The Gifts of Imperfection is a well written, thoroughly researched, compassionate must read book from the perspective of a seasoned and trustworthy professional, which contains a plethora of concrete information about how to live more genuinely and capably in the face of fear and self-doubt. Brene’ Brown writes her guide to achieving self-acceptance, self-esteem and well-rounded living, by focusing on her years of research on shame, fear, and vulnerability, providing the reader with specific ways people think and act that either challenge or welcome the topics. She highlights both hindrances and aids to living fully in ten guideposts or chapters, in which she explains ways people can use the information she’s learned from her research to let go of negative thoughts and emotions and let in the things that provide joy and contentment. The author’s ability to communicate, her status as an empathetic peer, and knowledge as a practiced researcher and social worker, shine through her writing, expertly bringing together her writing style and the useful information she imparts.
Brown writes intelligently and from the heart about the findings of her decade long research, providing personal anecdotes to frame the information, which humanizes her ideas, making the research less scientific and more relatable and applicable for the reader. The author tells the story of her own journey of curiosity, exploration, and growth which develops alongside her shame research. Brown tells about using her data to assemble a “do” and “don’t” list for feeding shame, fear, and vulnerability, and realizing, “This is just great, I’m living straight down the shit list.” (xii) When she admits that this led to her “2007 Breakdown Spiritual Awakening,” the reader feels comforted and less overwhelmed by learning he or she is living similarly. By telling her own story and those of family, friends, and contributors to her blog, Brown powerfully and positively influences the reader’s experience of reading, processing, and retaining essential concepts.
This book provides its reader with a wealth of helpful and applicable information to be used now and in the future, not only planting the seeds for thinking about changing perspectives on shame, but providing the building blocks for developing new ways of thinking, acting, and living. Brown doesn’t simply suggest that a reader combat shame, for example, she tells how the people in her research live successful, complete lives in the face of it: with courage, compassion, and connection. In this example, one of many in the book where she shows not tells the reader how to enact change, there are clear definitions of the three C’s. The reader learns about living courageously and compassionately by the research Brown cites and examples she gives from people’s personal experiences. Brown efficiently communicates using similar methods for teaching the reader her other topics, which range from cultivating a resilient spirit, cultivating creativity, to cultivating meaningful work. The reader finishes the book both satisfied with the results and ready to read it again, knowing new ideas will be available each time through.
The winning combination of Brown’s personality, expertise and wisdom is irresistible and not to be missed. Both her personal and work experiences stand alone as readable material, but together they are entertaining and therapeutic. Any person looking to make his or her life better should look no further than The Gifts of Imperfection, as Brown has discovered in her research an area of sociology from which we can all benefit in a myriad of ways.
Rating: 5 out of 5