Best Books That Will Help You Overcome Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself?

Perfection is not necessarily bad. But if you are obsessed with it and can’t stand making mistakes, then it’s an area of concern.

When you are obsessed with perfection, nothing you do will ever make you feel good enough because you focus on the negatives. It’s impossible to achieve your goals when you set them unrealistically high.

Below are the 10 best perfectionism books. If you are tired of being a perfectionist, these books will help you deal with and overcome your perfectionism issues.

Choose a book that resonates with you the most.

Top 10 Best Books on Overcoming Perfectionism

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1. How to Be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise

“Imperfectionists accomplish more with less stress.”

Do you plan for the perfect workout, but end up doing nothing? Do you plan for the perfect date, but nothing turns out right?

If you need concrete solutions to help you fix your perfectionism problem, this is the book for you. Written by the author of Mini Habits, the author believes that the cure for perfectionism is to make small, strategic actions.

Instead of striving perfection and feeling stressful, making simple changes and embracing imperfection can lead to greater happiness and contentment.

This book is perfect for those who want to understand the perfectionist mind and find an effective approach for change.

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2. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brené Brown

Do you hide your struggles and pretend to be perfect?

From young, we are taught to be perfect and how we are supposed to be. But the quest for perfection is tiring and never-ending. It just make us suffer in shame.

Written by bestselling author Brene Brown, this book invites you to explore the pressures behind the need for perfectionism. It helps you discover healthy ways to reclaim your self-worth and embrace your imperfection.

Being imperfect doesn’t mean being inadequate. This book helps you understand and build resilience in dealing with shame. As a shame researcher, the author encourages us to talk about our struggles and imperfections, instead of hiding it.

If you constantly feel judged or ashamed of your imperfections, this is the book for you.

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3. Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar

“You don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly happy.”

Using positive psychology, this book changes your definition of success and failure. It helps you understand the difference between healthy perfectionism and unhealthy perfectionism.

In the book, the author uses the term “Optimalist” to describe someone with healthy perfectionism and “Perfectionist” as someone who has unhealthy perfectionism. Optimalist embraces reality and failure, while Perfectionist don’t.

The goal of this book is to learn how to become an Optimalist. Using a series of meditations, you will learn to focus on the positives.

This book is good for anyone interested in embracing a more positive outlook and may be especially appealing if you enjoy meditations as part of your learning process.

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4. Present Perfect by Pavel Somov

Do you always criticise yourself for being imperfect? Do you blame yourself all the time for making mistakes?

If yes, this book will help you reduce self-criticism. Based on the practice of mindfulness, this book helps you to understand perfectionism and appreciate the perfection in the present moment.

It also contains over 150 exercises and meditations that can be used to deal with perfectionism. This book is best suited to someone who is  open to mindfulness practices and looking for something beyond the standard self-help strategies.

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5. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

This New York Times bestseller invites you to discover the power in living in a state of loving vulnerability – being open to the world and engaged in a way that is healthy and fulfilling.

The author takes you on her own journey and shares the lessons she’s learned about perfectionism. Along the way, questions, strategies and tips are offered.

This book was written primarily for women but is suitable for anyone seeking to embrace the power and freedom that can be found in an imperfect life. This is a great first step resource for you if you want to let go of perfection but fears what will remain.

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6. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Do you multitask while interacting with others? How do you overcome the busyness of your life and enjoy connecting with the people around you?

If you’ve ever found yourself overworked and overwhelmed with doing it all, this bestselling book is for you.

Written with humor and candor, this book offers a series of essays which invites you to consider your own need for perfection and the changes to be applied to your own life.

This book is most suitable if you enjoy learning from the experiences of others. The insights in this book will make you reflect on your own life.

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7. Overcoming Perfectionism by Ann Smith

Perfection does not exist. Striving for perfection becomes a serious problem when it evolves into an addiction.

Written by a nationally recognized expert in the field of codependency, this book offers you a straightforward approach to overcome the prevalent pressures towards perfectionism in our today’s culture.

Reading this book will help you discover the roots of your problems. You will also learn the process of letting go and embracing your authentic self.

This book is best suited to the reader who enjoys the process of self-discovery. It is also appropriate for those dealing with issues of codependency and addiction.

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8. Too Perfect by Jeannette Dewyze and Allan Mallinger

What happens when being in control gets out of control?

If you are tired of being analytical, this is the book for you. This book is about our obsession with perfectionism.

Based on research and clinical experience, the authors present a structured plan to overcome perfectionism and reclaim happiness and self-esteem.

In this book, you will find numerous exercises, self-tests, fascinating case studies and practical strategies that can be easily implemented.

This book is best suited for someone who is over analytical and thinks too much.

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9. Perfecting Ourselves to Death by Richard Winter

This book explores the good, the bad and the ugly of perfectionism. From the social pressure to be a certain way to the emotional roots and drive for excellence, this book invites you to explore you own relationship with perfectionism.

Offering practical strategies for change, the author explores both the spiritual and psychological aspects of coping with perfectionism.

Towards the end of the book, the author also focuses on the pressure of being a perfect Christian. This book is most suitable for Christian, but non-Christian can benefit from reading this book too.

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10. When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough by Martin Antony and Richard Swinson

“Imperfection is a part of being human.”

Now in its 2nd edition, this book is perfect for those who are looking for tried and true strategies for dealing with the need for perfection.

Through exercises and engaging questions, you will discover the causes of your perfectionism, realize the impact that perfectionism has on you life and find effective, proven skills to cope with your fear of making mistakes.

What makes this book stand out are the sections on dealing with other perfectionists and information about the relationship between perfectionism and other mental health issues such as depression, anger, social anxiety, and body image.

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Yong Kang

Yong Kang

Hey there, I’m Yong Kang, best known as Nerdy Creator. I’m an author of seven books. I write about spirituality, self-compassion, and mindfulness. I love reading books, especially non-fiction. The list above is a combination of what I have read and my research. Each year, I create a Top 10 list of my favorite books.