A Tale of Two Self-Help Books: Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection and Rachel Hollis’s Girl Wash Your Face

I’m not sure if I made a mistake or wisely-yet-unknowingly paired two self-help books. But I read these two back-to-back, and now I feel like I just took a college psychology course titled Psych 201 – From Vulnerable to Victorious: Lessons in Empowerment from Girlbosses. (DUDE. Note to self: That title is awesome and I must teach that course!)

I meant to do a separate book review post for each of these books, but now I can’t decipher which lesson I learned from which book. Because–surprise! surprise!–they both have very similar messages, albeit with very different voices.

Both works talk about facing and tackling vulnerability as the key to self-empowerment. The key difference is that Brown writes from the perspective of a researcher, whereas Hollis reflects as a liver of life. Brown looks at the root of the problem of the feeling of unworthiness. She calls us to study it, embrace it, and move forward from it, whereas Hollis tells you how she got over it, and how you can, too.

Both books are organized similarly. Brown’s chapters are her ten “guideposts” to what she calls “wholehearted living.” Each chapter focuses on a common mindset that limits our feelings of self-worth, and instead proposes a new, positive way of looking at the same issue.

Hollis’s book does pretty much the same thing. Each chapter is a different “lie” that we as women believe. She breaks down each lie by telling personal stories of how she learned the “truth,” and how that helped her grow as a businesswoman, mother, wife, and Christian. FYI: She talks about being Christian a lot. If this makes you uncomfortable, or if the idea of looking at shame from a Christian layperson’s perspective (as opposed to Brene Brown’s more scholarly, neutral call for spirituality) is unappealing to you, you probably don’t need to read this book.

Now that I’ve listened to both, I feel a bit worn out from all this introspection via audiobook. And, while I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from each, I’ve got to take a break from listening to self-help. I’ve got to actually go out and do the things those books told me to do!

Trying to decide which of these books is right for you? Maybe this will help:

You Might Like Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection if you…

  • Like a research-based, psychological/academic approach to the topics of vulnerability, shame, and worthiness
  • Are introspective
  • Need to know and analyze the root of the problem
  • Want to learn how to shift your mindset to a healthier outlook on life
  • Want a study in worthiness that speaks to a more general audience

Audiobook review: Meh. Not read by the author. The narrator has a soothing, relaxing (boring) voice.

Final Word: This will help you see why you feel the sense of unworthiness, and how you can start shifting your mindset to looking at life differently.

You Might Like Rachel Hollis’s Girl Wash Your Face if you…

  • Enjoy listening to motivational podcasts (the audiobook is read by Hollis, who has her own podcast)
  • Want a study in worthiness that targets Christian women
  • Need to hear stories from someone who is totally relatable as evidence that you, too, can get over whatever it is that’s blocking your path to success
  • Want to just get over the problem already, and not think about its cause
  • Need someone to yell at you to “girl, wash your face” a

Audiobook Review: Entertaining! Rachel Hollis reads it herself.

Final Word: This is if you just want to hear a girlfriend who’s been through difficulties give you some real advice on getting over your vulnerabilities.

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