Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Book Review: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown is a self-help book that bases its assertions on 10 Pillars of Whole-hearted Living. She bases her pillars on research, as that is her field of expertise. Through the interviews she’s conducted and her research, she’s narrowed down this pillars and created terms that describe them.

The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

What I appreciate is that while I may not like some of the terms she uses, she’s careful to define those terms through the context of her research.

The basic premise is to help people let go of unhealthy thoughts and pursue healthy thoughts, which I aggree with. However, i can’t necessarily get behind everything she says.

Listening to this audiobook, I found myself nodding my head a lot, and then a second later I would jerk back because I disagreed so strongly with at least a part of what I heard.

I have to contextualize that last comment. I’m not one to simply deny research because I don’t agree with it. Most of my issues come not from the research or what I felt the ultimate points were but instead how they were presented or defined.

The example I’ll go with here is Brown’s distinctions between sympathy and empathy. Without getting into too much detail (and therefore debate), she speaks as if sympathy is bad, and empathy is good. She overgeneralizes sympathetic behavior. It’s frustrating because her overall point is that people want to connect. There are some good ways to do so, and there are ways that don’t succeed. I wouldn’t go so far as to lump the non-successful techniques and wrap them in a box labeled “sympathy,” and that’s what Brown does.

There are things here in this book I think are very important. And what I love most about this book is that Brown provides ways to stop bad habits and cultivate good habits. I think some of her pillars taken literally and applied in excess can actually create the opposite effect. I’m not one to practice a lot of “self” anything, but that’s where there’s some interesting overlap.

Brown believes in God, she speaks often of that. Her denomination or even specific religion are harder to pin down, but she speaks about it here and there. She also includes faith as an aspect of her pillar. But here we find another area where I feel an odd contradiction. It’s difficult for me (and I can only speak to my personal challenges) to see life through any other filter than my faith. Sometimes Brown refers to a person’s self in a manner I don’t feel is profitable, especially for one of my specific faith. This isn’t a critique on her faith whatsoever. This is instead a perspective on how I struggle to wrap my head around her 10 pillars through the lens of my faith.

This portrait of Brown, taken by Jose Tutiven, was taken from Brown’s About Page on her website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

What I generally like about her book is that even if I don’t agree with the whole of everything she says. There is something out of each pillar I found helpful. What this means is even someone who doesn’t completely embrace every word of Brown’s book can find some value in the book. I appreciated the “letting go” portions more than the cultivating portions, but she provided actionable methods to apply these principles and exercise them into daily life, which is very good.

For me, listening to this book made me want to buy her dinner (in a professional manner) and just talk. I had a lot of “Well you say you mean this, but what about this?” or “When you talked about this part, did you consider?” or “How does this pillar apply in situations like this?”

Despite the fact that there were some parts I couldn’t get behind, I found a lot of the information helpful. I even found some ways to contextualize her information into my mental framework that alleviated those issues. What this book does best is talk about the hangups most people have and provide ways to counter those hangups.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Entrepurpose by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

Book Review: Entrepurpose by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

(NOTE:  This is a nonfiction book, so I’ll be reacting to it much like I did with The Problem of Pain.)

14680572_349703372032090_6956008003380102308_nI found this book immensely reaffirming. For me, I held a lot of the concepts in this book true without any terms or explanations.

The first thing I read that really resonated with was the concept that time is a valued currency. I’ve said for a long time (I even wrote it in my own personal Code) that the only two true forms of currency are love and time. This book speaks to that belief and supports it with both relevant anecdotal evidence as well as research.  If you only buy this book to read Chapter 8, it would be worth the money.

This isn’t just true of someone who likes self-help, non-fiction books.  This chapter is specifically for all those people who “say” they want to be an author.  This chapter forces a person to look at their life and truly understand what they do establishes their priorities.

This book speaks to sticking to your purpose and pushing, never giving up. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.

rusty-profile-webThere were parts that truly got me thinking. The big conundrum to authors is the idea of supply and demand. Great businesses tap into what’s going to happen. They jump the market. They give people what they want. This is very hard to do as an author. At the end of the day, people want to read good stories. So how does one of a huge number of authors prove his stories are good or better than the other books out there?  How does an author earn the time of readers? This is a mystery I’m trying to solve, and the answer will make whatever author learns it very successful.

