• How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

  • By: Stephen Guise
  • Narrated by: Daniel Penz
  • Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (669 ratings)

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How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

By: Stephen Guise
Narrated by: Daniel Penz
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Publisher's Summary

I remember when I aimed for perfect workouts: 30 minutes was the minimum.

I was in lousy shape.

I remember when I aimed for perfect dating: it couldn't be awkward, forced, or uncertain.

I didn't talk to women I was interested in.

I remember when I aimed for perfect writing: I wanted 1,000+ words of quality material per day.

I played video games instead.

I carefully avoided mistakes, endlessly ruminated about what I didn't do, and what I did do wasn't enough.

Then, I became an imperfectionist.

Everything changed. I had fun stories to tell, like the lesbian pizza incident and the most nervous "Hi" ever spoken by a human being. I learned more. I laughed more. I lived more.

I got in great shape, read more books, and improved my social skills. I wrote Mini Habits, which is being translated into a dozen languages.

I found I could mess up and still win.

Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. For example, kids are taught to color inside the lines, and any color outside the lines is considered a mistake that must be corrected. Imperfectionism frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.

While the freedom of imperfectionism is impactful, it does not preclude us from having problems. Imperfectionists aren't so ironic as to have perfect lives, they're just happier, healthier, and more productive at doing what matters.

©2015 Stephen Guise (P)2015 Stephen Guise

What listeners say about How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

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Please read 8,100,352 times

Where does How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the most life-changing books I have ever read and listened to and read and listened to. I'm guessing it would impact anyone's life in a very positive manner, if taken to heart. Guise takes aim at perfectionism in an honest, engaging way and the wonderful advice is easily applied. Guise has a lot of down-home clarity and he impresses me with his humility and transparency regarding his own struggles with perfectionism. I highly recommend it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism?

The discussion of analog vs. binary ways of evaluating our efforts was particularly helpful.

What about Daniel Penz’s performance did you like?

I found it hard to believe he is not Stephen Guise! Often when listening to recordings of books, I think the narrator is not understanding what he is reading; Penz reads it like he wrote it! He has a great voice and manner of speaking.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both - it was funny and made me laugh at the author and my own foolishness, but I also felt sad as I realized that I had created so much suffering for myself and others with my perfectionism, and that I had so little appreciated my own efforts, just because they were imperfect.

Any additional comments?

A must read for a healthy, productive life.

19 people found this helpful

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Want to be mediocre and be happy about it?

Then this book is for you. And I'm not saying that in a cynical way, but factually, this is a book sized pitch for mediocrity and how to be okay with it. Kind of like the western version of zen, or "if you can't have what you like, start liking what you have". If that's your goal (and honestly, it is not a bad goal, just isn't what I want), read this book. It'll give you useful strategies for achieving peace of mind and enjoying a life without striving for extremes and being happy with with what you can get without getting out of your comfort zone.

Having listened to this book right after "Elon Musk" by Ashlee Vance (a GREAT book) the contrast between the two philosophies couldn't be greater. Should Elon have read this book and took it to heart early in his career, we wouldn't have PayPal, Tesla and Space-X, but there would be a happy camper insignificant Elon Musk working on some minor project that he could do without "unreasonable" expectations and being such a controversial perfectionist shooting for the moon (quite literally) and refusing to give up no matter what, and refusing to settle for less no matter what. That's exactly what the book argues AGAINST. He even quotes psychology experiments that "prove" that aiming lower results in better performance (note: obviously, the selection of participants for the experiment must have skewed the result - if you design an experiment about "achievement" and only include average people, i.e. non-achievers like 99.99% of the population, then your experiment just proves that average people feel uncomfortable and perform less if they are stressed because of high expectations - the very stress that brings out the best in high achievers).

So, according to the author, the recipe for happiness is to aim for less to prevent disappointment. Really? Musk, Jobs, Bezos, Zuckerberg and many others would probably disagree. The BIG point the author misses: while MOST people don't believe that they are destined to or capable of or even need to achieve anything extraordinary (99.99% of the people are happy if they are healthy, have a happy family, no financial stress and an OK job - but you have to admit that that's really not much to aim for as one's "goals in life"), his approach, while safe for the masses, is a huge turnoff and NOT true for anyone trying to achieve BIG things.

If enough potential high achievers read this book, we can go back to hunting and gathering and be perfectly happy about it. Ironically, most of the things that made it possible for the author to create, and for me to read this book (the internet, online payments, audio books, my iPhone I used to listen to it, Amazon.com, etc.) wouldn't even exist if the creators of those breakthrough tools would have decided to suppress their urges to accomplishing great (always looking "unreasonable" at the time) revolutionary advancements in technology in favor of their "peace and happiness". Yet, that's what the author recommends for you and I to do.

I will admit that I AM a perfectionist and got this book because I thought it would give me strategies for getting the great results I want by being less of a perfectionist, but I got none of that from the book - instead, it tried to convince me to settle for less. No thanks.

On the other hand, if you actually are the kind of person who would trade achievements for comfort, if you don't mind not doing anything really significant with your life and you want to feel OK about it, this book will do a great job making you feel OK.

