The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brené Brown (Summary, Quotes, & Review)

AttitudeLifeMindsetPersonal DevelopmentSpiritualitySuccess

What’s in it? Quick Summary

The Gifts of Imperfection, written by Brené Brown, is an inspiring read which encourages the reader to accept their imperfections, practice authenticity, and embrace Spirituality. By following the advice in this book, readers will be able to live their life to the fullest and appreciate their own unique imperfections.

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The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition: Features a new foreword and brand-new tools
  • Brown, Brené (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages – 03/01/2022 (Publication Date) – Hazelden Publishing (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

About the author: Brené Brown

Brene Brown is a professor, a TED speaker, and a five-time New York Times best-selling author. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a tenured professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

Brown has spent the past two decades researching and writing about vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

She is best known for her books, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong.

Her work has been featured on numerous media outlets including the Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, and the BBC. Brown’s mission is to inspire people to live more meaningful and connected lives.

The Gifts Of Imperfection Summary

In this article, I’ll summarize the lessons I learned from reading this book.

These lessons will help you become more self-accepting and give you the courage to make changes in your perspective to live a more meaningful life.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s get started.

Lesson #1: Imperfections are not as bad as we think.

Everybody lacks something in life.

We are not flawless.

We all try various means to find things that we don’t have.

Our imperfections give us a sense that we are missing something in life.

Nobody likes imperfections, right?

But the author asks us to look at our imperfections from a different perspective.

It all starts with ACCEPTANCE.

Asking yourself, “Why do I have imperfections?” will only make you feel worse.

Accept that imperfections are totally normal.

When you do that, you unlock new possibilities.

Acceptance gives you more courage and compassion.


Allow me to explain.

When you see that something is imperfect, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?

Yes, you start thinking, “How do I fix this? How do I make it almost perfect?”

This helps you build courage, as fixing imperfections isn’t something you can do without it.

It takes a lot of energy and courage to identify the solution and address existing problems.

If there were no problems, you wouldn’t waste time on it.

Imperfections give us the opportunity to think and develop courage.

Imperfections can help you empathize with others.

This world is far from perfect; none of us are perfect.

We’re all in the same boat, trying to steer ourselves towards our desired destination.

When you realize this reality and internalize it, you feel compassion.

You recognize the intangible bond between yourself and others.

You appreciate the beauty of life that we often forget about in our day-to-day lives.

Most people view themselves differently than others. Many perceive themselves as either superior or inferior, leading them to believe they are distinct.

It’s not their fault, though.

It is hard to fathom that we are all connected, given our limited vision.

Being more social makes us all feel happier, but we create a division in our minds and categorize some people as friends and some as enemies.

We all have different usernames or names in both the online and offline worlds, reminding us that everyone is unique.

We are conditioned to think in a particular way.

Our inner judge tells us we’re weak or superior to others.

This division prevents us from feeling the highest joy of life.

Embracing our imperfections and accepting the reality as it helps us move closer to that joy.

But honestly speaking, all this takes a lot of practice as we are wired to think in a certain way depending on where we live, what our cultural background is, and hundreds of other factors.

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Lesson #2: Authenticity is a virtue, and it takes courage to remain true to oneself in today’s world.

Everybody values authenticity and appreciates it.

But then why do so many people choose to lie instead of being authentic nowadays?

That’s because it’s much easier to lie than to tell the truth.

Authenticity is not so easy.

Telling the truth when everyone else is lying will quickly make you stand out.

Speaking truth is like swimming against the tide.

For example, there are so many self-help books that don’t make any sense, but if you speak against them, you’ll be criticized by those who don’t want to say the truth.

Nobody cares as long as you play safe. But criticize or question any popularly held opinion, and you’ll create enemies for yourself.

The general norm is that even if you’re logical and thinking from a good perspective is, it shouldn’t go against the beliefs that are held by the majority of people.

The truth is:

Nothing good ever comes from being inauthentic if your initial perception is flawed.

The only exception is: If your inauthenticity stems from your love and compassion, it can create something positive in the world.

Authenticity helps you in accepting your flaws.

When you accept your flaws without bias, you begin to grow.

Remain genuine. Be authentic. Even if it’s difficult at first, even if you have to go against the grain, it will benefit everyone in the long run.

Don’t expect authenticity to come easily to you.

It’s a learned skill. It’s not something that you simply have or don’t have.

Authenticity requires time and effort, but it is worth it.

Lesson #3: Blame, shame, and bad judgment hold you back in life.

