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When Perfect Isn't Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism Paperback – Jan 15 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 2nd ed. edition (Jan. 15 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157224559X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572245594
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


An excellent description of perfectionism and its self-sabotaging disadvantages. Presents many efficient and effective cognitive-behavioral methods for dealing with and minimizing this affliction. Quite practical and thorough-but nicely flexible and unperfectionistic!"
-Albert Ellis, Ph.D., president of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City and author of A Guide to Rational Living

"All of us know someone who is a perfectionist and most of us have joked about it at one time or another. For some it can be a useful trait that ensures some organization in a disorganized world. But for those individuals coping with too much perfectionism, it can be a curse that takes the pleasure out of life and in some cases can lead to severe anxiety disorders. Now two leading mental health practitioners and clinical scientists provide up-to-date, scientifically validated skills for overcoming perfectionism and regaining control of one's life. This long overdue book should relieve much suffering and enhance functioning for the millions of individuals dealing with excessive perfectionism."
-David H. Barlow, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University

" When Perfect Isn't Good Enough surpasses any of the other books on perfectionism in quality and scope. Antony and Swinson have synthesized what we know about perfectionism and used it to create the first well-integrated approach to reduce the suffering caused by it. The chapters clearly define perfectionism and provide concrete steps to master this demon. Final chapters focus on how perfectionism can manifest itself in other disorders, demonstrating how pernicious this phenomenon can be-and why such a book is so essential. This book will be invaluable to people suffering from perfectionism and to the therapists trying to help them."
-Randy O. Frost, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Smith College in Northampton, MA

" When Perfect Isn't Good Enough is an excellent source for people looking to adjust their standards and expectations and, by so doing, increase the joy in their lives. It is easy to read, filled with solid advice, and based on the best scientific research. Unlike most other self-help books, the many exercises suggested by the authors provide the reader with the tools to put these words into action. Antony and Swinson have produced a thorough and systemic manual to lead the perfectionist out of the misery of depression, anger, worry, and social anxiety, and into the promised land of realistic self-evaluation, self-esteem, and positive interpersonal relations. Bravo!"
-Richard Heimberg, Ph.D., Adult Anxiety Clinic in the department of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA


About the Author

Martin M. Antony, PhD, is professor and chair in the department of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. He is director of research at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, and past president of the Canadian Psychological Association. An award-winning researcher, Antony is coauthor of The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook , When Perfect Isn't Good Enough , and more than twenty-five other books. His research, writing, and clinical practice focus on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and the treatment of anxiety disorders. He has been widely quoted in the American and Canadian media.
Richard P. Swinson, MD, is professor emeritus and past chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada. He is also medical director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre and past psychiatrist-in-chief at Joseph's Healthcare, also in Hamilton. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK. He was awarded an inaugural fellowship of the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 2006.His research interests lie in the theory, assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed papers, thirty book chapters, and eight books. Dr. Swinson has held numerous research grants since 1966 and has been an invited speaker at many conferences around the world on anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. He also chaired the steering committee for the Canadian Anxiety Treatment Guidelines Initiative, leading to the publication of Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Anxiety Disorders in 2006.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a psychologist working in a college counseling center, I see many students who beat themselves up with perfectionistic-type thoughts such as "If I don't get an A in this class, I'm a failure" or "I can't let my friends know I'm upset because they'll think there's something wrong with me." These destructive thoughts can have a devastating impact by leading to anxiety, depression, and a host of other difficulties, and this is the #1 book I recommend to students who are struggling with these issues.
The first section of the book, Understanding Perfectionism, helps the reader to better understand the impact of perfectionism on their life, particularly in the areas of thoughts and behavior. The second section, Overcoming Perfectionism, begins with a self-assessment designed to help the reader identify how their own perfectionistic tendencies manifest. Following the assessment, specific exercises assist the reader in identifying goals and developing a plan for change. Finally, this section offers a wide variety of strategies for changing perfectionist thoughts and behaviors.
The final section of the book focuses on specific problems related to perfectionism, with chapters on depression, anger, social anxiety, worry, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and body image. These chapters contain additional exercises, further information on coping strategies, and an overview of available mental health treatment for each concern.
I particularly like the workbook-style format of this book, as it provides the reader with personalized assistance. Reading this book is an excellent first step for anyone who is trying to understand and wanting to change their perfectionistic tendencies; it also can be used as an adjunct to therapy.
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By A Customer on June 7 2000
Format: Paperback
I have been a perfectionist my whole life. At school, at work, in my relationships, even my looks -- I have always tried to be perfect. Needless to say, this takes a lot of time and energy. Everyone is always telling me to relax, but I have never been able to. Antony and Swinson's book is the first thing that I have read that has truly helped. They provided me with strategies that were easy to understand and have really helped me to relax my standards and view things in a more rational way. I still have some rough days and when I do, I pull this book off my shelf and get a refresher on the strategies that I should be using. I will keep this book, and refer to it, for many years to come. Thanks SO much Drs. Antony and Swinson!
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By A Customer on March 26 2002
Format: Paperback
I worked through this book nine months ago and have since enjoyed the most productive, creative, and calmest nine months of my career. I thought the first part, Understanding Perfectionism, would be a waste of time, but it helped me to realize I had perfectionist tendencies in several areas of my life.
The second and third parts present methods to assess and overcome perfectionism. The methods are specific and numerous; you are led to select those that are most applicable to your situation. I have been amazed at how well the book targeted my problems and at how much this book has helped.
I highly recommend Antony and Swinson's book for anyone with perfectionist tendencies.
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Format: Paperback
This is really a great book. For a layperson like myself who's looking for an intelligent, informed discussion of perfectionism, and suggestions for how to find relief from its more negative aspects, "When Perfect Isn't Good Enough" strikes an excellent balance between an overly technical professional text and the all-too-common self-help book that's too high on fluff and too low on content. This book - which I very much enjoyed reading - is packed with useful information (and good exercises) on how to break free from patterns of perfectionistic thinking and behavior; and it contains what I thought were interesting and insightful discussions on how perfectionism ties together with depression, anger, social anxiety, worry, and other "not so pleasant" dispositions that many of us realize to some degree or other. I found the book quite helpful, and expect to get a fair bit more out of it. Antony and Swinson are clearly experts. Of all the books I've read or looked at on the topic, this one's the best. I highly recommend it.
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By A Customer on April 17 1999
Format: Paperback
"When Perfect Isn't Good Enough" is a "must have" book for any individual struggling with issues of perfectionism. In this one of a kind volume, Dr. Antony challenges our glorified conception of perfectionistic thinking and behavior, exposing the many personal, occupational, and interpersonal costs of assuming that "nothing less than perfect will do." What sets this book apart from any other that I've read is its comprehensive, common sense approach to the topic, combined with a workbook format that allows the reader to apply the information to his or her own life. This was extremely powerful! In addition to providing information about possible causes of perfectionism and links to other conditions, Dr. Antony guides the reader through a personal assessment of his or her own style of perfectionism, developing a specific plan for changing perfectionistic thoughts and behaviors, and evaluating one's progress over time. The book contains numerous examples of effective self-change strategies that others have used to overcome this problem. As a clinician, I have already recommended "When Perfect Isn't Good Enough" to several clients who have found it extremely helpful. I would highly recommend this book to all individuals who would like to free themselves from the agony of perfectionistic thinking. It is an essential item for the library of every mental health professional.
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