Book Review & Giveaway: The Perfection Deception

A predictable reaction to Dr. Jane Bluestein's new book The Perfection Deception would be: "What's wrong with perfectionism?”

The idea of perfectionism is confused by most to be a healthy drive for excellence. Dr. Bluestein explains the dangers of reaching for total perfection. There is a difference between reaching for great achievement and the physical wound that develops, or the voice of the inner critic that screams failure even at the face of true effort and success.

As a result of her work, she hopes to help people recognize the various forms in which perfectionism can seep into a person's ideals. She explains how perfectionism shapes and defines our reality or identity. Dr. Bluestein tackles this issue head-on by defining the ways perfectionism affects a person's well-being. In the last section of the book she works to heal those suffering from perfectionist ideals. She employs different solutions for fighting perfectionistic habits and, as a victim herself, Dr. Bluestein admits it takes time and hard work to make progress. But imperfect progress is at least an attainable goal.

Some of the issues that stem from perfectionism are deep-seated and will come back to challenge you when it is least expected. Growth and change, she believes, are possible. Her life experiences have shown that with the right information and tools people can work towards a life where the need to have perfection does not run their lives. This book is Dr. Bluestein's way of delivering that information and tools to anyone in need. We probably are all in need, either for ourselves, our family, our friends or our colleagues.

Dr. Jane Bluestein is an educator and an award-winning author of twelve books. She is a dynamic and entertaining speaker who has worked with thousands of counselors, healthcare professionals, parents, childcare workers, educators, and other community members worldwide. She has appeared internationally as a speaker and talk-show guest, including several appearances as a guest expert on CNN, National Public Radio and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Formerly a classroom teacher in inner-city Pittsburgh, crisis-intervention counselor, teacher training program coordinator, and volunteer with high-risk teens at a local Day Treatment Program, Dr. Bluestein currently heads Instructional Support Services, Inc., a consulting and resource firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information, please visit her website.

Points to Ponder

Sandra Aamodt, a neuroscientist, reports that in the US, 80% of ten-year-old girls have been on a diet. She goes on to say that:

"Our daughters have learned to measure their worth by the wrong scale." (Page 14)

Long ago, a friend defined herself as a P.P. - a procrastinating perfectionist. Dr. Bluestein states:

"The prospect of failure is so terrifying that we try to prevent failure by failing to do anything at all." (Page 107)

Self-sabotage is a sign that you may be exhibiting perfectionistic behaviours.

"Control issues come in all sorts of disguises, and passivity can be just as manipulative as aggression." (Page 218)

Power struggles, a win-lose attitude and victimology can all be a part of the perfectionist's palette.

Favourite Parts

On page 33, Dr. Bluestein explains how the seeds of perfectionism sprout:

"I believe perfectionism grows out of a desire to create feelings of safety, belonging and worth, in part by insulating ourselves from things like criticism, humiliation, rejection and abandonment. When these needs are not adequately met, we tend to compensate in order to survive, and the results aren't pretty."

Throughout the book, you'll learn how your physiology responds to the assault on your self-esteem, with a multitude of examples that demonstrate how perfectionist behaviour affects your sense of accomplishment and abilities to enjoy life. It doesn't stop there, though. Health, career and parenting can all be painted by the brush of perfectionism.

On page 235, Dr. Bluestein reminds us that:

"The other good news is that change is possible. Educator Martha Kaufeldt reminds us that we can reorganize the wiring in our brain, building new brain cells and networks with changes in behavior, environment, emotions and thinking."

I agree. When I was teaching, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction from opening my Day Book and seeing how full it was. Like a dog proudly carrying its bone, I would carry my book around, ready to pencil in yet another activity. Meetings, appointments, events and get-togethers were all colour-coded. It was as if that rainbow of colours proclaimed that I mattered even when deep-down a part of me felt "less than".

After I became Auntie Stress, I recognized that my behaviour was not unlike Star Trek's The Borg; I was hooked into that little black book in order to gain a sense of self-worth. Interestingly enough, The Borg's ultimate goal is to achieve perfection. Dr. Bluestein points out that over-committing is common among perfectionists.

An A-Ha!

As I read this book, I could see some question marks popping up over my head in my thought bubbles. Hmmm - I wonder if that is a touch of perfectionistic behaviour sloshing around in my life?  This book will get you to reflect upon your own behaviours, then hopefully, take steps to make some changes. You can start by entering the giveway, below.

Who would benefit from this book?

If you:

  • Are interested in self-development.
  • Suspect you are a perfectionist.
  • Are in close contact with someone who exhibits perfectionistic behaviour.
  • Are a procrastinator.
  • Are a parent who wants to equip your children with some invaluable skills.
  • Are a teacher, counsellor, social worker or therapist.

How to enter the giveaway:

  1. One person will receive a copy of The Perfection Deception - Why Trying to Be Perfect is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage.
  2. This contest is open to anyone of legal age who has a mailing address in Canada or the US.
  3. Contest closes at midnight PST on Friday, March 4th, 2016.
  4. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about perfectionism.
  5. Earn another entry by subscribing to my mostly monthly newsletter.
  6. For extra entries to the giveaway, get social:
  • On Twitter? Share the following: Enter this #giveaway from @AuntieStress for The #Perfection Deception by @JaneBluestein: #perfectionism
  • Make your way over to my Pinterest Board called "Giveaways." Earn one entry by clicking “Comment” on The Perfection Deception pin then leave one. Earn another entry by re-pinning this giveaway announcement.
  • On Google+? Be sure to +MariannaPaulson when you share the link and you’ll earn another entry.

3 Replies to “Book Review & Giveaway: The Perfection Deception”

  1. Thanks so much for another wonderful post and give-away opportunity, Marianna!

    Perfectionist tendencies can literally stop you in your tracks before you even start doing something, out of the fear that whatever it is that you do won’t be good enough. One helpful mental trick I used years ago in order to get past this for writing was to tell myself – just start, it doesn’t matter how good it is at the beginning, I can always edit it afterwards.

    Positive/encouraging self-talk can be quite powerful! 🙂

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