Just look at these 2 words again:


Have you ever thought, why do we experience these emotions?

Let’s try to understand.

What happens when we blame others?

When we blame something or someone, we tend to focus on what’s wrong with other people.

We experience a similar emotion when we feel shame.

When we feel ashamed, we consider how others may perceive us.

Experiencing shame can make us feel worthless.

When that happens, we forget all the conversations we had about self-love and self-compassion.

And when we carry such feelings in your heart, we make bad judgments.

All these 3 things (blame, shame, and bad judgment) hold us back from living our best life.


We all try to be perfectionists.

When things don’t go as planned, we either start blaming the world or we start blaming ourselves. One may even find ourselves glorifying our weaknesses.

Although Perfectionism is a flawed concept, somehow, it’s taken deep roots in our mind.

How perfect something is always subjective. It has no particular definition.

But society has imposed so many rules about how you should be, act, and behave.

All those rules cloud our judgment and often create bad emotions like guilt, shame, etc.

The solution is to question those standards that we have unconsciously set for ourselves.

Begin by fully embracing your imperfections and start from there. You will feel much more content.

You don’t have to battle your emotions; allow them to exist.

Observe them as you would watch disturbed waves from the shore.

This is an act of self-compassion.

And this is far better than mixing ourselves up with our mental mess.

Lesson #4: Spirituality can help you fight all the hardships of life.

Spirituality delves into depths beyond our understanding.

Many people conflate spirituality with supernatural entities and phenomena.

But no, spirituality has nothing to do with that.

We have watched countless supernatural movies, and that’s why we tend to connect those ideas when we hear the word “Spiritual.”

The confusion between spirituality and religion is very common, as many people use the terms interchangeably.

Furthermore, Spirituality often draws elements from various Religions.

So, what is spirituality exactly?

And is it even practical?

Everyone will tell you a different definition of spirituality.

If you ask the author of this book, he believes that spirituality is about seeing the deeper connection — seeing how we are connecting by something far greater than our existence.

If you ask me, I think spirituality is all about enquiring who we really are and questioning everything like a philosopher would do using reason. But I do believe, that after reaching a certain point, all reason and logic will fail, as they have their limits.

Spirituality is not pseudoscience; rather, it complements science.

In fact, if you are not scientific and logical, you may fall prey to superstitions.

Despite all those problems, Spirituality can give you perspective and meaning in life, allowing you to think like a philosopher.

In simple words: Cultivate a questioning mindset. Know more about yourself. Try to learn the real meaning of love and compassion.

This can help you tackle many challenges in life.

Lesson #5: Never confuse “joy” with “happiness.”

Many people in the world live without understanding the meaning of joy.

If you don’t know what the highest potential of being human is, you cannot live your best life and reach your ultimate potential.

People often use the terms “joy” and “happiness” interchangeably.

But doesn’t both of them mean that if you get what you desire, you’ll feel good?

Not really.

Allow me to explain.

HAPPINESS is temporary, while JOY can exist even without HAPPINESS.

The problem with chasing HAPPINESS is that, when HAPPINESS is not present, there is SADNESS.

They both exist as a package.

The very reason we want HAPPINESS is that we feel boredom in our lives. And that boredom brings SADNESS.

When you get money, you feel HAPPY, but when you don’t get enough of it, you start feeling sad.

When the person you love is with you, you feel HAPPY. But when he/she is not near you, you wish they were with you. In short, you start feeling the opposite of HAPPINESS, which is obviously SADNESS.

They are opposite of each other and exist together in the same dimension.

JOY is very different and exists in a dimension above that.

When you feel JOY, you don’t bother whether you’re feeling HAPPY or SAD.

Joy is beyond those temporary feelings.

It’s about appreciating everything that life has to offer.

It’s about starting to see your days like seasons. And realizing some days in life are sunny days, while others are stormy nights.

With joy, you become comfortable with the reality — that it’s okay to feel bad and have low energy on some days — and it’s also okay to feel good and have high energy on the other days.

Having joy doesn’t mean you won’t have happiness or sadness ever again. They’ll be there as long as you’re breathing, but they won’t trouble you as much as they do you now.

Lesson #6: Cultivate creativity in life and express yourself.

Uncertainty in life is highly underappreciated.

We prefer predictability in our lives, so we avoid taking risks.

Most people choose jobs that are less risky and highly manual.

As a result, they don’t derive much joy from it.

Take a look at your daily routine; it’s quite predictable. You’re probably following the same script every day.

There is nothing new.

The author encourages readers to be creative.

