The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

After diving into the research on shame, the author tackles the question, what does wholehearted living look like. She studies what is called qualitative research, as opposed to quantitative. The results are laid out as 10 guideposts to put into practice if your desire is wholehearted living.

In this groundbreaking New York Times best seller, Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor and thought leader on vulnerabilitycourageworthiness, and shame, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
Gifts of imperfection book, coffee cup, and computer

Picture of Gifts of imperfection book


Rather than the model of living from fear, judgement and isolation, the author’s research repeatedly pointed to courage, compassion and connection, which she calls the gifts of imperfection.

From guidepost #1 of cultivating authenticity to #10 cultivating laughter, song and dance Brené fleshes out what each means and how we can incorporate them into our lives. Drawing on numerous stories from her life and thousands of contacts over the years she brings each guidepost to life and draws the reader into seeing the importance of each. Every guidepost is followed by dig deep, get inspired and get going sections to implement the new desired action.

In a sea of self-help books, this one felt like a life raft. Brené Brown has a way of making you feel like you’re doing just fine. I loved how she included stories to illustrate the aspect of wholehearted living she was showcasing in each guidepost. Consider this fact, as the author calls it, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men and children.”

Inviting the reader to begin practicing rather than guilting or shaming into changing the way we talk to ourselves, treat ourselves and trust ourselves was a breath of fresh air.

She covers things that get in the way of wholehearted living and reiterates that meaningful change is a process that can be uncomfortable and risky, but so worth it. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with negativity, perfectionism, self-worth, or really anything!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”

About the author:

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead.

Brené hosts the Unlocking Us Podcast and the Dare to Lead Podcast. Her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service in April 2019.

You can also read the book along with their Gifts of Imperfection podcasts. 

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