This book speaks to mentorship. It challenges people to seek out people more successful than you.  I’ve done that over the last year or so, finding the Slush Brain and other people that I can speak to and learn from. Writers WANT to be part of a group of successful authors. Just look at history and you’ll see what tends to happen to talented individuals who share that sort of energy.

brian-laprathThis book challenges readers to look at what they’re doing and why. It gives readers courses of action that can help them drive in on what they want. I’d have like a bit more time in terms of identifying purpose. While I have my purpose, I find that most people don’t, and I felt if any part could have more, or rather if I wanted any more of one segment, that would be what I’d wish. I tell my students pretty much daily that I don’t care what they want; I just want them to WANT SOMETHING. So more information on finding that, and if I’m being honest, helping others find that, would have made this product even stronger.

Entrepurpose isn’t good because a friend of mine wrote it; it’s good because it’s useful. It’s good because it does what I think non-fiction should do. It calls you out, offers you tools, and forces you to admit you’re the one who has to move. I’m so very glad for Rusty and Brian. I recommend this book most specifically for people who know what they want, but are afraid or unsure if they should go for it.

 

Book Shoutout: Entrepurpose, by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

Book Shoutout:  Entrepurpose, by Rusty Pang and Brian Laprath

I’ve always said I love it when other authors get published.  These particular authors and this particular book makes me that much happier because Rusty is a friend of mine.

Let’s start with the book blurb for Entrepurpose:

Begin blurb

14680572_349703372032090_6956008003380102308_nYou are here for a reason. So, the question is: Why?

Entrepurpose is a book inspired by 13 intense years of struggle to find the answer to the question,

“Why am I here?”

That journey took me through three depressions, alcoholism, and unhealthy weight gain as I tried to reconcile my life without purpose.

Now that I know my why, I have experienced an infusion of life and focus that I have never felt before.

This work has become my mission, and I can enjoy it more fully each day. But, it came at a price. That price was 13 years.

My story is our gift to you.

Inside these pages are the tools and principles that led me to understand what I was born to do.

If you apply these principles to your life, you will begin to see that every experience, no matter how painful, is part of your strength. If you feel different from others, a misfit perhaps, this book will show you why different is better than better. Maybe, for the first time, you will begin to accept who you are.

Whatever the reason that brought you here, know that you are here for a reason. That reason can be understood, and once you know it, you will have a responsibility to impact the world in the way only you can.

Welcome to your rebirth.

End blurb

This book is already doing well, and I couldn’t be happier for the creators.  It reached number 1 in three categories: Business and Money, Education and Education and Reference.

What’s most important about this book is, it’s designed to help people who truly feel low.  All the feedback I’ve seen and all the messages I’ve read continue to say, “This is what we need.”  Every writer wants his or her book to have an impact, and the early returns on Entrepurposve indicate this book does that.

Now let’s meet the creators.

rusty-profile-webI met Rusty somewhere around two years ago.  We both teach at the same school.  Over the last few months, we’ve been working more closely as he’s teaching the same segment of the course I teach.

There’s a bond between authors.  They don’t have to recognize it or accept it in any way.  It’s a bond of caring for your craft.  You see it when they’re a bit tired the next day because they rushed home to eat up whatever time they can with their family before they toil away at another job that takes not just a great deal of effort, but an insane amount of mental energy.  I’ve watched Rusty as he’s pushed himself to share this with you.  It’s not just his story, which alone is something compelling; it’s his passion.

Every day I see him talking to people about personality types and how they gather information.  Every thing he does as a teacher is driven to understand how the student thinks and learns, so that he can teach more effectively.  I haven’t had a chance to read the book just yet (it’s next on my TBR), but his story and his effort to find ways to reach people are already strong motivators for me.

brian-laprathI haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Laprath.  He’s currently a reservist in the Air Force, and any time I can help out a fellow veteran, I’m going to.  You can find out more about him on the Entrepurpose website.  That site also has a blog and a ton of information worthy of checking out.

So I wanted to take a moment today and share this with you.  As most of my followers and those I follow know, I love giving shoutouts when dreams come true.  I relblog posts where authors announce they’ve finished a book.  I like it when people achieve their dreams, and I wanted to share this achievement with you.

Thanks for reading

Matt