Sunday, November 6, 2016

Auntie's 2016 Bookworm Challenge 15

Book:  The Gifts of Imperfection. 

Author:  Brene' Brown

Info: Copyright 2010, Center City, MN:  Hazelden Publishing

Where acquired: Gift from my mentor.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # #

What it's about:  Dr. Brown has done extensive research on shame and vulnerability.  The experience of this research led her to study the components of an authentic life.  The imperfect life she speaks of is not imperfect in that everything is wrong, but imperfect because that life  doesn't look like society says it's supposed to.  Her themes of courage, connection, and compassion and her ten guideposts of life draw the reader to seek authenticity and wholehearted living.

Favorite Quotes:

"When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness--the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging." - p. 23.

"...the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering." - p. 26.

"'To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself--means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight--and never stop fighting.'" E. E. Cummings. - p. 51

"Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing.  It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.."  p 108

What I Liked:
  • The author doesn't refer to this work as a self-help book, and it's not.  Self-help denotes self improvement outside of community.  Successful implementation of the concepts of the book require connection.
  • Dr. Brown seemed to be reading my mind and attitude in much of what she wrote. This gives her writings universality and genuineness.
  • Her research wasn't simply based on the lives of others, she has experienced the process herself.  In other words, it's not just "do as I say because my research says so," she's actually lived it.
  • I love her use of humor. 
  • She is an academic--a researcher, but the book doesn't bog down in obfuscation.  In other words, she doesn't talk eight pounds to word; she gets it said intelligently, but without patronizing language.
What I didn’t like: 
  • There is some strong language (cussing) in the book.  It doesn't permeate the text, but it's there.  It's nothing I haven't heard (or said), and it's not drunk uncle language, so it doesn't bother me.  However, some people may be offended by it.
  • This is a moot point, but I don't like Dr. Brown's take on the phrase "bless your heart."  She sees the phrase as passive aggressive.  Maybe in Texas, but here in the deep South, that's not how it's used.  It's not even a major point in the book, but it bugged me.
Takeaway:  I first came across Brene' Brown's work when I viewed a 99U speech on creativity and criticism (the video is below), so I knew her materials would be helpful. 

Dr. Brown's book has been a major game changer in my life.  I've walked around carrying feelings of shame and the overwhelming message that who I am and what I do is never enough.  Reading this has given me weapons and strategies to begin overcoming these obstacles of authentic living.  I'll definitely read more of Brene' Brown's work.

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