Being Perfect

Being Perfect

3.4 9
by Anna Quindlen

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A few times in your life, someone will tell you something so right, so deeply true that it changes you forever. That is what Anna Quindlen, author of the timeless bestseller A Short Guide to a Happy Life, does here.

In Being Perfect, she shares wisdom that, perhaps without knowing it, you have longed to hear: about “the perfection


A few times in your life, someone will tell you something so right, so deeply true that it changes you forever. That is what Anna Quindlen, author of the timeless bestseller A Short Guide to a Happy Life, does here.

In Being Perfect, she shares wisdom that, perhaps without knowing it, you have longed to hear: about “the perfection trap,” the price you pay when you become ensnared in it, and the key to setting yourself free. Quindlen believes that when your success looks good to the world but doesn’t feel good in your heart, it isn’t success at all.

She asks you to set aside your friends’ advice, what your family and co-workers demand, and what society expects, and look at the choices you make every day. When you ask yourself why you are making them, Quindlen encourages you to give this answer: For me. “Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am. . . . That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart.”

At the core of this beautiful book lies the secret of authentic success, the inspiration to embrace your own uniqueness and live the life that is undeniably your own, rich in fulfillment and meaning.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A brief meditation on resisting the desire to be so perfect. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In this brief treatise, Quindlen attempts to deter readers from continually seeking perfection, which is by definition unoriginal and stereotypical. She believes that everyone needs to find her (or his, though the general tone and the illustrations seem to focus on female needs) own true self, especially for those moments when there is nothing else left. She describes herself as having been a true perfectionist throughout high school. After a semester or so at Barnard, she realized that she would never be the prettiest, smartest, or "est" anything, but she could try to find out who she was and not be afraid to try new and unusual routes through life. This realization was more freeing than she expected, and she encourages readers, young and older alike, to do the same. The book reads much like a commencement address, but both size and subject matter should appeal to teens looking out on the landscape of their lives. It is also a good example of an essay or short biographical account for those studying such literary forms.-Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Random House
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5 MB

Meet the Author

ANNA QUINDLEN is the author of four novels–Blessings, Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons–and five nonfiction books: Loud and Clear, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud, and How Reading Changed My Life. She has also written two children’s books: The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After. Her New York Times column “Public and Private” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Her column now appears every other week in Newsweek.

From the Hardcover edition.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
July 8, 1952
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.A., Barnard College, 1974

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Being Perfect 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps had I read this book earlier in my life, I would not have laughed and cried with relief when reading this little gem. But at 58 I'm finally choosing to do what I love and I am blesssed to make a positive difference in the lives of many. The very last idea around falling into your core and finding a black hole after a deep loss had me weeping in recognition and gratitude. When my 35 year old son died two years ago, I gave his eulogy from the strength of my core honed by his presence in my life. Another gift from Quindlen - thank you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to see how small the physical size of this book was when I received it, and even more surprised to find half of the bulk of it was photos! Barely scratched the surface of the ongoing epidemic of women feeling they have to be perfect. I finished the book wondering why exactly the author put such tiny bits of insight into a publication with such a powerful title, leaving the reader very disappointed and still hungry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I like Anna Quindlen, this was disappointed..14 pages, many of them pictures,and a short lecture
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another delightful small (as in takes 30 minutes at most to read) book from this inspiring author. Makes a great gift and coffee table book that conveys a very important message about life. Beautiful pictures in a nice small hardcover compliment the text. Definitely worth a buy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. The writing was filled with inspirational ideas for women who long to find inner peace away from the rat race. However, I felt that it was a tiny bit unrealistic. For example, how many of us can really ask if what we do for our family is what we want to be doing - I mean, somebody has to do certain things that we do, and let's face it, women are the only ones who have enough love to do those things whether we want to or not. But having said that, I do think that the book makes a very good point about women pleasing people outside the home. Some of the things we do we probably wouldn't do if not for outside influences. In this respect I found some good advice that I can use in real life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was such a relief to me in two ways. The first was, I don't like to much reading from one book, and big words. It was short and simple.And A book a younger person can read and get inspired. the second is, all of the struggles I've experienced, Ms. Anna Quindlen nailed it for me and simplified it without so much of The recommended work to apply, like in most other self help books, which is less overwhelming. Thanks a million Anna.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved Anna's writing since her days as a NY Times columnist, where her skills for honest reporting and psychological insight always made her stand out amid the egos and political agendas around her. This latest book is a great addition to her body of work, as she dives into the moral muck of today's womanhood, where the choices between work and home life are difficult and ultimately unsolvable--something has to be lost in the equation. On that same subject of parenting verus work, let me recommend a not-well-known book, 'I Sleep At Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets,' by Bruce Stockler, a joyous, hilarious and brutally honest account of juggling work, marriage and kids.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to say absolutely NOTHING. I saw the author interviewed and it sounded like a book about perfection. This book jumps from one confusing thing to other unrelated issues. Some of the words are not commonly used words and one has to use a dictionary to understand what the author is trying to say. I found almost nothing about perfection in this book. I was very disappointed in the content . I do believe I could write a better book about perfection and dealing with it.