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The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,359 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
I Am Not Perfect is a simple  statement of profound truth, the first step toward  understanding the human condition, for to deny  your essential imperfection is to deny yourself and  your own humanity. The spirituality of  imperfection, steeped in the rich traditions of the Hebrew  prophets and Greek thinkers, Buddhist sages and  Christian disciples, is a message as timele ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 23rd 2009 by Bantam (first published April 1st 1992)
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Morgan Blackledge
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humble Roots:
I have lived in California for about 26 years, but I grew up in Michigan.

When I was. Kid, my dad had a catch phrase that pretty much summarized Michigander values.

Any time we would be working on a project together, and I would try to find a creative new way of solving a problem, my dad would say "nothin fancy".

This highly functional but highly invalidating little gotcha pretty much ensured that we would have the fence posts dug in and set before my dad had to report to his afterno
Karen Mcintyre
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Easily read, this book introduces us to the concept that to grow in spiritual realm means to accept imperfection --- no to celebrate it! Using stories and quotes from some of the worlds greatest thinkers and mystics the authors share this concept encouraging each person to take steps to become their own.

The messaage is don't wait for someone to tell you who you are--begin this path and unfold the letter God wrote to you upon your birth!
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to describe the impact this book has had on my life, but for anyone struggling with developing a sense of spirituality that isn't dependent upon organized religion, this book is key.
Douglas Cosby
The title says it all, and this book just says it over and over again: that real spritituality requires an acceptance and embracing of our humanity and lack of perfection. Decent parables and stories to support this idea, but too much redundancy and too heavy on the AA message.
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two words... life changing. Seven years ago I was on my knees after hitting rock bottom and as I clawed my way to get back on my feet again it was this book that kept me going. I still have my copy and its the one book that I go back and read over and over again. This book is very special to me.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Esther by: Andy
Shelves: religious, self-help
This one was sent in a care package at just the right moment, when someone else had just told me my job was to learn how to fail, and to do it well. I almost laughed at the irony, picking this out of its box, but really, this book isn't telling me to learn how to fail. It's saying I already do fail, and to accept failure and success as part of life. Accept that the safer place on a see-saw is not at an extreme, trying to be perfect or beating oneself up for being a failure, it's sitting in the ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It feels so repetitive... I feel like the author is saying, "Here's my idea... You know my idea that I mentioned, here it is again. I love my idea... Don't forget my idea! Here is a recap of my idea... You know my idea? Well, I've written it on this bat so I can hit you over the head with it."
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unable-to-finish
Ugh. I couldn't read it.
The Spirituality of Imperfection is a wonderfully elucidating guide to applying spiritual principals in life. This beautiful book is a wise alternative to the deluge of metaphysical nincoompary that is as uninteresting as it is unhelpful to those of us who really are trying to find meaning in this often challenging world and still hope to become better people in the process.

Authors Kurtz and Ketcham draw on the ages old tradition of storytelling as it is handed down to us from the sages and sai
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My main beef with this book is that it reads like a very fat pamphlet for AA. I love 12-step spirituality, but not knowing that it was going to dominate the book (I mean, it's not even mentioned in the title) made me constantly feel lied to. And there were times where, even if I had known there was going to be a lot about addiction and 12-step programs, I STILL would have felt like they were being overly boosterish about it. I mean, there are lots and lots of people for whom 12-step programs do ...more
Rod White
This is a well-written book, full of stories and wisdom. I appreciated it in spite of myself, since I am a Christian. I can agree with almost all the postmodern philosophy of AA and even with most of the "spirituality" presented here. But the alternative religion of AA and the claim to that the spirituality of imperfection is the overarching umbrella of spiritual reality that all religions are ultimately revealing is a bit much for me. In the name of not being grandiose, it is grandiose; and in ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is very much a long-term favorite of mine. I always reach for it when I'm sad, frightened, or stuck in any way. It centers on Alcoholics Anonymous and how Bill W. (AA's founder) discovered that the desire to be perfect was really the sticking spot for most alcoholics; they had to discover that perfection was impossible. The book is full of stories from three or four religious traditions, plus AA stories and Bill W's letters illustrating not only humankind's innate imperfection but our need ...more
wow. where to begin? this book is very thought provoking. it is kind of text booky in parts, but if you can get through that there is a great deal to ponder up in he-yah. tons of examples from ancient history to current day. the basic premise is that to deny your imperfections is to deny your very human-ness. if you can come to terms with the fact that you are flawed by nature, you can begin to understand and forgive the imperfections of others. for someone who has struggled with the p-word most ...more
Deb Amend
This was a pretty good read, but I just felt like a lot of it was kind of obvious. Also the stories got a bit tiresome. "Storytelling" to me feel like it should be a bit more than what they deem it. At times it felt like "Chicken Soup for the Soul" but meatier. Maybe a "Shepherds Pie for the Soul"
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ehhhh...bla bla gives a lot of excuses to be lazy in your search for sirituality...pawns off a lot of the blame of our poor choices/decisions in life on the human condition...whatever, I read it at a time in my life when I was comfortable being lazy...not really recommended to the lay person, it's a good primer for better things to come I suppose.
John Cain
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for all people not just those who are in some recovery program or other. The strive to be perfect will never succeed but the acceptance of flaws can free a person to embrace life is the overall message of the book. Or at least what I took aways from it. This may be a flawed one sentence review but it is the best you are getting from me. Read the Book.
Thomas Beck
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great life changing book.
Highly recommitted.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely brilliant anthology of stories from many traditions about man's obsession with perfection. I meant to read the stories one at a time and wound up reading the book in one sitting.
Jessica  Fraser
Nov 15, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"Listening to stories and telling them helped our ancestors to live humanly — to be human. But somewhere along the way our ability to tell (and to listen to) stories was lost. As life speeded up, as the possibility of both communication and annihilation became ever more instantaneous, people came to have less tolerance for that which comes only over time. The demand for perfection and the craving for ever more control over a world that paradoxically seemed ever more out of control eventually bre ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy French
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far one of the most meaningful books in my recovery from addiction. I wish everyone would read this book.
Susan E LaRochelle
I am perfectly imperfect and that's ok. A great read! If I have learned nothing else, good to understand that I am human and will make mistakes, even at my advanced age.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I learned about this book from attending my son's religion classes. The sister used some references from it, however, once I purchased it for myself, I didn't get much out of it. Maybe, I'll pick it up again in the future.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

