Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (10th anniversary edition)

I’m a book lover and the arrival of a new book on my bedside table is always cause for celebration. When I discover a new-to-me author I dive deeply into their archive to devour all of the books that author has written.

One of my current favourites is Brené Brown. She has been at the top of my list for a while and I gladly watch her videos or spend time listening to her podcast above all others… but I’ve been taking my time to read through her back catalogue of books because each one of her books is so profoundly impactful that I need a few months to process what I’ve learnt from her.

When this 10th Anniversary edition of her best-selling first book, The Gifts of Imperfection, arrived for me to review I did a little dance of joy. Not only is this hard cover book a beauty to behold, there is SO MUCH BEAUTY within…

In hardcover for the first time, this game-changing #1 New York Times bestseller features a new foreword and brand-new tools to make the work your own. I couldn’t wait to start and got 100 pages in when I decided to slow down and start again from the beginning. Truly savouring every page and underlining every part that spoke so me, making notes to go back AGAIN to certain sections. This book is not a quick read, rather it’s a deep work.

Brené Brown is a gifted educator whose TED talk on shame catapulted her on to the world stage and into many homes and hearts around the globe just over a decade ago. She is a social scientist who feels like a close friend – one whom you can always count on to tell the truth, make you laugh, and cry with you. Her empathy empire all started with The Gifts of Imperfection, which has since sold more than two million copies in thirty-five different languages across the globe.

“This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.” – Brené Brown, Author.

After years studying and writing about shame, Brown noticed a pattern – the people who she called “Wholehearted.” Being a researcher, she wanted to know what made these Wholehearted people different. So she gathered loads of data, analyzed it, and was surprised to find out that Wholehearted people lived their lives quite the opposite of how she did!

The Gifts of Imperfection is not her memoir, although Brown’s personal stories are interwoven with analysis and the work of other researchers, writers, and thinkers.

Brown identifies ten common factors in Wholehearted people’s lives. She calls them guideposts, and each gets a brief chapter and these are what transforms this book from words on a page to effective daily practices and significant change. These guideposts not only help us to understand the practices that will allow us to change our lives and families, they also walk us through the unattainable and sabotaging expectations that get in the way – the harmful habits and attachments that Brown wants to help us let go of such as worrying about what people think, perfectionism, the need for numbing, powerlessness, scarcity, comparing ourselves to others, exhaustion as a status symbol, anxiety as a lifestyle, self-doubt, “supposed-to,” the need to be cool and in control.

This inspiring book shows us how to embrace our imperfections and explores how to cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that lie at the centre of our ability to develop an innate sense of worthiness.

From its title you might assume this is a book for perfectionists. It is, and it isn’t. This is a book for those who struggle – the anxious, the perfectionist, those worried about what other people think of you, overstressed, overworked, disconnected, lonely, unhappy. This book is for all of us! There are no quick fixes here – there are very few to-dos at all, but the book will guide you through thinking through the way you live your life, and the ways you can change it.

As I said I started reading and then went back with a pencil, a few sticky notes and a notebook. On each and every page I have found myself underlining key passages as I want to absorb it all and make the most of reading these words. It certainly is a book you need your own personal copy of! Definitely not one to borrow from a friend or a library!

This is a smart, sensitive, and challenging book. It offers you the opportunity to make big changes to your life, but leaves the hard work of getting there up to you. If you’re ready for some deep digging and some hard work – then you need to add this book to your Christmas wish list.

Read an excerpt of the book


Listen to an excerpt read by Dr. Brené Brown

Buy Online

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About the Author

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 five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead. Brené hosts the Unlocking Us Podcast and the Dare to Lead Podcast. Her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service in April 2019. Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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