Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani (Founder of Girls Who Code)

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani (Founder of Girls Who Code)
  • ISBN-10: 1524762334 - Hardcover $25
  • Publisher: Currency (February 5, 2019), 208 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of Amazon Vine Reviewer Program and the publisher.

The blurb:
Do you ever feel crushed under the weight of your own expectations? Do you often lose sleep ruminating over a tiny mistake or worrying what someone else thinks of you? Do you run yourself ragged trying to do it all at home and at work, with a smile and not a hair out of place? Have you ever passed up an opportunity - a new relationship, new job or new challenge - because you're afraid you won't immediately excel at it?  For you, is failure simply not an option?

You're not alone. As women, we've been taught from an early age to play it safe. Well-meaning parents and teachers rewarded us for being quiet and polite, urged us to be careful so we don't get hurt, and steered us to activities at which we could shine. Meanwhile, boys were expected to speak up, get dirty, play rough, and climb to the top of the monkey bars. In short, boys are taught to be brave, while girls are taught to be perfect.

As a result, we grow up to be women who are afraid to fail.  So afraid of not doing everything perfectly, we tamp down our dreams and narrow our world, along with our opportunities for happiness.  As too many of us eventually learn, being afraid to take risks, to use our voice to take a stand or ask for what we want, even to make mistakes, leads to a lot of disappointment and regret. 

But it doesn't have to be this way. In a book inspired by her hugely popular TED Talk, Reshma Saujani shows us how we can end our love affair with perfection and rewire ourselves for bravery.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with girls and women from around the country, stories of women changing the world one brave act at a time, and her own personal journey, Saujani shares an array of powerful insights and practices to make bravery a lifelong habit and enable us to be the authors of our biggest, boldest, and most joyful life.

In Brave, Not Perfect, Reshma Saujani shares her story to help make the case that the relentless striving for perfection leads to a narrowing of goals and also of achievements.  There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, but as I read the book, much of my own experience dovetailed with Saujani's statements and claims.  Her message of shaking off the criticism (internal self critics and external critics who use a tougher standard for women), learning to take failure as part of the learning process, etc.  these are straightforward messages that are helpful to have reinforced.  But I was also hoping for more than this message repeated in many ways and anecdotes.  Fortunately, Saujani does suggest exercises for bravery in the last 1/3 of the book.  Chapters on "Building a Bravery Mindset", "Get Caught Trying", "Nix the Need to Please", "Play for Team Brave", and "Surviving a Big, Fat, Failure" have concrete suggestions.

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 while teaching girls confidence and bravery through coding.  She's been named one of Fortune's 40 Under 40, a WSJ magazine innovator of the year, one f the 50 most powerful women changing the world, Business Insider's fifty women who are changing the world, and an AOL/PBS MAKER.  She is the author of the NY Times bestselling book for young readers Girls Who Code.  Learn more about her at ReshmaSaujani.com

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