Brave, Not Perfect, by Reshma Saujani, 2019

Title: Brave, Not Perfect

Author: Reshma Saujani

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Non-fiction/feminist/self-help

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages:197

Recommended for: The author uses the F-word a couple of times so if that is okay for you, you can definitely pick it up. Nonetheless, it is a book I’d recommend others to surely pick up.

Synopsis:

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.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Brave, Not Perfect was a fundamental read that I picked up and it surely was an impactful one. It talks about the unexplainable need for perfectionism, which is prevalent in all of us, albeit a bit more obsessively in girls.

The need to be perfect hounds us all and it is also cause for validation – not being the best one, or the perfect one, is cause enough to lower our self-esteems and self-confidence; as if not being the best one immediately implies that you are the worst.

This also makes sure that these people, women specifically, are thus programmed of being naturally afraid of not being perfect, which in turn, makes sure that they hesitate and sometimes never try new things. The fear of failure is instilled in them early on. The author uses a great example of a woman who was looked down upon because she wanted a person to just push her daughter since she was afraid of jumping (I do not remember the exact words, but it had something to do with adventure sports). The thing is, no one would turn back if they heard someone to “just push” their son off if he was being afraid. Societal construct is such that girls are treated delicately and expected to be perfect – a bit like “sit still, look pretty”! from childhood onwards, boys are pushed to just get up, dust himself off and try again. Girls on the other hand, are always cautioned and this stays on. A simple example, how many of us dare to raise our hands in class, to ask the teacher a question? We are so afraid of what the others will say or think, or the fact that it may make us look stupid – these thoughts always hold us back.

I believe that the author could have made this book non-binary – she speaks of men and women, categorically. The writing style is witty and engaging and it does not feel like you’re reading a non-fiction book. That goes to say, even if you do not like non-fiction works like I don’t, this one is different and you might even like it! The author does use the F-word a couple of times so if that is okay for you, you can definitely pick it up. Nonetheless, it is a book I would recommend others to really go into.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 4.5/5 stars!

About the author:

Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. With their 7-week Summer Immersion Program, 2-week specialized Campus Program, after school Clubs, and a 13-book New York Times best-selling series, they are leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of the 2018 academic year, Girls Who Code will have reached over 50 thousand girls in all 50 states and several US territories. The results speak for themselves: 88% of alumni have declared a CS major/minor or are more interested in CS because of Girls Who Code.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

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