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The Gifts of Imperfection

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  154,274 ratings  ·  9,345 reviews
In this groundbreaking New York Times best seller, Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor and thought leader on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Paperback, 137 pages
Published August 27th 2010 by Hazelden Publishing
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Eric Merrill Try going to your library's website and see if they have an ebook program like with overdrive. Then you can borrow it and read it on kindle or in othe…moreTry going to your library's website and see if they have an ebook program like with overdrive. Then you can borrow it and read it on kindle or in other formats (including online or in the kindle desktop app)(less)

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 ·  154,274 ratings  ·  9,345 reviews

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Ed McKeogh
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I've read more than my fair share of "self-help" literature, so I can assert with conviction that this is not a self-help book. Instead, it's a revelation book. Each chapter triggered numerous "ah-Ha!" moments for me, because Dr. Brown goes a step (or two, or five) beyond the common way of looking at or framing an issue to reveal the interconnectedness of elements that stall or sabotage our efforts to live a more satisfying life. Instead of the "that doesn't quite resonate" vibe I often get from ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book after watching Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. The TED talk was shown as the last exercise for a leadership class at work. The talk was intriguing and I wanted to know more. Also, I noted that many of the comments regarding this fairly brief talk were often negative. I found the talk inspiring so I wanted to see if there was any validity to the negative comments.

The question that I had in my mind was why was this shown at work? Does Brown suggest that people should be vulnera
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You may have noticed a theme in my last couple posts. I'm rundown, overwhelmed and I realize that, while my priorities are right in my head, they aren't in reality. So the book I'm reviewing today really came at a perfect time in my own personal crisis. In fact, as I was reading along yesterday (yes, I totally procrastinated reading it due to other books taking up my precious little reading time) I thought to myself, "This book could be companion material for President Uchtdorf's talk at confere ...more
Ann Lewis
Feb 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
I had to mark this as read to get if off my list. Actually I had to abort the read. Just could not relate to a word of it at all. I feel like this author is speaking a different language. I have a hard time believing anybody really CARES that much about what others think about them. It's amazing to me. A Whole book telling you it's OK if you're not who someone wants you to be?? I feel like saying "Get a life!"
I also Really had trouble with the writing. This author reminds us on almost every sing
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I really like Brene Brown--she gave a terrific and funny TED talk about her research concerning the importance of vulnerability, of imperfection, of failure, and so I read her book. I think her thesis is superb, her research about shame and wholeheartedness really interesting, and the message of the book necessary to modern life. But! I can't help it. I hoped for a little more "perfectionism" in the writing (and structuring! of the book as a whole) which could have used another round or two of e ...more
Dani (The Pluviophile Writer)

This book changed my life. Dramatic as it sounds, it's true.

I wrote this on Brené's Facebook page:


I've just about finished your book "The Gifts of Imperfection" which I discovered after watching you speak on TED talks and I can honestly say that this book is helping me completely change my life.

I suffer(ed) from a condition called Dermatillomania ( and I've tried everything from therapists, medication and herbal supplements to help manage
I don't normally read books found in the self-help category. Nothing against the category;  I've just found that my path to self-knowledge needs a different process. Still, every few years I give one a try, and a friend's review of The Gifts of Imperfection happened to catch me at the right moment. It was serendipitous because I was just at the moment where this made a profound impact.

"Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this be
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
It’s true, I’m a sucker for social science research: the human mind just intrigues me like there is not tomorrow; and the emotional side even more so than the rational one. After accidentally seeing Brené Brown’s TED speech for a second time this week, I was intrigued enough to pick up her books.

Unfortunately her book is nowhere near as exciting. First of all, for someone who claims to be an obsessive organizer, there is a remarkable lack of structure in her book. It seems more like a collectio
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-non-fiction
So I'm just going to be honest and vulnerable with you all. I have issues with not being good enough, being vulnerable, and not being worthy because I'm not what society says I should be. However, with this book, which reads more like an epiphany than a self help book, I'm coming to realize that no one is perfect, and you know what? That's ok.

The writing style is very conversational. It's like you're sitting in a coffeeshop, talking over steaming cups of coffee. The author does not talk down to
Emily B
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this enough to now want to buy a physical copy. It’s accessible, relatable and honest.

“Healthy striving is self-focused—How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused—What will they think?”
Clumsy Storyteller
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People going through difficult times.
She makes it feel and seem so easy!

the main message here is: Let go of your insecurities,expectations, shame, guilt, discomfort. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy, they are the ones who think of themselves as worthy of love. you're IMPERFECT Embrace it.

“Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

“When I let go of trying to be everything to everyone, I had much more tim
Matt Evans
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 ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Self-Help Enthusiasts
This book is basically meaningless and worthless to me.

Not due to any fault on Brown's part, but simply because I do not need or want self-help books. She seems to be focusing on a reader that is obsessed with her own flaws or who is a perfectionist and self-hater. I am none of these things.

I just found the book extremely boring.

That being said, I did find two passages I liked:

Shame loses power when it is spoken.

True. Talking about what makes you a 'shameful person' really frees you and often h
I read this after geeking out hard because of her TED talk. I think there is a certain point in some these books where you have to have a big fold out section that says in type as big as your face: DO YOU HAVE MONEY? and also DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY? and if you say no, the last 25% of the book will disintegrate or turn into dust. The first 75% was great, relevant, filled with good thoughts and information and quotable stuff. Then she gets to the "my husband's on call a lot" and "my kids dance in th ...more
capture stories
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Starting the year 2021 with this unique book “The Imperfect Gifts by Brené Brown.” Unraveling wholehearted life guideposts, 10 of them, is unlike any other self-help books but illustrated with Brené’s personal examples of her own stories. Readers get a feel of reading a memoir rather than just getting pointers to improve and reinvent their own lives. The book focuses on the lack of worthiness and shame and using those vulnerable moments for a turning point and breakthrough.