What is creativity?

It’s about breaking old patterns and seeing new possibilities.

Creative people often surprise us with ideas that no one else had thought of. We wonder, “Where did they get such an idea?”

Creativity helps your true self shine.

Creative people see their art as a game, where there are so many possibilities.

You don’t have to stay stuck in the old matrix.

Bring creativity into your life and imagine yourself playing a game.

There are so many ways to play any game, right?

The reason many people don’t understand creativity is that they fear uncertainty.

It can be daunting, not knowing what lies ahead.

Isn’t it the most thrilling when the future is unpredictable?

When you become comfortable becoming uncomfortable — with facing uncertainty — you become more creative and unlock new hidden talents that you never knew existed.

Lesson #7: Choose your work wisely, as it defines your life.

The author suggests that you do something that gives you meaning in life.

Many people work only to pay their bills and enjoy some luxuries.

The common idea is: Find a decent job with a handsome salary and pay bills.

We focus more on paying bills instead of finding in meaning and joy in life.

Remember, we are not robots who have to do the same things on a loop.

Let’s think outside the box.

We can make choices and thus have the ability to choose the best work for ourselves.

You can always make money by doing a certain kind of work.

But the question is: Does your work make you feel alive? Or you feel frustrated and ask, “What am I doing in life?”

Do you derive meaning from it? Will you do it even if you are not getting paid for it?

Always ask these types of questions before you decide the type of work you’ll be doing in the next coming years.

If you feel alive only on the weekend holidays, then chances are you are doing a wrong job.

It is totally up to you what work you choose. It’s highly subjective.

For example: You might not like coding, while your friend may enjoy doing it.

The focus should be on making wise decisions.

Working a job that drains your soul has no meaning unless you are facing serious financial difficulties.

The problem is: Most people follow the same standard dream.

Instead, we should first explore our inner selves through spiritual inquiry to determine whether our dream is worth pursuing or not.

Once you have enough self-knowledge, it’ll be much easier for you to choose a job that provides both financial stability and personal fulfillment.

Great, meaningful work is so beautiful that you may forget about retirement altogether.

Bullet Summary: The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Here are some actionable takeaways from this book summary:

  • Build courage to fix imperfections
  • Feel compassion for yourself and others
  • Choose authenticity over falseness
  • Question the standards that have been set by others
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Explore spirituality

The Gifts Of Imperfection Quotes

“It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection.”

Brené Brown

“When I let go of trying to be everything to everyone, I had much more time, attention, love, and connection for the important people in my life.”

Brené Brown

“Knowledge is important, but only if we’re being kind and gentle with ourselves as we work to discover who we are.”

Brené Brown

The Gifts Of Imperfection Book Review

The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition: Features a new foreword and brand-new tools
  • Brown, Brené (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages – 03/01/2022 (Publication Date) – Hazelden Publishing (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

The book is concise and straightforward.

The author doesn’t focus on fancy techniques.

Instead, he focuses on simple stuff like authenticity, courage, and living-wholeheartedly.

However, in my opinion, I did not find much new information in this book. I have encountered these same concepts numerous times before.

If you are just starting to read this type of book, it’s still a nice read.

It boils down to how much you can implement.

Beginners will find this book interesting and relatable.

And this books talks about spirituality properly.

This book stands out from others of its kind because it approaches spirituality in a practical way.

I highly recommend readers to read this book at least once.

My rating: 6/10

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

FAQs about The Gifts Of Imperfection

What is the main idea of the gifts of imperfection?

The main idea of The Gifts Of Imperfection is to embrace our imperfections and use them to create courage, compassion, and connection. The author encourages readers to be authentic, explore spirituality, and find joy in life.

Why should I read the gifts of imperfection?

You should read The Gifts Of Imperfection if you are interested in learning more about self-love, self-compassion, and living authentically. The book is a great starting point for those who are new to the concepts of self-help and personal development. It can help you to gain perspective and understand the importance of living with courage and joy in life.

What are the 3 gifts of imperfection?

COURAGE, COMPASSION, and CONNECTION are the 3 gifts of imperfection as stated by the author of the book The Gifts Of Imperfection.

How many chapters are in the gifts of imperfection?

The book has 10 small chapters.

Who is the author of The Gifts Of Imperfection?

Brené Brown is the author of the book The Gifts Of Imperfection.

What to read after the gifts of imperfection?

You can read other books by Brené Brown like Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, etc.

Now it’s your turn

I hope you enjoyed this book summary and learned lots of valuable life-changing lessons.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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