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Book Review: Being Perfect

being perfect anna quindlenAnna Quindlen has written a lovely little (literally) book that I read today on my afternoon break as part of the Dewey Reading Project. It’s about six inches tall and has fewer than 50 pages. The letters are big and there are lots of pictures. But Being Perfect crams about as much perfection into this small of a package as anything I’ve seen outside of Goodnight Moon.

It is a rallying cry for everyone to stop obsessing about chasing perfection. It is full of beautiful black and white photos that made me smile on every page.

I’m just going to leave you with one passage and you’ll know whether you want to read it or you’ll be rolling your eyes. Prior to this paragraph she states that one day something bad will happen to each of us. Doesn’t matter what it is, but we’ll all have a moment of loss when we’re knocked on our butts.

And sitting there, you will fall into center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be.

I didn’t think I could become a bigger Anna Quindlen fan, but this tiny book did it.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jacque February 11, 2011, 6:45 pm


    The passage definitely makes me want to read this book
    Thank you for sharing it

  • Kirk February 11, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Damn. His just happened to me… Thank god for imperfection…

  • Daisy February 11, 2011, 7:55 pm

    I clicked right over to Paperbackswap.com and ordered this. Thanks for the review and the inspiration!

  • Amanda February 12, 2011, 5:00 am

    Thanks Josh.

    I have to read this book.

  • Lindsey February 12, 2011, 7:26 am

    I love Anna Quindlen and this book sounds extraordinary. Thanks for reviewing it!

  • hoongyee February 13, 2011, 1:29 pm


    this is the perfect book to clutch when we find ourselves on our bewildered butts. someone near and dear to me has suffered a big disappointment and i will be right next to him on the floor reading the wisdom anna quindlen so heartfully shares as we slowly crawl our way out of the black hole to our core of inner strength.

    imperfection is spiritual caloric deficit.

  • Susan Garvey February 14, 2011, 8:59 am

    Hi Josh: I just ordered this book from my library. (If they tracked such things, they’d notice that I order books frequently after reading your blog.) Just the one quote you mentioned made me want to read it. I’ve spent years chasing perfection knowing its a loser’s game and of course, still have that “black core” she wrote about. What a wise woman (and great writer) to put it so succinctly. Can’t wait to read more….

    • Josh Hanagarne February 14, 2011, 3:33 pm

      You’ll be finished about 10 minutes after opening it, but it’s just the best.