Advanced Reviews:

“Rarely does a work of art like Present Perfect fall upon one’s desk. This book allows us to transform existential pain caused by our need to be perfect. This book is abundant with tools and ideas that equip the reader to resolve guilt, shame, and perfectionism. Once you accept and surrender your perfectionism, the magical paradox of mindfulness as a healer will unfold.”
—Ronald A. Alexander, Ph.D., executive director of the Open Mind Training Institute and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind

“This brilliant and practical new book is designed to help alleviate the excess stress and dissatisfaction of perfectionism, one of the main practices of the extremely popular, if unheralded, religion I lovingly call Control Freakism. Pavel Somov gives us numerous helpful awareness exercises, conscious inquiries, insights, mindfulness practices, original perspectives, and penetrating ideas, all conducive to helping us free ourselves from this tyrannical inner demon and experience the radiant reality of things just as they are. Acceptance has its own transformative magic, and I heartily recommend this work to all who want to transform, awaken, and edify.”

—Lama Surya Das, founder of Dzogchen Meditation Centers and author of Awakening the Buddha Within

Present Perfect takes a wholly fresh look at an age-old problem by applying a generous dose of the healing salve of mindfulness. Filled with fascinating references and down-to-earth examples, this book skillfully guides the reader through exercises and strategies that can transform the paralyzing and demoralizing pattern of perfectionism. Present Perfect is the perfect way to liberate yourself from the guilt, shame, and blame of perfectionism and rediscover the freedom of living in the ‘what is.’”

—Donald Altman, psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, and author of The Mindfulness Code

“Pavel Somov offers an intelligent, witty, and compassionate critique of perfectionism and makes a compelling case that life is already perfect. I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable and personally and professionally useful from the first page. I feel as comfortable recommending this book to my colleagues as I do to my patients and am confident that both will find it of tremendous value in their lives. Since perfectionism is often the other side of compulsive and addictive behavior, this book will be relevant to all who seek more moderation and balance in their lives.”

—Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in treating addictive behavior and author of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

“In this book, Somov not only provides a plethora of highly accessible and instantly applicable ways to connect with mindful awareness, but also provides lucid and rational ways to dethrone the inner tyrant of perfectionism and fully live in the completeness of each moment.”

— Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., psychologist, director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and author of Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year

“Even those of us with a lot of self-help reading under our belts will experience many a-ha moments while immersed in Present Perfect. Somov’s approach is highly logical, creative, resourceful, and compassionate. Never once will you feel judged; instead, you’ll feel understood. I highly recommend this valuable resource to therapists and anyone with perfectionist tendencies.”

—Dina Cheney, author of Tasting Club and Williams-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Salads

Editorial (New Harbinger) Review:

Treating perfectionism is difficult in part because perfectionists tend to take even the process of overcoming perfectionism extremely seriously, criticizing themselves for perceived mistakes in the therapeutic process and judging themselves harshly if they feel their progress has been too slow. Because mindfulness does not ask that perfectionists stop anxious thoughts and feelings, only that they recognize them for what they are, mindfulness-based therapies are ideal for treating perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Present Perfect, the first book to offer this revolutionary new way of overcoming perfectionism, presents practical strategies to help readers make peace with their aversion to uncertainty. Each five-minute exercise in this book helps readers practice a new skill drawn from Buddhist psychology for recognizing their ability to change their behavior, tolerating uncertainty, enhancing performance by reducing anxious and perfectionistic feelings, and refraining from judging themselves and others harshly.

Readers may work through this book in order or simply open the book to any page and find a skills-building exercise to practice that day. This free-form approach to treating perfectionism helps readers avoid falling back on rigid patterns and self-blaming tendencies, allowing them to fully accept the moment as they learn to fully accept themselves.

From the Publisher

In Present Perfect, psychologist Pavel Somov presents a mindfulness approach that people with perfectionism, obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), and related controlling tendencies can use to overcome their fear of failure.

Table of Contents


Part I: Introduction to Perfectionism In General and to Your Perfectionism In Particular

Chapter 1: 360° of Perfectionism

Part II: Perfectly Imperfect, Completely Incomplete, and Just So!

Chapter 2: Broadening the Meaning of Perfection

Chapter 3: Perfectly Imperfect: from Dualities and Dichotomies to Suchness

Chapter 4: Completely Incomplete: a Process View of Perfection

Part III: Overcoming Mindlessness, Guilt, Shame, and Motivational Apathy

Chapter 5: Freeing Yourself from the Tyranny of Shoulds: Rehabilitation of Conscious Choice

Chapter 6: Finding Perfection in a Mistake

Chapter 7: From Guilt to Regret: Rediscovering Motivational Innocence

Chapter 8: Un-masking a Should to Find a Want:  from Resentment and Reluctance to Renewed Enthusiasm

Part IV: Rehabilitation of Self-View: Self-Esteem, Self-Acceptance, Am-Ness

Chapter 9: From Self-Esteem to Self-Acceptance: the Path of Disapproval Inoculation

Chapter 10: Breaking Away from the Mirror: Dis-Identification & Re-Identification Path

Part V: Time, Performance, Uncertainty

Chapter 11: From Here to Here:  Developing a Healthy Relationship With Time

Chapter 12: From Outcome-Preoccupation to Process-Focus: In Search of Perfect Performance

Chapter 13: Embracing the Uncertainty of Future

Chapter 14: Beyond Certainty:  Cultivating the “Don’t Know” Mind

Part VI:  Coexistence, Compassion, Connection

Chapter 15: From Social Vacuum to Compassionate Coexistence

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