Dani.
581 reviews
January 27, 2022
This book is a good intro into learning about imposter syndrome - something that I've known many people (including myself) to struggle with. I appreciated all the cited resources and references to case studies.
HOWEVER. There were so, so many grammar issues throughout the book. Like duplicate sentences, incorrect punctuation - things like that. If there was a good proofread before publishing, I bet most if not all of those issues would've been caught...(no tea no shade).

So to recap: good introductory information; bad example of proofreading before submitting final work.

2022 Challenge: 5 Nonfiction Books
Work Bingo Challenge: Book w/ less than 200 pages
Profile Image for Francesca Corsetti.
133 reviews5 followers
November 12, 2021
Credo che i libri legati alla autostima non facciano proprio per me. Non riesco proprio a comprendere il senso di questo testo che elenca solo vari casi di persone affette da questa sindrome dell’impostore, senza però consigliare come uscirne (tra l’altro non è neppure una sindrome e ne’ tantomeno riconosciuta da nessuna parte).
Gli impostori sembra siano delle persone che si costruiscono una identità da paventare a tutti ma che hanno delle profonde insicurezze che inconsciamente sabotano i loro successi a conferma di quanto in realtà non siano realmente efficienti.
Tante parole per dire quanto la famiglia,gli amici, la società influenzino il parere che noi maturiamo su noi stessi e che a volte i fatti e i risultati ottenuti non ci bastano per stimarci, quindi dobbiamo lavorare sulle nostre convinzioni per poter contribuire ad un nostro cambiamento mentale e poterci premiare con iniezioni di autostima eliminando i pregiudizi di altre false attribuzioni.

May 11, 2023
Het gaf een duidelijk beeld van wat het imposter syndroom was en hoe breed je het eigenlijk wel niet kan zien/ervaren, maar ik vond de tips zo leeg, dat ik op het einde van het boek niet het gevoel heb er beter tegen gewapend te zijn. Het was een fijn gevoel om te beseffen dat er veel mensen zijn die het imposter syndroom hebben, maar meer dan dat heb ik er ook niet echt uitgehaald.
Profile Image for kkait.
24 reviews
December 31, 2020
Realistically a 3.5/5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyed reading chapters 1, 2 and 7. Not a fan of the chapters about women vs. men with IS though.
Profile Image for Alessandra.
30 reviews
December 20, 2022
Mi è piaciuto tantissimo leggere questo libro, soprattutto in questi periodo. Descrive in maniera semplice problemi che affliggono tutti noi ogni giorno facendomi sentire meno sola.
Profile Image for Carmen Morales.
28 reviews1 follower
January 19, 2022
Sencillo, pero informativo. He aprendido que hay varios tipos de impostor y también que hay muchas situaciones distintas donde las personas se pueden llegar a sentir farsantes, no solo en el ámbito académico/laboral. Y los auto-test están simpáticos.
Profile Image for Danny.
32 reviews
July 11, 2022
This book helped me understand why, even though I have an industry-wide recognized credential (PMP), I still often feel as though I am unqualified in my field. Many examples & explanations were given, along with exercises and strategies to combat Imposter Syndrome (IS) as well as how to use it to your advantage. This book really opened my eyes to how to be a better Project Manager and also how to help empower my project teams to realize their full potential.
135 reviews
December 1, 2020
Learned a lot and was really informative. Had a few problems with the chapter about why men might feel like an imposter since women also experience the same things discussed in this section.
Profile Image for Alexey Gerasimovich.
Author 5 books6 followers
August 12, 2022
Мне 45 лет. А я так ничего и не достиг.

Хотя многие вокруг говорят, что я успешный и профессиональный руководитель. Они просто не понимают, что я лишь везунчик.

…Это могли бы быть мои слова. Да чего лукавить, иногда такие мысли тоже накрывали меня в нелёгкие часы. Но примерно так ощущают себя очень многие люди, а учёные даже придумали для этого название — синдром самозванца.

Далее: https://knari.by/2022/08/12/sindrom-s...
Profile Image for M Johana Areiza.
263 reviews
October 16, 2020
No sé si es po la traducción o si realmente la escritora es en exceso redundante, este libro pudo ser un artículo de dos páginas explicando el fenómeno, las ayudas terapéuticas dan la sensación de leer una revista de entretenimiento.
Profile Image for Melissa Scruggs.
301 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2021
This book read like a college dissertation. It does have nuggets of interesting facts and a couple of self assessments. However, it ultimately fell short of my expectations.
Profile Image for Anna Ngo.
29 reviews
April 10, 2022
Extension for perfectionism basically. Some stats, some case studies, some tips and strategies. Some were helpful but the rest kinda boring.
Profile Image for Entre mis libros.
413 reviews5 followers
July 19, 2021
Este libro me estaba haciendo ojitos hace mucho porque "El síndrome del impostor" no me es ajeno, no recuerdo con exactitud en que momento pude darle nombre a algo que muchas personas me decían acerca de mi tendencia a minimizar mis logros, pero desde hace mucho trato de informarme al respecto, por eso este libro estará permanentemente en mi mesita de noche.