We are one. I've said this for years. With this book I might just believe it. And I can believe that I am part of the One.
Andrew Griffith
A survey of spiritualism, ranging from the Abrahamic to the Eastern religions, and including modern variants such as the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The anchor that our imperfection is part of our essence of being human, and it is better to be open and accepting of our imperfection, rather than striving for what is not to be, is powerful. The book draws from a number of stories from the various religious traditions to underline the points, reflecting another fundamental truth, that ...more
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
Someone recommended this book to me about 4 years ago, and it’s taken me several years to get through it. I loved the stories and quotes scattered throughout the book. It was hard to get into, because the book is fairly dry, and read like a textbook at times.

A.A. and the 12 Steps/Traditions are mentioned throughout the book; at times, I felt like it was more like the spirituality of A.A., not the spirituality of imperfection. Kurtz, according to the author biography at the back of the book, has
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in spirituality
Recommended to Suzanne by: Um yes My friend Rita (Rita Mae)
'When the King visited the monasteries of the great Zen Master Lin Chi, he was astonished to learn that there were more than 10,000 monks living there with him.
Wanting to know the exact number of monks, the King asked, "How many disciples do you have?"
Lin Chi replied, "Four or five at the very most." '
(Story Tellers cites a street entertainer named ken Feit)

Also : 'A man walking through the forest saw a fox that had lost its legs and he wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come up with
Laura K
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book explores the spirituality of imperfection through the history and philosophy of A.A. I didn't know that when I picked up the book, but I'm glad I read it. I knew very little about A.A., other than knowing that it had worked for a number of people. The history of the organization was fascinating and I was surprised to find that the philosophy is much less "religious" and dogmatic than I assumed. The historical facts are intertwined with an analysis of 'spirituality vs. religion', which ...more
Ken Sodemann
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of a bi-weekly AA book-study group that I belong to. The theme of the book is pretty much summed up in the title. We are all broken, and we can share that brokenness and find healing via sharing our stories. None of us are perfect, and we never will be.

This book stimulated a fair amount of interesting conversation in our group. Some chapters more so than others. The book draws from several different spiritual traditions, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhi
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightfully helpful

This book, perhaps more than any other book I've read, does the best job explaining spirituality. The book uses alcoholics anonymous as its frame of reference for the imperfection. Presumably they do so for it is so relatable, or, at the very least, understandable.

One need not be in recovery to benefit from this fantastic book. Part history of spirituality, part exposition on how we can apply this in our lives. The book relies heavily on anecdotes, stories and biographies to
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I've been writing non-fiction books for nearly 40 years. My first book, UNDER THE INFLUENCE: A GUIDE TO THE MYTHS AND REALITIES OF ALCOHOLISM (co-authored by James Milam, Ph.D.) was published in 1981; my new book, THE ONLY LIFE I COULD SAVE, will be published by Sounds True on April 1, 2018. My books, seventeen in all, have been published in sixteen foreign languages and have sold over 1.5 million ...more
More about Katherine Ketcham...
“One of the disconcerting and delightful teaching of the master was: "God is closer to sinners than to saints."
This is how he explained it: " God in heaven holds each person by a string. When you sin you cut the string. then God ties it up again, making a knot-and therby bringing you a little closer to him. Again and again your sins cut the string-and with each further knot God keeps drawing you closer and closer.”
“The question "Who am I?" really asks, "Where do I belong or fit?" We get the sense of that "direction" -- the sense of moving toward the place where we fit, or of shaping the place toward which we are moving so that it will fit us -- from hearing how others have handled or are attempting to handle similar (but never exactly the same) situations. We learn by listening to their stories, by hearing how they came (or failed) to belong or fit.” 7 likes
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