McGraw-Hill Ryerson

McGraw-Hill Ryerson

April 27, 2009 12:00 ET

McGraw-Hill Releases the Latest Book by Tal Ben-Shahar

The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life.

WHITBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2009) -

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We are regularly bombarded with images and definitions of perfection that promise total happiness: a wrinkle-free face, the right car, a storybook wedding, a faultless college application, six-pack abs. Society assures us that perfection is a guaranteed gateway to bliss.

Ironically, writes Tal Ben-Shahar, the harder you pursue a state of "perfect," the more elusive happiness becomes. In THE PURSUIT OF PERFECT: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life, Ben-Shahar, whose book, Happier, and popular "Happiness" classes at Harvard University garnered national attention, confronts the myth of perfection and the illusory, unattainable expectations and standards we desire of ourselves, and others.

Ben-Shahar's research in the field of positive psychology reveals the high cost of perpetually seeking this unrealistic state of being, and that we suffer from the myth of perfection, individually and collectively. Perfectionists are so chronically unsatisfied with anything remotely flawed that true happiness becomes ever more elusive. Even success gets rejected ("I could have done better!"), instantly eclipsing any feelings of pride, accomplishment, or gratitude. Happiness doesn't hide within perfection, Ben-Shahar cautions.

The Optimalist, on the other hand, accepts the flaws and realities of life's journey, and understands that failure is a part of the plan. Optimalists know the difference between mistakes and failure, can accept the reality of a less-than-perfect life, can accept praise for a job well done and learn from mistakes. Optimalists are far from perfect, writes Ben-Shahar, but are perfectly, happily, human.

Drawing insights from professors, poets, philosophers, and even physicists, with insightful anecdotes and meditative time-ins, THE PURSUIT OF PERFECT reveals the flaws in the drive to be flawless. It teaches how to cut loose from the all-or-nothing mentality of the Perfectionist and balance it with the open, fearless embrace of the Optimalist.


Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of HAPPIER. He taught the most popular course in Harvard University's history, and turned down a tenure track position there in order to pursue what would make him happiest. He obtained in Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Harvard.

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