Pero ¿Qué es el síndrome del impostor? Es cuando sentimos que el éxito que tenemos es fruto de la suerte, de las circunstancias o del azar, cuando obtenemos un logro y estamos dándole vueltas en la cabeza a la idea que los demás sobreestimaron o exageraron nuestras habilidades, en resumen una manera que tiene nuestra mente de autosabotearnos haciéndonos pensar que en realidad no somos tan buenos como los demás creen o como los resultados de nuestro esfuerzo lo dicen.

¿Identificados? normal, porque un gran % de personas lo sufrimos o lo han sufrido en algún momento, incluso varias figuras publicas lo han padecido y han sufrido el temor que alguien se de cuenta que no tienen el talento que todos creen, que los desenmascaren.

Este libro de manera muy agradable, nada aburrida nos explica que es el SI, cómo identificarlo, aborda diferentes grupos y roles de personas y lo más interesante nos da consejos y estrategias para superarlo.

Me llamó mucho la atención qué somos las mujeres quienes más padecemos del SI, la autora lo habla en un capítulo y en resumen se debe a la gran diferencia salarial y de status laboral que aún existe, los logros obtenidos por uno y otro sexo no son percibidos de la misma manera, al ser mujer y tener éxito es más común que se le atribuya a la suerte, a la apariencia física, a los contactos y que se trivialicen y menosprecien los logros.

Las redes sociales y su incidencia en el SI resulta reveladora ya que constantemente estamos expuestos a una falsa percepción de vidas perfectas que el éxito personal se ve minimizado contribuyendo en algunos casos a agudizar la baja autoestima, buscar validación social, además de generar una presión innecesaria.
Profile Image for Nanyae Yamane.
42 reviews3 followers
February 26, 2022
หนังสืออธิบายที่มา สาเหตุ อาการของสภาวะที่คิดว่าตนเองไม่เก่ง แท้จริงแล้ว มันไม่ใช่โรคภัยนะ มันเป็นสภาวะแบบนึง ที่ทุกคนเจอสักครั้งในชีวิต บางคนอาจเป็นมากหน่อย บางคนแทบใช้ชีวิตอยู่กับมันเลย
ในเล่ม มีกรณีตัวอย่างให้ดูด้วย ทำให้เข้าใจง่ายมาก
มันมุ่งเน้นที่การสร้างความเข้าใจ แบบเป็นวิทยาศาสตร์
ส่วนตัว ตอนรู้สึกว่าแพ้คนทั้งโลก รู้สึกว่าตนเองโง่กว่าความเป็นจริง ทั้งขี้หลอกลวง
สมองก็ส่งสัญญาณออกมาว่า เราต้องไม่ปกติแล้วล่ะ คนอะไรจะคิดว่าตนเองบัดซบได้ขนาดนี้ ทั้งที่เร��ไม่ได้ทำอะไรผิด
เออ โลกตรงนั้น ปล่อยให้มันอยู่ตรงนั้นแหล่ะ จะดอกไม้บาน พระอาทิตย์ขึ้น น้ำทะเลซัด แผ่นดินไหว
อย่าเอาตัวเราไปสอดไว้กับความทุกข์ที่ไม่มีอยู่จริงเลย ภัยธรรมชาติหรือจะสู่การหมกมุ่นในการกล่าวโทษตนเอง
ใครที่อยู่ในวังวนความรู้สึกว่าตนเองไม่ควรรับสิ่งดีๆ กระทั่งคำชมจากคนอื่น ควรอ่าน
Profile Image for Grace Fox.
26 reviews
October 29, 2020
finally, a self help book that actually offers something substantial. This was a pretty decent read- it did a very good job of explaining what that feeling is and where it can stem from as well as showing how very common it is which kind of has the effect of being a calming message because if almost everyone out there is feeling like an imposter too, you can keep in mind that no one really feels like they have it together or knows what they're doing even when it feels like everyone else got some kind of secret how to guide on life and you just dont fit in. it offers some tips for how to combat it and build confidence, it could have more but all in all good book. One of the better non-fictions I have read.
Profile Image for Gabby Layugan.
15 reviews5 followers
December 6, 2020
"Not a total elimination of it, but rather minimizing its effects."

An in-depth look on triggers, effects, and different forms of IS, extremely helpful for making me aware of how "normal" and different everyone experiences IS in everyday life.

I found the tests to help you profile your type of IS to be vital in slowly shedding light into the once secret "Impostor experience". The most important part are the structures Dr. Mann shared on the Tips and Strategies to defeat these lingering impostorish thoughts in our heads.

More books such as these muste be written, and shared. While the internal stuggles will always be there, the book allows us to fight through IS together!
Profile Image for Jodi.
418 reviews6 followers
December 30, 2021
A friend suggested I might be suffering from imposter syndrome when I mentioned my belief that a new job I was offered and accepted was perhaps above my capabilities, so I was highly intrigued when I came across this book. I appreciate the strategies it offered for addressing and managing the different forms of imposter syndrome. I hope I'll be able to help my children if they end up with imposter feelings in the future, based on what I gleaned from the book.
My main criticism is that there were a lot of typos, some that caused me to reread a sentence several times but remain confused until I realized there was a typo involved.
July 29, 2021
this book was so well structured and very very useful for identifying & understanding imposter syndrome in myself and others. places i didn’t even know imposter syndrome can take place is talked about in this book i feel so supported and less isolated in these feelings. there were also some diagrams which i loved. some parts were quite repetitive and there were some spelling errors - but that’s just me being technical.
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