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Publisher's Summary

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares 10 guideposts on the power of Wholehearted Living - a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, "What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?"

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she's learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living - a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

In her 10 guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."

©2010 Brene Brown (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Courage, compassion, and connection: Through Brené's research, observations, and guidance, these three little words can open the door to amazing change in your life." (Ali Edwards, author of Life Artist)
"Bren Brown courageously tackles the dark emotions that get in the way of leading a fuller life; read this book and let some of that courage rub off on you." (Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of A Whole New Mind)
"This important book is about the lifelong journey from 'What will people think?' to 'I am enough.' Brown's unique ability to blend original research with honest storytelling makes reading The Gifts of Imperfection like having a long, uplifting conversation with a very wise friend who offers compassion, wisdom, and great advice.' (Harriet Lerner, New York Times best-selling author of The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Connection)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Buy 'The Power of Vulnerability' Instead!

This book is amazing, except it is the exact same content as the power of vulnerability, which is narrated by Berne Brown herself. The work just seems much deeper and the stories a lot richer when you hear it from the author directly. When I say they're the same I really mean it. Same stories, same content, same organization.

170 of 172 people found this review helpful

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  • oaf
  • Tampa, FL
  • 03-11-13

good work--not a how to

One thing I must say is that I do NOT like this rating system...this work is not a novel, and what does performance mean? The work is based on Brown's research. It expands on the YouTube videos. I wish we could all have the courage to work though the issues that she puts to paper (so to speak). I have read this book much the same way as I do many of the books like this, which are in my library--helter skelter and then go back to the beginning and read it beginning to end.

I study this work from a slightly different angle. Our imperfections are our gifts--what we bring to the table to make this a better place to live. Reading with an open heart is essential otherwise the person walks away disappointed and put off. Brown's work is not a how to. Her work does give real to life examples that requires us to listen and then do the work--does it speak to you and if so then search for your solution and do your work. She makes visible the shift of consciousness. Well worth the time.

52 of 53 people found this review helpful

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Really powerful

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gifts of Imperfection?

I really enjoyed the authors humor throughout.

Which character – as performed by Lauren Fortgang – was your favorite?

I have heard the author's talk on TED (highly recommended) so I have heard her speak and really enjoy her speaking style. She has a snappy, dry wit that would have been most enjoyable to listen to. But the reader's voice is pleasant.

Any additional comments?

This book came along at a perfect time for me. I have been accompanied by shame my entire life, this book showed me how to process shame and negativity instead of carrying them around with me. It not only discussed the topic but showed me new ways to move forward. I can truly say I am and my relationships are better for having listened to this book and I will listen over and over. <br/><br/>P.S. To the reviewers point about the book dealing too heavily with children and family issues. I do not have children and found it perfectly enjoyable and was able to extrapolate the point the author was trying to make. It is not a book on or about family. It's about how we choose to live our lives. The author has children and that is the paradigm she speaks from. It by no means diminishes the meaning for those of us without.

80 of 83 people found this review helpful

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Makes valuable points about dealing with shame

This was a valuable book that I may later re-read. The author, Brene Brown, relates various fears, such as the fear of failure and the fear of rejection, to the overriding emotion of shame. I found most of her ideas to be well presented and on point.

The author doesn't venture much into religion, but where she does, she doesn't commit to anything, she just has a very vague view of how that fits into her world view. I didn't agree with her vague views and found them distracting in relation to the rest of the book. She sounded like she was tryng too hard to not offend anyone to present a real perspective on the spiritual aspect of the human experience.

She did, however, provide a clear explanation of just how the fear of shame impacts and even creates a lot of the other emotions that account for many of our actions. I've actually never heard an author address this topic in this way, and I found it refreshing to hear such a frank discussion of such an important aspect of our existance that we would rather forget about. Ms. Brown reminds us that facing shame and our fear of it can free us to be brave and to forgive ourselves enough to experience joy.

The narrator has such a wonderful voice for this type of book. She is simultaneously encouraging and calming. Her voice is sweet with a natural cadence that keeps you engaged. I listened to the book at a speed of 1.5 and found Lauren Fortgang's performance to be perfect.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a problem with the fear of failure and rejection or who feels that no matter what they do, they are somehow doing the wrong thing and missing out on life. It won't, of course, address every problem in life, but you might gain some perspectve that will help you to see some of your problems in the light of how you relate to shame, and that might help you to make better decisions. After all, isn't that the most one can expect out of a self-help book? Just don't take her vague religious ideas too seriously.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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A light hearted yet affectionaly dense work.

This book was both true to its title, and extremely eye opening. Dig deep, Dr. Brown uses stories effectively to show us the shell of conformity that constrains both our joy and our happiness. Love is not a feeling its a behavior. I strongly recommend it.

Gare Henderson

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Can this book be re-recorded by Brene Brown?