The narrator is great.

p.s. I corrected and improved this review about 30 times because I'm a perfectionist :-). If it was useful to you because it's well written, then that proves this book wrong :-)

18 people found this helpful

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No, no, no...

This may be a wonderful book that will be helpful to many people in overcoming perfectionistic traits. I don't know, because I had to bail on it after only 20 minutes of listening. Within this time, the author suggests that anorexia nervosa is the result of a person's desire to attain the "perfect weight." This is utter nonsense. It is a complex psychological condition, the exact causes of which are unknown, and with a likely predisposing genetic factor. For anyone to make the claim that they have done "research" to support their theories, and then propound this kind of nonsense, strikes me as someone who has taken tolerance for "imperfection" to an unacceptable level. Gah!

I wonder if the author supposes that no one with this condition will read his book? Has he considered the possibility that he might actually be doing harm to that person? People with mental illnesses are vulnerable, and their welfare should be taken into consideration by anyone discussing mental illness in any context. There is a difference between being particular about certain things and being "OCD." There is a difference between feeling nervous about entering new situations and having "social anxiety." Not everyone who is nerdy is "on the spectrum." I do wish we, as a society and as individuals, would exhibit more sensitivity in the ways we discuss mental illnesses, and avoid such casual references to things that very real people struggle with in very real ways.

15 people found this helpful

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THANK YOU FOR THIS BOOK.

Honestly, I started listening to this on audible and just could not seem to “put it down” or pause it. During all my trips from and to work and other places I listened to this book in the car and every time it spoke to me SO much I struggled with this idea of perfectionism for such a long time, I couldn’t quite describe it or explain it to people what was going on in my head I just KNEW that I was feeling like a complete failure, I had been inactive and stagnant after losing 40+ lbs and gaining it all back within like 8 months, striving to do everything perfectly exercise at 7am, run 30 min do 2 sets of abs anything short of that was a bad workout, this mindset led me to binge eating, I put extremely unrealistic and high expectations on myself and OTHERS in my life, it was ruining relationships, it was mentally draining, I didn’t know what was going on WHY I couldn’t just get it together and act like a normal person. The weight gain only increased my self hate and guilt, I had stopped doing things I enjoyed doing like hanging out in groups because I thought everyone was judging me in their heads. It was honestly just a dark and ugly place I downloaded this book from audible on my phone and I kid you not the first chapter had me hooked, Stephen explained one step at a time EXACTLY what was going on with me I could finally express myself to people and say I had been trying to be a perfectionist and I forgot my identity and humanity. I apologized to people, I started “rebellions” against my needs for approval and I FELT FREEDOM again after a lonnnng time!!! Thank you for this book. This is my first book by Stephen but I have already downloaded Mini Habits. Can’t wait. Life changing.

11 people found this helpful

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Awful narration makes a decent book worse

I wasn’t sure what was worse: the awful narrator that reminded me of a sleazy salesman who used finger guns to make himself seem more likable or the frequent attempts at lame humor spread throughout the book or just the awful advice that sometimes makes you question how much you should take the rest of what he’s saying seriously. For example, he says that in order to stop anxiety, stop being anxious! Really? He also seems to like to brag about how his book is a best seller and is being translated into many languages. His insecurities really come out throughout the book, and it’s off-putting.

10 people found this helpful

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Very Disappointed

Author literally spent the first 3 chapters hawking his other products. I’m not easily offended but this sent me over the edge.

9 people found this helpful

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Just Not Right

The narrator or the book make it really hard to follow. Is he reading a subtitle or what? The author kept mentioning avoidance is how perfectionists deal with things and they watch a ton of TV to escape how they are?? I've never heard of such an odd way to look at it and it is not how I am at all. I am a workaholic with my own business and cannot relax because I'm always trying to be perfect! I hate watching TV! I strive to please everyone and I'm fine listening about my flaws so I can change and be my best, but after 2 hours, I couldn't relate or take it anymore, between the author and the narrator, I'm glad this was one of my free starting audiobooks.

7 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

What was most disappointing about Stephen Guise’s story?

The author uses the same few examples over and over. Unfortunately, these examples were limited in scope as I believe all or at least the great majority were only based on one person (the author himself). While absolutely valid examples, I was looking for a wider range that would be more applicable.

How could the performance have been better?

The author slips into a condescending/shaming voice when referring to his past perfectionistic perspective. I found this quite sad and discouraging. It made me feel sad that he seemed to be shaming his "past self" rather than having empathy for himself as he looked back on his own story.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Sadness & Disappointment

Any additional comments?

The author seems as though he may have more to offer, as he continues through his own journey.

6 people found this helpful

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Superb - This book identified my source issue

The narrator is great.
The book content spot on in the source of anxiety and depression, forgiveness...

