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Publisher's Summary

We're all laboring under our own and society's expectations to be perfect in every way: to look younger, to make more money, to be happy all the time. But according to Tal Ben-Shahar, the New York Times best-selling author of Happier, the pursuit of perfect may actually be the number-one internal obstacle to finding happiness.

Applying cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology - the scientific principles taught in his wildly popular course at Harvard University - Ben-Shahar takes us off the impossible pursuit of perfection and directs us to the way to happiness, richness, and true fulfillment. He shows us the freedom derived from not trying to do it all right all the time and the real lessons that failure and painful emotions can teach us. He provides exercises for self reflection, meditations, and "Time-Ins" to help you rediscover what you really want out of life.

©2009 Tal Ben-Shahar (P)2009 HighBridge Company.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Life changing

think the title of the book could be misleading for some people, as many wouldn't label themselves as perfectionists , Tal Ben Shahar proves in his theory that we all have struggles in perfectionism in one field of life or another which is very true to me. I prefer to call this book: The book of change, in which the author takes us into a journey of self reflections, self insights & subsequently a chance for a meaningful change only through the HARD WORK of sincere implementations of the exercises.
His unique writing style mingles philosophy & the best of academic research in cognitive psychology all together in a persuasive presentation. The exercises are persuasive enough because they all stand on the solid ground of empirical evidence.
What took me in awe were the closing 10 meditations, or better to call them the 10 wisdoms .
In conclusion, a unique work indeed, bringing a deeper and more mature level, for a more happier life.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

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Highest recommendations possible!

I read this book in an effort to branch out and read something different than my usual choices of fiction, philosophy and psychology textbooks. I was expecting the book to be sort of "self-helpy" and honestly just hoped I would learn at least one helpful nugget of information. However, it turned out to be right up my alley and delivered countless nuggets of illumination. Tal Ben-Shahar delivers an impressive survey of perfectionism in a way that is scientific and engaging and as a result the book connects on a deeply personal level mentally and emotionally. He systematically outlines both the root causes and the wide range of effects of the perfectionist mindset. He covers work ethic, self regard and ways of viewing personal success and failure- but he also examines perfectionism's wider implications. Ben-Shahar traces perfectionism back to Plato, contrasts him with Aristotle, and proceeds to outline perfectionism's effects in the realms of education, politics and moral philosophy. He also covers perfectionism with regard to parenting and aging. While drawing on expert research, historical lessons, and personal stories, the author breaks downs the dichotomy between the driven overachiever and the lazy slacker. I could not recommend this book more! This is the most life-changing thing I have read in 3 years. The reader wasn't great, but the book was so good, it didn't really matter.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Gave up on perfectionism before writing the book

This book was okay. I did appreciate all the personal anecdotes Ben-Shahar included, but would have preferred more prescriptive or actionable recommendations. He spends a lot of time expounding on the theory behind perfectionism and how it plays out in real life, but doesn't cite much evidence (at least in audiobook format) to suggest whether this is a) real findings or b) his interpretation. The book made me feel bad about myself for being a perfectionist, but was either too vague or possibly too easy to tune out for me to walk away with any clear notion of what I should do to STOP being a perfectionist. "Yes, I should be an optimalist! ....how again?" It may be simply that this one works better on paper. I might listen to it again someday, but probably not any time soon.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Comprehensive and good listen

The author discusses perfectionism within a number of contexts. I particularly liked the discussion of perfectionism within relationships. The narrator is good also.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 01-02-13

Dry and laborious

Really struggled to stay with this book - the narration didn't help make the material any more engaging either.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Reference book.

I bought two of these in hardback after having listened to it. A voice of reason and a balancing source. The pursuit of perfect will not bring happiness and here is why. Highly reckommended!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Worthwhile but tedious

Not exactly a spellbinder. Not that you would expect that from a book of this type. Main thesis is that there are perfectionists and optimalists. Perfectionists are never satisfied with themselves or anyone else. Optimalists accept reality and make the best of what they have. They can live with "good enough" and always look at the glass as half full. I'm glad I listened to the audio version because I would never have gotten through the book. Too many quotes and citations, does this author have any original ideas? This book was neither perfect nor optimal. I suggest looking at other self enhancement titles.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Live Oak, TX, USA
  • 06-17-10

Boring reader, recycled info

This information is out there in many forms already. But if you've never heard/read it before, then this is a good (but long) representation. Also, the reader is so bland. I literally listened to this a few times before bed, because he lulled me to sleep.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • ARACELI
  • Burgaw, NC, United States
  • 08-28-10

Pursuit of Perfect

Excellent. I really enjoyed the author professional way of explaining what happens when looking for perfection.
I will be looking for more books from Tal Ben-Shahar

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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True gem

Forever changed my life a true gem. I know this will be a book I will revisit forever.

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  • A86
  • 01-14-17

Revealing. Brilliant.

This amazing book is about honesty, about accepting your shortcomings and reality at the end of the day.
All this by not resigning yourself in front of your shortcomings, but by being liberated and feeling hopeful to accept and change towards your own happiness.
Absolutely brilliant! I will definitely make it my guide in my process of shifting to an optimalist approach.

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  • Nina Weissman
  • 08-22-16

Worth reading, for health, happiness, and success.

Would you listen to Pursuit of Perfect again? Why?

Yes.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pursuit of Perfect?

All of it was worth listening to for health happiness success etc.

Any additional comments?

Worth reading, for health, happiness, and success.