Brave, Not Perfect Book Summary - Brave, Not Perfect Book explained in key points
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Brave, Not Perfect summary

Reshma Saujani

Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder

4 (167 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani is an empowering guide for women to overcome the societal pressure of perfectionism to achieve their goals. The book encourages a shift from fear of failure to the courage of taking risks and being true to oneself.

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    Brave, Not Perfect
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    Instead of being taught to be brave and take risks, girls are groomed to please others and strive for perfection.

    Meet Erica. She’s a middle-aged, successful woman who is always extremely friendly, helpful and greets everyone with a dazzling smile. Working from dawn until dusk to impress clients and colleagues doesn’t stop her from constantly looking fresh and ready to go. 

    Indeed, no matter the situation, Erica is always projecting perfectionism onto the world around her and trying to please everyone she comes across.

    But deep down, Erica wishes she could act differently. In fact, sometimes, she wishes she was brave enough to tell her biggest client that she thinks his business strategies are terrible. Sadly, the inherent drive that so many women feel to please everyone around them and strive towards perfection keeps her locked in a life that she doesn’t want to live.

    Erica is a good friend of the author. And, like the author, she’s a victim of a society where women are taught to be afraid of risk, of being bold and choosing the lives they want to lead – independently of what others think. Instead of being brave, young girls are taught how to be perfect for the sake of pleasing those around them. The opposite is true of young boys, who are encouraged to explore, fail and take risks.

    The categorization of girls as agreeable people-pleasers starts as soon as they’re born. One study that placed babies without recognizable genders in neutral clothes showed that when they were upset, adults were more likely to think they were boys. But when they were happy, most adults assumed the infants were girls.

    And this expectation of girls quickly develops into reality. 

    Consider a University of California study involving a simple lemonade stand. The catch? Instead of adding sugar, the researchers added salt, making the beverage less than satisfying. After handing them out to groups of boys and girls, the results of the social conditioning girls go through became clear: boys immediately conveyed how disgusting it tasted, whereas girls politely sipped it.

    Only after the researchers pressed the girls on why they kept drinking did the truth come out – the girls said they didn’t want the researchers to feel bad.

    This is the society we live in – where boys are bred to be brave, and girls to please via an endless drive toward perfection.

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    What is Brave, Not Perfect about?

    Brave, Not Perfect (2019) opens up a new world to those women socialized from a young age to strive for perfection and please everyone around them. Perfection doesn’t always help you get ahead in the modern world – but bravery does. By embracing the power of bravery, women can emancipate themselves from the servitude of perfectionism, embrace the power of failure and achieve their dreams.

    Brave, Not Perfect Review

    Brave, Not Perfect (2019) by Reshma Saujani is a thought-provoking exploration of how perfectionism holds us back and why embracing imperfection is the key to a fulfilling life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with insightful anecdotes and personal stories, it offers a relatable and empathetic perspective on the pressures of perfectionism.
    • Through compelling research and practical exercises, it provides readers with actionable strategies to step out of their comfort zones and pursue bravery over perfection.
    • The book challenges societal norms and offers a refreshing perspective on what it means to be successful, empowering readers to redefine their own measures of happiness and fulfillment.

    Who should read Brave, Not Perfect?

    • Women suffering under the weight of socially enforced perfectionism
    • Female entrepreneurs trying to get their business on the right track
    • Men who want to better learn how society conditions women

    About the Author

    Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization seeking to close the gender gap in the world of tech. As of 2018, the organization has reached over 50,000 women and girls all over the United States. Saujani came into national prominence after giving a 2016 TED talk on the power of bravery, which went viral with over three million views. 

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    Brave, Not Perfect FAQs 

    What is the main message of Brave, Not Perfect?

    The main message of Brave, Not Perfect is to embrace imperfection and overcome the pressures of perfection in order to live a more fulfilling life.

    How long does it take to read Brave, Not Perfect?

    The reading time for Brave, Not Perfect varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Brave, Not Perfect a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Brave, Not Perfect is a valuable read for anyone looking to break free from the fear of failure and perfection. It presents practical strategies and inspiring stories for personal growth.

    Who is the author of Brave, Not Perfect?

    The author of Brave, Not Perfect is Reshma Saujani.

    What to read after Brave, Not Perfect?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Brave, Not Perfect, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
    • Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
    • Radically Happy by Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon
    • The Power of Going All-In by Brandon Bornancin
    • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi
    • I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) by Brené Brown
    • The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias by Pamela Fuller & Mark Murphy with Anne Chow