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A Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace And Power

Kirsten Batty

Perfectionists are often touted in popular media as snobby, rigid, and intense. They’re always on top of things and berate you for the tiniest mistake. However, these depictions can be inaccurate, and this is explained in psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafer’s book, A Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power.

Schafer defines perfectionists as people who strive to bridge the gap between reality and their ideals, categorizing them as adaptive, using perfectionistic tendencies for one’s benefit, or maladaptive, using perfectionistic tendencies at one’s detriment. Throughout the book, she identifies certain concepts according to these categories, such as those of growth and fixed mindsets. 

Written especially for perfectionists, this book is heavily informative yet offers an abundance of solutions, allowing you to identify adaptive habits and thought frames that you can integrate into your daily life. It doesn’t overwhelm you with a large amount of information, but it gives names to terms you might already be familiar with or practice, and they are thoroughly explained in each chapter.

The solutions offered by this book are not only applicable to perfectionists who want to use their gifts for their benefit but also to busy students who are prone to burnout. These include but are not limited to, practicing self-compassion, doing activities that restore your energy while helping you relax, and striving towards an ideal rather than a temporary goal. Detrimental behaviors are addressed, but solutions are not forced on anyone and are instead suggested as ones that can be gradually practiced. 

However, as much of an informational cornucopia as this book might be, it is also quite repetitive, which can sometimes make entire pages seem like painfully slow recaps. But mildly irritating as they might be, these recaps drive the concepts of this book deep into your mind so that they can’t be easily forgotten, and even the last page of each chapter lists the main concepts and key takeaways that you've read about, which help jog your memory when you’ve been reading for a while.

This book, when understood and absorbed in its entirety, can be a wonderful gateway into living a more meaningful life in which you can be kind to yourself and always be driven despite what happens along the way because you’ll have self-assurance of what you are striving towards, therefore not allowing you to lose sight of what is important to you.

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