Present Over Perfect – A Book Review

“The world will tell you how to live, if you let it.  Don’t let it.  Take up your space.  Raise your voice.  Sing your song.  This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.” (p104)

If only I had better words, I could express how much this book meant to me.  I knew it would be special, mostly because I know how special Shauna Niequist is and I’ve loved every other book she’s written.  However, her newest book, Present Over Perfect, is her best and most wonderful work by a mile.  It’s authentic, raw, kind, encouraging and so very affirming.  This book spoke words straight out of my soul that I’ve never shared or even articulated before.  It was as if Shauna knew my deepest thoughts and spoke them in a way that made me feel known, valued, loved, and understood.  I laughed, I cried and I nodded so much that my neck should be sore.

Shauna has such a beautiful style of writing and her words are so carefully and beautifully chosen.  She also has such a down-to-earth way of expressing her deepest thoughts.  This book felt like a friend sharing her own lessons learned about busyness, perfectionism, the need to please and every other soul stealing way of living.  She shares her journey from each of these things to a better, more whole way of living.  She also shares several other beautiful stories throughout the book that add so much to the experience of reading Present Over Perfect. There is not, in my opinion, any word or story misspent – each is so valuable and encouraging.

If you are struggling with your own value, worth or identity – this book will convince you that it’s there and empower you to search for it.  We cannot settle for worn and weary lives any longer.  We must have the courage, like Shauna, to say enough is enough and to remake our lives into something we’re passionate about and comfortable in.  We must have the courage to show up and be seen just as we are – because really, there is no better option than authentic, present, here-and-now living.  The best we can do is to just be our true  and real selves.  What a beautiful thought that is!

Favorite Quotables from Present Over Perfect:

“the best thing I can offer to this world is not my force or energy, but a well-tended spirit, a wise and brave soul.” (p28)

“Here’s what I know: I thought the doing and the busyness would keep me safe.  They keep me numb.  Which is not the same as safe, which isn’t even the greatest thing to aspire to.” (p61)

“Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice.  Present over perfect living is the risky and revolutionary belief that the world God has created is beautiful and valuable on its own terms, and that it doesn’t need to be zhuzzed up and fancy in order to be wonderful.” (p130)

“I’m finding that willingness to be fragile actually makes me strong.” (p143)

“In a thousand ways, you live by the sword and you die by the sword.  When you allow other people to determine your best choices; when you allow yourself to be carried along by what other people think your life should be, could be, must be; when you hand them the pen and tell them to write your story, you don’t get the pen back.  Not easily anyway.” (p160)

“Hustle is the opposite of heart.” (p174)

“You have your own voice.  And you can use it.” (p219)

“It doesn’t matter how pretty things look on the outside if on the inside, there’s an ache from a lifetime of trying to prove your worth.” (p222)



Here’s a video of Shauna talking about her new book, Present Over Perfect:

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s