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I am going to have to read this book instead of listening to the Audible version. The artist utilized has such a high pitched voice, whistles her "s", and has a hard "g" at the end of words. I find it impossible to concentrate on the writing!

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

Yes. Set time aside on a Saturday.

69 of 76 people found this review helpful

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A Must Read (or Listen)!

Brene Brown is one of my favorite researchers in the field of emotional study. The Gifts of Imperfection is a great illustration of what it means to life a full life along with operational goals and definitions of words like shame, authenticity, and vulerability. She uses anecdotes and research to make these points in a powerful way.

My only disappointment with the audio book is the narrator, who is not at all a bad narrator, just isn't at all like Brene Brown. Like many people, I became aware of Brene Brown's work after her TED talk went viral ("The Power of Vulnerability") in June 2010. Her voice and way of speaking is moving and powerful to say the least. I was disappointed not to hear her voice on the audiobook since she's inspiring, funny, and kind of comforting to me.

**Campaign for Brene Brown to read her audio books!!** Other than that, I loved it :)

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Feel good therapy session

Reading this book is like a "feel good" session with a therapist. It encourages you to let go of your imperfections and live more whole heartedly. When listening to the stories in the book, you realize all those little negative thoughts that stop you from being authentic (for example, "he's being a jerk" instead of "he said something that was true and painful). The journey towards wholehearted living is a practice you would do everyday (or try as much as you can). I'm sure the key points that I take away from this book now are those things meaningful to me at this point in my life. I plan to read the book again and see if I find other things to work on.

51 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • BOULDER, CO, United States
  • 05-23-12

Okay but not great

I bought this book after watching an amazing youtube video of her Ted Talk. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like this book gave me that much more insight than her 15 minute talk did. The author kept referring to herself as a “researcher” but she didn’t include any of her research! She summed her findings up for us, but we didn’t get to hear any of the specifics. Instead, she talked about her own life (which is only semi-interesting). And she also spent a lot of time defining key terms, which also got old after a while. It was nice that she opened up and made the book personal, but it would have been more compelling to hear about other people’s stories and experiences (such as all those people she was supposedly researching) to help illustrate her points. Using her own life as the only example came acrosss as self-involved, and it really limited the whole scope of the book. She should have included her own story in the introduction as a way of framing her main points and then delved into the research in the body of the book.

123 of 137 people found this review helpful

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Funny, great narrator and good advice

Would you consider the audio edition of The Gifts of Imperfection to be better than the print version?

I've never read the print version

Would you be willing to try another book from Brene Brown? Why or why not?

Absolutely. Love her sense of humor, the obvious amount of research she puts into her subject matter, and how she personalizes all of that into a very down-to-earth, intelligent book about how to get over yourself and live life more fully. <br/>She gives lots of quotes from other authors, recommends their books, gives a pep talk but in a non-corny way (for the most part). I did get a little tired of the repetitious "How do you dig deep?" I could have done without ever hearing that more than once and it's throughout the entire book. Along with that question is the "breakdown/, strike that, spiritual breakthrough" or something like that. You'd think I would remember but I think I purposely blocked it out because it was sorta but not really funny the first time I heard it. It was making me want to throw things out my window at other cars on the freeway by the hundredth time I'd heard it. Which is a a little bit against what I'm trying to learn here - to be a little more patient with other people and myself. I'm wanting to free myself of some bad habits at work, home, and in my head. It's a special little playground for my sickest thoughts. She gave really good advice with excellent research and references to back up what she was saying.<br/><br/> I felt as though she was a good friend of mine siting in the backyard telling life stories together. It just was't my turn yet but it didn't matter because I was transfixed by her and her descriptions of how she came to her realizations personally and professionally. The narrator was so good that I thought it was actually the author until I looked to see for myself. This was very inspiring in a barefoot in the backyard drinkin a brew and talkin with my girlfriend kinda way. Except this girlfriend is sober, funny, unbelievably intelligent and caring.<br/><br/>kinda like most of my girlfriends are anyway. :)

Have you listened to any of Lauren Fortgang’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I know of

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

I didn't want to stop listening and actually enjoyed my 2.5 hour commute yesterday morning coming in to work rather than trying to stay awake and in a positive frame of mind while battling Houston rush-hour traffic.

Any additional comments?

Loved it! Definitely gonna listen to another one of Brene' Brown's books and I'll probably look up some other stuff the narrator has done too. I loved her voice.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-01-12

Learn how to accept yourself

I found this book really easy to listen to. I like the narrator's style. The book was a series of strories with a life application and a good dose of humour and down-to-earthness. I found it made a lot of sense. It is not a list of "how to"s which I found a refreshing change. I am planning to listen to it again to make sure I squeeze every last drop of value out of it...

