How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

  • by Stephen Guise
  • Narrated by Daniel Penz
  • 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

I remember when I aimed for perfect workouts: 30 minutes was the minimum.
I was in lousy shape.
I remember when I aimed for perfect dating: it couldn't be awkward, forced, or uncertain.
I didn't talk to women I was interested in.
I remember when I aimed for perfect writing: I wanted 1,000+ words of quality material per day.
I played video games instead.
I carefully avoided mistakes, endlessly ruminated about what I didn't do, and what I did do wasn't enough.
Then, I became an imperfectionist.
Everything changed. I had fun stories to tell, like the lesbian pizza incident and the most nervous "Hi" ever spoken by a human being. I learned more. I laughed more. I lived more.
I got in great shape, read more books, and improved my social skills. I wrote Mini Habits, which is being translated into a dozen languages.
I found I could mess up and still win.
Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. For example, kids are taught to color inside the lines, and any color outside the lines is considered a mistake that must be corrected. Imperfectionism frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.
While the freedom of imperfectionism is impactful, it does not preclude us from having problems. Imperfectionists aren't so ironic as to have perfect lives, they're just happier, healthier, and more productive at doing what matters.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Want to be mediocre and be happy about it?

Then this book is for you. And I'm not saying that in a cynical way, but factually, this is a book sized pitch for mediocrity and how to be okay with it. Kind of like the western version of zen, or "if you can't have what you like, start liking what you have". If that's your goal (and honestly, it is not a bad goal, just isn't what I want), read this book. It'll give you useful strategies for achieving peace of mind and enjoying a life without striving for extremes and being happy with with what you can get without getting out of your comfort zone.

Having listened to this book right after "Elon Musk" by Ashlee Vance (a GREAT book) the contrast between the two philosophies couldn't be greater. Should Elon have read this book and took it to heart early in his career, we wouldn't have PayPal, Tesla and Space-X, but there would be a happy camper insignificant Elon Musk working on some minor project that he could do without "unreasonable" expectations and being such a controversial perfectionist shooting for the moon (quite literally) and refusing to give up no matter what, and refusing to settle for less no matter what. That's exactly what the book argues AGAINST. He even quotes psychology experiments that "prove" that aiming lower results in better performance (note: obviously, the selection of participants for the experiment must have skewed the result - if you design an experiment about "achievement" and only include average people, i.e. non-achievers like 99.99% of the population, then your experiment just proves that average people feel uncomfortable and perform less if they are stressed because of high expectations - the very stress that brings out the best in high achievers).

So, according to the author, the recipe for happiness is to aim for less to prevent disappointment. Really? Musk, Jobs, Bezos, Zuckerberg and many others would probably disagree. The BIG point the author misses: while MOST people don't believe that they are destined to or capable of or even need to achieve anything extraordinary (99.99% of the people are happy if they are healthy, have a happy family, no financial stress and an OK job - but you have to admit that that's really not much to aim for as one's "goals in life"), his approach, while safe for the masses, is a huge turnoff and NOT true for anyone trying to achieve BIG things.

If enough potential high achievers read this book, we can go back to hunting and gathering and be perfectly happy about it. Ironically, most of the things that made it possible for the author to create, and for me to read this book (the internet, online payments, audio books, my iPhone I used to listen to it,, etc.) wouldn't even exist if the creators of those breakthrough tools would have decided to suppress their urges to accomplishing great (always looking "unreasonable" at the time) revolutionary advancements in technology in favor of their "peace and happiness". Yet, that's what the author recommends for you and I to do.

I will admit that I AM a perfectionist and got this book because I thought it would give me strategies for getting the great results I want by being less of a perfectionist, but I got none of that from the book - instead, it tried to convince me to settle for less. No thanks.

On the other hand, if you actually are the kind of person who would trade achievements for comfort, if you don't mind not doing anything really significant with your life and you want to feel OK about it, this book will do a great job making you feel OK.

The narrator is great.

p.s. I corrected and improved this review about 30 times because I'm a perfectionist :-). If it was useful to you because it's well written, then that proves this book wrong :-)
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- A curious visitor

Please read 8,100,352 times

Where does How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the most life-changing books I have ever read and listened to and read and listened to. I'm guessing it would impact anyone's life in a very positive manner, if taken to heart. Guise takes aim at perfectionism in an honest, engaging way and the wonderful advice is easily applied. Guise has a lot of down-home clarity and he impresses me with his humility and transparency regarding his own struggles with perfectionism. I highly recommend it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism?

The discussion of analog vs. binary ways of evaluating our efforts was particularly helpful.

What about Daniel Penz’s performance did you like?

I found it hard to believe he is not Stephen Guise! Often when listening to recordings of books, I think the narrator is not understanding what he is reading; Penz reads it like he wrote it! He has a great voice and manner of speaking.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both - it was funny and made me laugh at the author and my own foolishness, but I also felt sad as I realized that I had created so much suffering for myself and others with my perfectionism, and that I had so little appreciated my own efforts, just because they were imperfect.

Any additional comments?

A must read for a healthy, productive life.

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- Sandra Makuch

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-16-2015
  • Publisher: Selective Entertainment, LLC