Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

Present over Perfect

“This is the story of my sea-change – the journey from one way of living to another. It’s also an invitation to a sea-change of your own.”

– Shauna Niequist, Present over Perfect

I just finished reading Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living, by Shauna Niequist. Although I’d been expecting more of a self-help book, this New York Times best seller is a memoir.

Present over Perfect is written from a Christian perspective.[1] But, although there are references to God and church, it’s primarily about Niequist’s attempts to focus more on her family and less on her career.

This book is well reviewed by many, but I can’t say I enjoyed it or found it helpful. That’s not to say you won’t, but Present over Perfect didn’t speak to me now; nor did it seem like something that would have been helpful to me in the past.

For one thing, the essays are repetitive. They also meander and sometimes get off course. But that’s something I could get beyond if the content truly resonated with me.

Much of this book simply doesn’t apply to my life. Part of this is because I’m an introvert, so Niequist’s discoveries about silence and stillness are hardly news to me.

Part of it is that my struggles over busyness have a lot less to do with wanting to impress other people than with feeling I could be doing more to “save the world.”

Some of it’s that I’ve never had to choose between working too much and spending time with my family. If this is something you’re struggling with, you may find the book inspiring.

If you think you might be interested, check it out from your local library (mine had a long wait for it, due to the number of holds).

Have you read Present over Perfect? Did you like it? Find it inspiring? Helpful?


[1] But she’s been criticized for being too “new age” and not “scriptural” enough, so some Christians won’t like the book for that reason.

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