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Book: Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder
Author: Reshma Saujani
Published: February 5, 2019
I first heard about this book in an article from Book Riot called 10 Books Like GIRL, WASH YOUR FACE (…But Much Better). If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know that their thoughts on that book are similar to my experience with it. This book – BRAVE, NOT PERFECT – sounded so fantastic that I bought it immediately.
And I’m so glad I did.
BRAVE, NOT PERFECT is incredibly well-researched and well-written. Reshma Saujani uses both her personal experiences (including as a failed congressional candidate) and a ton of data gathered from researchers, psychologists, and focus groups of women from a huge range of ages and backgrounds. The information and stories help us understand how girls and women are unconsciously indoctrinated with a need to appear perfect and to behave in a specific way, how we don’t take risks because we’re taught not to fail and how boys and men are taught the opposite. Reshma shares example after example of how these ideas manifest in our lives and breaks down how we can help ourselves and other women and girls step free from the unrealistic pressures we’re burdened by. The book is not only personal and conversational, it is also wonderfully sourced, with quotes and attributions to a gamut of brilliant experts and is diverse and inclusive and full of so much great content.
The audiobook is narrated by Reshma and was a delight to listen to. I found myself nodding in shared experience when she read letter after letter from women and sharing how they are afraid to try because they don’t want to fail. I found myself cringing in frustration as I listened to her share stats on how girls and boys are treated differently – how girls are taught to sit and be pretty and boys are encouraged to play and run and get dirty. And yes, I know that many girls have the freedom to get muddy and wrestle, but the underlying truth is still there – how boys will be boys but a woman who stands up for herself is considered rude or angry. So much of what is talked about in this books starts really early in childhood and has huge impacts on women as we grow older, choose our careers and hobbies, and find partners.
I want to get the print copy of BRAVE, NOT PERFECT so that I can sit and dwell on it, especially on part three where Reshma spends a full chapter on each of five tangible ways that we as women can be brave.
In a book inspired by her popular TED talk, New York Times bestselling author Reshma Saujani empowers women and girls to embrace imperfection and bravery.
Imagine if you lived without the fear of not being good enough. If you didn’t care how your life looked on Instagram, or worry about what total strangers thought of you. Imagine if you could let go of the guilt, and stop beating yourself up for tiny mistakes. What if, in every decision you faced, you took the bolder path?
Too many of us feel crushed under the weight of our own expectations. We run ourselves ragged trying to please everyone, all the time. We lose sleep ruminating about whether we may have offended someone, pass up opportunities that take us out of our comfort zones, and avoid rejection at all costs.
There’s a reason we act this way, Reshma says. As girls, we were taught to play it safe. Well-meaning parents and teachers praised us for being quiet and polite, urged us to be careful so we didn’t get hurt, and steered us to activities at which we could shine.
The problem is that perfect girls grow up to be women who are afraid to fail. It’s time to stop letting our fears drown out our dreams and narrow our world, along with our chance at happiness.
By choosing bravery over perfection, we can find the power to claim our voice, to leave behind what makes us unhappy, and go for the things we genuinely, passionately want. Perfection may set us on a path that feels safe, but bravery leads us to the one we’re authentically meant to follow.
In Brave, Not Perfect, Reshma shares powerful insights and practices to help us override our perfect girl training and make bravery a lifelong habit. By being brave, not perfect, we can all become the authors of our biggest, boldest, and most joyful life. (Goodreads)
Interested? Get a copy today: