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Publisher's Summary

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we can't seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, Never good enough! and What will people think?

Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance, we might think its because we admire perfection, but that's not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are real; we're drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance.

There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what, and how were supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism, and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.

Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we're all in this together.

As Dr. Brown writes, "We need our lives back. It's time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection - the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives."

©2007 Brené Brown (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Brené Brown’s ability to explore shame and resilience with humor, vulnerability and honesty is both uplifting and liberating. If we want to change our lives, our relationships or even the world, we must start by understanding and overcoming the shame that keeps us silent. This important and hopeful book offers a bold new perspective on the power of telling our stories." (Professor Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient; Campaign Ambassador, International Campaign to Ban Landmines)
"Grounded in exceptional scholarship and filled with inspiring stories, this is one of those rare books that has the potential to turn lives around." (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger)
"I Thought It Was Just Me can be a doorway to freedom and self-esteem for many, many readers. (Martha Beck, Ph.D., columnist, O, The Oprah Magazine, and author of Finding Your Own North Star)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

I'm sure its great if you are a mother ....

I'm sure this book has a lot to offer to most women; unfortunately not so much for me. Most of the book focuses on motherhood and parenting.. I don't have children, so could not relate a good deal of the time and lost interest.

140 of 147 people found this review helpful

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  • Sherry
  • Calgary, Canada
  • 09-01-13

Missing Brene's own Vulnerability Voice

If you are one of the squillions who have watched Brene Brown on TedTalks or Oprah's Super Soul Sunday you may empathize with my review. I missed hearing the book narrated by Brene Brown herself. Lauren Fortgang's effort was not without merit, however after having been engaged by watching Brene then buying the books I missed her delivery of her own words.

The book itself was worth the investment, I've listened twice since purchasing.

78 of 82 people found this review helpful

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  • Stacey
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 07-23-12

Good self-help book; not well-suited for audio.

I thouroughly enjoyed Brené Brown's TED talks on vulnerability and shame; I had hoped that this book would be an expansion on those discussions by the author.
This book contains a lot of useful information and interesting anecdotes regarding overcoming shame, embracing reality, and having compassion for oneself and others. However, it is not written in a style that works well with audio. It contains many parts that I would just skim in a print book; it has reader exercises that would be more useful in a visual format; and there are parts that I would like to mark, think about, and come back to (not ealily done in this audio format).
A critique of the material is that it seems to focus primarily on women like Brown, herself: white, educated, mid-upper income, etc. Though there is a nod here and there to people who are not in those categories, it is pretty clear that this book does not do much to address the broader experience of people outside Brown's comfort zone. Then again, the audience that actually buys self-help books like this is primarily comprised of women, white, educated, mid-upper income, etc. (including me).

96 of 107 people found this review helpful

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Required Reading for Humankind

Would you listen to I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) again? Why?

I will most certainly listen again for the insight and information. But the narration should've been done by the author.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The story-like writing style

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

She did fine; I've just heard the author in interviews and I prefer the timbre of her voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Towards the end the author begins discussing her new research with men. While women seem to be caught in a web she finds that men are put in a box and punished when they try to escape. It reminded me of when my little brother started getting teased and bullied when he got too old (7 or 8 years old) not to stay in the box. Broke my heart again.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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This just wasn't for me...

Maybe this is more for a younger crowd, most women I know have accepted who they are and how they look and are not ashamed.

I was expecting to hear about deeper resonating aspects of shame. However, I am sure there may be some who need to read/hear this----particularly those plagued with bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Interesting but not for me

Definitely there were parts that I appreciated for being insightful and explaining things, soon the book became pretty boring and repetitive as it constantly circled around the issues of parenting and family.
I'm in my mid 20s, I'm still a student, and I have no interest in creating a family, let alone having children. A lot of the examples and discussions in the book simply weren't for me. I might re-visit it in 10-15 years when it becomes more relevant. That's really the only thing about this book that dissatisfied me, and of course that's a very subjective reason.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Important points, anemic delivery

What was most disappointing about Brené Brown’s story?

This book makes a number of interesting and relevant points. Unfortunately it’s not a smooth read/listen – it is much longer and more repetitive than it needs to be. The book has the appearance of something that was adapted from a thesis, but wasn’t rearranged to be reader friendly. I think that Brown’s evaluation of shame vs. humiliation vs. embarrassment is very important. I just wish it had been more clearly conveyed.

Did Lauren Fortgang do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Fortgang did a good job narrating this book. She sounded compassionate and sincere, and conveyed the emotion that I think Brown intended.