Will see. I just read it, but this book might have saved my life.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Misleading Title

i thought the title was misleading. talked mostly about women's shame issues instead of perfectionism.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sofia
  • 10-07-19

Revelations for perfectionists

I struggle a lot with perfectionism and I thought it’s not possible to fix it. The tips in the book are amazing and the stories are very relatable. I have applied Stephen’s advice straight away and felt a lot lighter and more confident to act. If you have a slither of suspicion that you might be a perfectionist, read it. Social anxiety, procrastination and rumination are all symptoms of perfectionism. Many thanks to the author!!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bob Unsworth
  • 10-11-15

Inspiration to act differently

What did you like most about How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism?

I first read this book on Kindle and while I understood it intectually, it didn't motivate me to act differently. The Audible version is somehow (for me at least) easier to internalise.

What other book might you compare How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism to, and why?

Buddhism for Busy People. Not for the religious aspects, but for the recommendations on taking charge of your own life.

What about Daniel Penz’s performance did you like?

I found the narration very engaging.

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

I never feel compelled to consume any audio books in one sitting. I completed it in around 3 days, with time to digest the content between listens.

Any additional comments?

I just downloaded Mini Habits by the same author (I already have it in Kindle format) to see if that is also more compelling as an audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carl
  • 10-28-20

Very helpful and informative.

The information in this audio book is very helpful if you struggle with starting projects, as an illustrator I sometimes find it daunting to start or finsh a project, the most helpful part to me is changing the mindset to approaching perfectionism. In society today we are taught that attaining perfectionism is an achievable goal and the most sought after goal, in reality you are just chasing the dragon, perfectionism is a disease of the mind, an unhealthy look on reality, this books breaks down the mini habits to approaching action instead of procrastination, in dealing with the unhealthy mindset mini goal are advised. You might have to listen to the book a few times to familiarise yourself with changing your outlook to life like me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • 03-09-16

Perfect for perfectionists

After so many other books have failed to pinpoint my problem this one just worked!
It uses a great mix of charming analogy and scientific evidence to point out where problems lie and sets out so many great techniques to move forward in a lasting way!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-16-22

very relatable. joyful. actually helped

I recommend this book for whoever find themselves struggling to feel good no matter how hard effort the put in. for those whose self esteem take a dive with every mistake and chance of criticism. for those who struggle to start actions because they dread results being just average or even a failure.

This book help to start actions and to raise self esteem. help to accept self reality of being flawd humans so life can be easier to live.

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  • Raim
  • 02-10-22

Some really interesting ideas

For me the book was well read and had some really interesting thoughts on pursuing excellence but avoiding perfectionism. I also liked the ideas around breaking through over-analysis. I was less interested in the programme involving mini habits. In summary I enjoyed the first part, but found the second part less useful to me

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  • Sophie Thompson
  • 11-12-21

Nothing groundbreaking

This book has no real original ideas past the obvious and the narration is overly American and salesy in tone. It gets quite annoying. I got over half way but absolutely nothing was sinking in so I’ve given up.

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  • John Howard
  • 04-08-21

great content

I liked that the content was to the point and not padded with too much gumption and repition.
the main concept and idea was an eye opener for me if I have started putting some of the tequniques into practice already!
Thanks.

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  • Diana Boskma
  • 08-27-20

Great info

this was great info.
I'm going to implement this into my life. it will help me focus and move forward better and faster.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-20

Amazing book

Really insightful and useful for people struggling to move forward and make decisions. Perfectionism impacts so many of us so it’s really useful to be aware of it and try to fight it. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-14-19

This is a must read for anyone who struggles!

I really enjoyed the practical no nonsense advise! I will be listening to this book over and over again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alan C. Bartlett
  • 06-08-20

Love this book

The first book I’ve read which has given me hope that I may finally be able to kick perfectionism to the kerb. Can’t rate it highly enough!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-19

Well worth the listen

I am in the midst of my first year of teaching. I knew it would be hard but had no idea I would feel so hopeless. I was looking for advice to get me through the hard times ahead and this book certainly delivers. I was putting far to much pressure on myself and basically had to learn that good enough is good enough and just to focus on the process. Thanks for this book, it might of saved my career.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-17-21

Find another book..

So much unnecessary content and an overexplanation of concepts. I needed to skip through most of the content. Dont bother with first 4 chapters. Narrator was painful and "cocky" to listen to which took away from content. Little valued gained.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mike McGill
  • 10-17-20

Great tips

This book had many great tips such as binary thinking and stopping procrastination and how perfectionism is related to anxiety. Highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-25-18

If you are a perfectionist this book is helpful

this book opened my eyes to the depths of perfectionism. I found myself nodding along to some parts and having my mind blow by others.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Deanne
  • 12-01-22

Very easy to action in daily life.

Great tools to action in daily life to reduce perfectionism stress. I’m going to read Mini Habits now.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-21

Great audiobook - helpful and workable solutions

I have only just finished this audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have already begun putting Stephen’s ideas into practice.

Hopefully this is an imperfect but useful review.

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  • Sharna
  • 03-07-18

Incredible!

I've listened to this twice so far and will continue to re-listen again and again

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  • Luke Kent
  • 01-10-17

fantastic!

amazing book. great narration! practical wisdom I have already started applying. just brilliant!