Monday, August 3, 2015

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • It's a helpful reminder on the importance of "whole-hearted" living: connection, belonging, play, and resilience against shame and embarrassment.
  • If you really take to hear what she's saying, and not just dismiss it as obvious, it have a really important impact on your life.

And Why You Might Not:
  • There's a lot of emphasis on self-love. Although I completely agree with Brown's points on this, and she clarifies that she doesn't mean the kind of selfishness I think is not healthy, it still seems a slightly dangerous thing to emphasize. People misunderstand it very easily, and end up self-obsessed and narcissistic. I could have done with a more in-depth discussion on what exactly the healthy kind of self-love means, and what it doesn't.
  • In fact, let's give this another bullet point: I could have done with more in-depth discussion in general. Really getting to the meat of things, with interesting statistics and perhaps even some philosophy. Though maybe that's just me...

Thoughts: Although this was a fairly short book to begin with, I felt like I didn't even need it to be as long as it was. I probably could have made do with the personal stories and then a couple paragraphs of explanation and instruction; the message was a fairly simple one.

On the other hand, I could have had it a bit longer if there was more hard data presented. She discusses how she isn't really the type of researcher that tries to prove or disprove theories, but more "develop new theories based on the lived experience of people" (from this interview, not the book, although that says something similar), and although I think I can at least partly understand the reasoning behind this, it's still difficult for me to get as much out of it when done that way.

But saying all that, it was still worth reading. It's a very short book, so even if I don't agree with everything, at least it doesn't take long to read. And I think if people actually properly understood and internalized what she's saying, it could make a big difference to a lot of people.

Grade: 2 1/2 stars

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