Any additional comments?

I believe the book could have been streamlined. Sharpening the points and examples and making the book about half the length would have made it far stronger.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave
  • Sherwood, Australia
  • 04-14-13

Wonderful insights

Would you consider the audio edition of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) to be better than the print version?

No. I would recommend reading this book over listening to it. The performance verges on annoying and I would've preferred to scan some sections throughout the book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Brenee's research into shame and the accompanying insights are fascinating and deeply helpful. She draws on countless interviews to populate her data with strong evidence.

What didn’t you like about Lauren Fortgang’s performance?

Repetitious and not subtle.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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For men as well as women

Although mostly geared towards women, men will find much in this regarding the women in their lives, and also regarding their own lives.

For any man who ever felt he didn't understand any important woman in his life, and wanted to be of help.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Such great material

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator was good however I prefer when read by Brene herself. There is so much helpful information in this book to help understand shame in our own lives and others. I will relisten to this book again soon because the material is so rich and I have so much to implement in my own life and work. Thanks Brene and support team!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 02-09-16

Truly the best self help book I have ever read.

What made the experience of listening to I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) the most enjoyable?

I am fifty two and have survived everything from success to near suicide and homelessness.<br/>I have endured a life of despair so intense that even soldiers and medics avoid me.<br/>No self help book ever helped me and I have read hundreds.<br/>This book is a very rare experience.<br/>The author promises nothing and yet<br/>delivers what I can only describe as life changing insight.<br/>There are no words to describe the reality of the changes which this author could help<br/>some people to inscribe into their actual lives.The retrieval of happiness.<br/>If ever compassion and genius were combined this is it..<br/>I believe that this book is up there with the great achievements of the human heart.<br/><br/>

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)?

Too many to choose.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Too many to choose,(genuinely).

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

You are not alone.

Any additional comments?

Need I say more.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • winnie
  • 08-05-15

Astounding

Should be on every single person's reading list. In one week I've overcome a massive hurdle and have started moving forward. Utterly brilliant

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Hippo
  • 06-21-16

Life changing

Wow, this changed my perspective on life so much. As a 'shame prone' person, I've found a tremendous wealth of information and support from this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Candida
  • 04-17-13

life changing buy this book

This book has finally unlocked the pain I have been carrying for over 40 years. wonderful book read by a warm narrator.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Fluent Breather
  • 11-23-15

for a female audience

I got an hour in until I definitely targeted towards a feminine audience. Didn't get this impression from the write up. would prefer a more balanced case study.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise MacFarlane
  • 04-11-15

Not Brene Herself

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • 01-28-17

awesome book

i have read a lot of Brene's books. i have found them and this book very inforative. epiphanies in every chapter.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenneal R.
  • 08-20-16

Another wonderful Brené Brown book!

Loved it so much I'm starting it again! As always, Brené gives wonderful insight in a powerful and, at times, humourous way. Great listen!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Milton
  • 06-21-16

Great book

Interesting book which has been an eye opener for me. Lengthy but a worthwhile listen. Def recommend.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-17

Interesting

Learnt a lot about shame, and connection ! And immensely enjoyed the narration as well.

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  • karen
  • 05-18-16

what I needed and wanted to hear 15 years ago

[{ "answer" : "Deep compassionate insightful", "type" : "Overall", "question" : "If you could sum up I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) in three words, what would they be?", "id" : 44, "typeString" : "overall" }, { "answer" : "That men go through shame just as much as women do.", "type" : "Story", "question" : "What was one of the most memorable moments of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)?", "id" : 7, "typeString" : "story" }, { "answer" : "The description of what listening isn't and how empathy looks like.", "type" : "Performance", "question" : "Which scene did you most enjoy?", "id" : 25, "typeString" : "performance" }, { "answer" : "yes", "type" : "Genre", "question" : "Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?", "id" : 55, "typeString" : "genre" }, { "answer" : "Can't wait to listen to the next one.", "type" : "Misc", "question" : "Any additional comments?", "id" : -1, "typeString" : "misc" } ]

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lesley
  • 06-24-17

A fantastic resource for women dealing with shame.

This book helps women to realise the different types of shame that we suffer from on a daily basis. And how to start dealing with it.

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  • T
  • 03-20-16

Brene Brown is my new guru

Having done a lot of spiritual work I am finding Brene as my next step to peace and self acceptance. Her work is bringing me a new level of compassion for myself and others. Great listen.

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  • jen810
  • 03-13-16

Very Interesting

I would have preferred Brene to have narrated it but was still good and will listen again