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I couldn’t finish it! I’ve listened to half of Finish, but couldn’t see the point of finishing it through. While I honestly tried and couldn’t find but positive reviews for the book, to me, it fell in the common trap of most self improvement books.
A book picks a subject of matter, and then in few hundred pages try to makeup on the point that everything under the sun falls under his topic of focus. Very often blind sided by other important factors. Sort of like when you’re holding a hammer, and want to nail everything down regardless.
For Finish, it was Perfectionism. The book kept repeatedly saying “perfectionism says...”, and then made the claim. First problem is, the author assumes the biggest problem is perfectionism, which means most people are “Perfectionists”. However most people, including myself, aren’t perfectionists. Most people are satisfied with average results. Some even mediocre ones. Yet they still struggle to finish. For different reasons.
Not enough motivation
Inability to focus
Enjoy partying and having fun more
Learning new skill is hard, so brain resists it to favor comfort.
Fear of failure: Different than seeking perfectionism, many are happy to be good, but never want to feel failure. It's socially unacceptable in many societies still. It also involves risk factor.
And many other reasons. And while the book might touch on some of these points, it does so by assuming it’s related to perfectionism most of the time. It does it so often, and under different contexts, that I ended up questioning my understanding of the word perfectionism, I had to lookup the dictionary again for its meaning. For the record:
"Perfectionism: Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection."
For instance, it would say something like (paraphrasing as I can’t recall exactly)
"perfectionism tells us achieving goals is about putting hard excessive work, and that work itself is supposed to be tiring not pleasant"
I don't know about you, but I've never heard Perfectionism make such claim. Where exactly does it say so? If you’ve seen Chef’s Table, you'd see how obsessed and perfectionists the best chefs in the world are, and yet you see how much they are enjoying their work. Steve Jobs was a perfectionist. And he openly spoke about how the real motive he wakes up everyday to go to work is because he loves this work and creating things that matter. Walt Disney was another perfectionist, who worked for years on the first full length animation, Snow White, and would not agree to any compromises. He'd try the Disney rides, come down and report the ride took few seconds less than it should. He was obsessed with creating the perfect experience. He loved it, and kept doing it his entire life. And it's what drove him to work all the time.
Another time the author says every time you watch a Netflix movie, it’s because you’re escaping from the task, because you fear you might fail and not be perfect at it. Also not true. I might watch movies because I like them. I want to stay up to date with Game of Thrones as it keeps me thrilled and exited. I watch Narcos because it's a great adaptation about one of the most famous criminals in the world. I play video games to ease the stress I have throughout the day. And without such enjoyments, I may not have the power to wake up next morning.
At the end of one the chapters, the author makes three suggestions that he claims flies in face of perfectionism:
Drop some activities to make space for others:
Cut goal in half.
And do something you like.
1- Dropping some activities to make time for more important ones. How many times have we read that before? And it really doesn't need saying. I also fail to see how this is related to perfectionism. Me liking to play football, video games, watch tv, practice music, and read books, meanwhile starting my project is not perfectionism. It's different interests. This is about focus, and prioritizing. Got nothing to do with perfectionism.
2- Again. This is not about perfectionism necessarily. Could be an oversight. Could be bad management, and inability to predict. Or could be because it will give me competitive edge over my competitor. So it's business driven, and I'm doing it knowing the compromises on quality. Perfectionism does not mean doing larger task in shorter amount of time. Maybe I'm doing a small task, such as writing a review for a book (what are the odds?), but I'm too obsessed with it, that I keep refining it. This is something I can't cut in half. Doesn't make sense to split a book review into 2 parts! And taking more time will not make me any less perfectionist. It means I'm feeding my perfectionism needs, by giving more time to a task that is likely to be of marginal value.
3- Do something you like. That has been said so many times before. And again, it does not contradict being a perfectionist. Sometimes when I code, I get obsessed with making beautiful, error free, efficient code. And this happens when I'm in the zone. Compeltely consumed by work, I lose track of time, and forget I haven't eaten all day until late at night. And you know what? These are the happiest coding moments for me! As I feel I'm producing something beautiful. And I can feel myself growing as a programmer.
So all in all, listening to such self improvement book might be motivational, and it's obviously appealing to many people. But I fail to see anything new being suggested here. Only old know thoughts put through different, often incorrect, perspective.
** TL;DR the book made me doubt my understanding of the word “perfectionism”, I had to Google its definition to make sure.**
What do you think? Like to hear your thoughts.
28 of 31 people found this review helpful
Jon Acuff does motivational speaking, so he is pretty safe narrating his own books, which actually can be a dangerous thing to do. His delivery is near perfect, but I dropped a star because he dropped too many ends of words. The day after per----. Rewind. The day after per----. I figured it out 5 minutes later in the chapter, but that was not my hearing problem. And then he did it a few more times.
But, I will listen again to this book because it is honest. It doesn't get you riled up for one day's good work and then drop you because you can't keep it up. Acuff is honest about how we actually feel the day after we start a project, how we get bogged down in the middle, and then how we give up when we are so close to the finish. He give actual doable suggestions to getting your goals done, finished! It won't take away the work, but he explains how you are feeling and helps you talk back to your own self-defeating words.
I will also buy the paper copy and mark it up. This is a good book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Deep insights presented in a fresh, amusing, accessible way. This book will get you results as it will call you out in a kind way. It’s truth in love!
No airy fairy wafting, well defined steps, and realistic visions of where to go next. More on maintaining discipline would have been appreciated, but some of it was a solid kick up the back side to get going.