For someone who alway
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars
"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."

non-fiction challenge
Elyse  Walters
Update: I thought this book was 'fair'. The structure of the chapters was too repetitive. Plus, more personal stories needed to be added to make the book feel more human.

Yesterday I started listening to "Rising Strong" by this same author. I had no idea she was the same author as this book, nor did I know that this book, and "Rising Strong", is part of a trilogy. I highly doubt that it matters.
I'm getting much more enjoyment - with Brene Brown's gentle kick in the ass messages from "RISING STR
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I felt that the author's writing and insights were somewhat disjointed and scattered. The book didn't flow well from beginning to end and has a serious drop off in relevance in the final chapters. I did think a lot of the advice was truly useful and important, but this information was given in small snippets amongst a large amount of other information which was less useful and not very helpful.

It bothered me that throughout the book that the author kept talking about the years and years of quali
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had to read this for work, but even without the burden of assigned reading, I would not have liked this book. It feels slight, filled with padded stories about shame and vulnerability and the author's reaction to said shame and vulnerability. (And sometimes the author's reaction to her reaction to the shame. Sigh.)

I shall now summarize the book's precepts: Feel Good About Yourself. Be Compassionate and Grateful. Blah blah Laugh Dance Love blah blah.

The book is only about 130 pages and can be r
Jun 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's really quite perplexing how this book gets good ratings, huge sales and has started sort of a personality fad for it's author.

It's probably one of the most self aggrandizing and vapid pop psychology books I 've ever read. There's really nothing here that you won't find in other books of the genre much better expressed and explained, a lot of times from the actual originators of these ideas that she takes credit for here with her phantom research. She does a mess with them btw, mixing conce
I am having a hard time writing this review, probably for two reasons. First of all, there is so much that I liked in this book that I know I will be reading it again. If the copy I read had been mine, I might have underlined most of the book.

The second reason that I am struggling here is that I haven't done anything with what I have learned. I have now read two books by Brown; she has pointed out some things I need to be doing for myself and I am resisting following her lead. I know that being
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like to listen to/read at least one Brene Brown book a year to remind me that I'm human. And you're human. And we're all imperfectly perfect that way.

Even though her books and lectures have helped me tremendously, I (like Dr. Brown herself) question the shelving of them as "self help." She's a researcher sharing her findings on shame and wholehearted living in a way that make them easily applicable to everyday life.

She's given her fans a gift by circling back and updating an earlier work, Th
Monica Kim: musings of monica
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, 2016
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown -- Your Guide To A Wholehearted Life

**Because the nature of the book, this review turned out be more like a summary than a review, and it ended up being much longer than I expected. Thank you for reading!

I am forever grateful for Dr. Brene Brown -- her message, research, and work really makes sense to me and resonate with me. I have read all of her books and each one of them has had a
Brene Brown tries to distill her research and reporting what she found are the differences between "wholehearted" people and the rest of us running-scared-dogs.

What she doesn't do is make it any easier for us to bridge the gap between where we are and where we'd like to be. She claims she made some serious attitude shifts through a year of intensive therapy, then wraps up each chapter with some easy (and unfounded in her research) platitudes and daily affirmations about "digging deep". Which ar
Fiona Brichaut
If the biggest challenges you face in life are akin to the "shame" of arriving late for your daughter's school play, and if you can find comfort in a couple of women patting you on the back saying "it's all right dear, once I forgot to bake cookies for my son".... then maybe you'll find wisdom in this heavy dose of rather nauseating, mommy-soaked, goody-goody, goddy-goddy saccharine. (Also, all the cutesie mommy-kiddy stories irritated me. What are you, some 21st century Stepford wife? Is this w ...more
In addition to reading West, I've also been into a lot of mindfulness books/stuff that's related to mindfulness lately, like this one. I found and really liked her TED talk by chasing down some references from Buddha's Brain, so I decided to read her book after that. Overall, I think a lot of her points are well-taken. I also liked that she reiterates constantly that all of her ideas are research and statistics based, not something she just, like, felt one day. I also give her props for being op ...more
Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.'


i really wanted this book to be life-changing. i've heard so m
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I came to this book after watching Brown's TED talk on vulnerability and seeing this book mentioned elsewhere online. The messages of this book are so very important and they really spoke to me. The idea that we are worthy: "The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute. Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites." Some of the prerequisites she mentions are "I'll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds," "I'll be worthy if everyone thinks I'm a good parent," ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, spirituality, 2017
First sentence: Once you see a pattern, you can't un-see it.

Favorite quote: Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments - often ordinary moments.

This is my first Brené Brown book. She writes as though she is across the table from me and we are enjoying a cup of tea in the sunshine. She is warm and understanding knowing we are so alike and are all going through this life wanting to make it the best we can. She wants to help us learn how to do
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A little disclaimer: The title isn’t fair to this book. It gives the Illusion this is a self help book. In my opinion its more about human behavior and embracing the life you have.

After watching a Brene Brown TEDtalk I purchased her most recent book, Daring Greatly. Her authenticity or pursuit of it, is what kept my attention.

A lot of authors who write self-help oriented books frustrate me with the façade of perfection. You can just see the word “Namaste” ooze out of their pores. Their seemingly
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Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of

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