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Gem
  • 09-03-17

Amazing

This is not a book you read one time.... nor do you read without pen, paper and highlighters.... as Brenes Browns admire Oprah would say.....a book of Dind Ding ah ha moments

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-16-17

Brenè Brown speaks from the heart

Absolutely loved it. Narrator was a bit annoying at times but Brenè is a true gem. Funny, open and honest. It's a true journey that makes you think about your own life and owning your own imperfections.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. K. D. Chadha
  • 06-13-17

Not for me

I thought that the author had interesting perspective to give as she had been researching shame resilience such a niche area for such a long time. However, I didn't feel like the book added very much to my life and if anything complicates things which in reality are not that complicated in my opinion. Nevertheless, I did find the book uplifting and positive. However, the content just didn't resonate with me.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • 03-26-17

Outstanding and life-changing.

The most intuitive, emotionally-intelligent boobs I have ever read. Recommended for everyone who have feelings or interact with other human beings!!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ilias P
  • 01-22-17

excellent material

this book is essential for everyone. it is very basic however a must listen. I will be suggesting that book to my team

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandra W
  • 01-24-14

Brilliant and very helpful.

If you could sum up The Gifts of Imperfection in three words, what would they be?

Thought-provoking. Helpful. Insightful.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gifts of Imperfection?

Realising I did some of the things mentioned and I could easily change this.

What about Lauren Fortgang’s performance did you like?

It was fine, she sounded like she was actually talking to you rather than reading but was a little robotic sounding when reading quotes.

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

Be yourself: Life is too short to worry about what others think.

Any additional comments?

Definitely worth listening too, give it a chance it may just change your life.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Casey
  • 04-07-13

fantastic, wise and witty

I love this book - if you've seen Brene Brown's TED talk you'll already know her style - impassioned, funny and inpeciably researched. This book's practical in it's focus - lots of tools and ideas to help improve your ability to live a more 'whole hearted' life. The only disappointment is that Brene Brown doesn't narrate it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Astrid
  • 08-03-11

Insightful and thought provoking

I finished this book today and really REALLY loved it. For anyone sceptical about "self help" books this offers a refreshing change, and as a qualitative researcher Brene Brown has a scientific approach, but the book isn't dry or dull as a result. She is humorous, empathetic and I am looking forward to reading more by the same author. I thought the only pity was that she didn't narrate the book herself, as she is an excellent public speaker, and the book was personal - though saying that the narrator did a fantastic job!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • kyle
  • 06-15-15

Very inspiring

Really enjoyed this book. The chapters going through the ten guideposts are very informative. I feel inspired to bring about changes in my life. Would wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Belinda
  • 01-13-15

Fantastic down to earth book

Absolutely loved it. Brene is a genius wrapped up in the girl next door demeanour. Brilliant, insightful and life transforming.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-19-16

Mind spinning fun for your thoughts.

This is the 4th book of hers I have listened too. She shines a light on emotion from the inside out. If your life was a film, Brene would remove you as the main character and makes you the director. From here you can control and experience all that life is, not just participate in it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Birznieks
  • 04-20-17

Surprisingly challenging but inspiring

Loved the research based insights, skilfully and refreshingly communicated by a humble and generous professional and everyday human like the rest of us. It will challenge your thinking - particularly if you're a bit of perfectionist but also provides practical advice leaving you inspired about the future. Took me a few chapters to really get into it - fair few examples based on being a 'mom' - but will be playing it again for sure. Highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca Newman
  • 01-08-17

Just superb, especially for the high performer

If you're a high achiever, you'll get so much value out of this book. It's encouraging, heartening, and just plain smart. It leaves you feeling lighter, with a spring in your step.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • April Oakley
  • 10-26-16

Wonderful book

This really opened my eyes! Having struggled with numbing behaviours due to several mental illnesses, I can honestly say these words have helped, Brené is such a courageous woman ❤️

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jarrod-Casey
  • 04-25-16

great messages

I believe that the messages within this book is relevant to everyone. Whether you are a parent, an executive, a house wife/husband... the messages are clear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 03-15-16

A wonderful book.

This thought provoking and well written book is inspiring and educational. I highly recommend it. The topics discussed are well researched and well delivered. I also love the personal and intimate stories shared by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna Menown
  • 12-06-17

Disappointed

Read, The power of vulnerability, by the same author. this book was not nearly as good and repeated a lot of the same points.
I'd definatelly recommend The Power of vulnerability, but not this.

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  • Elisabeth -Angel
  • 11-16-17

Awakening

Absolutely loved this! Easy listening, learnt so much, very grateful. A must for your library.

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  • matthew
  • 08-14-17

wafty

i wanted to like the book. i have heard positive reviews but i was underwhelmed. it reads more like a pep talk from someone who means well but is Brady bunch.. wanted it to be about the root of imperfection. The role that the psyche plays in shielding our hurts and why it is a double edged sword. Finding peace with our born physical, emotional, intellectual limitations. The human condition and where to next. I recommend micheal singer, untethered soul and the power of now by Elkhart tolle. Go from there...