I’m currently listening to Brian Tracy’s No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline for Success in Your Life on audiobook.

I’ve been a Brian Tracy fan for years, and I often re-listen to No Excuses since it’s free as part of my Audible membership. It’s a powerful reminder that you don’t always need a better strategy or a fancy new goal-setting system—sometimes, you just need to put on your big boy/big girl pants and get to work.

But this book has some problems. It makes its share of questionable claims (often involving the ever-present “law of attraction”), and Tracy’s brief section on self-discipline in marriage is full of sentences like, “Men are simple and straightforward in their thinking, whereas women are more complex, aware of small details, and extremely sensitive to the dynamics and nuances of the relationships of the people around them.” This is, at best, a gross overgeneralization.

Issues like these can tempt us to write entire books off. If it’s got a little crazy in it, we reason, then the whole book is compromised. In reality, all books (and all people) have a little crazy in them, or at least some weak spots.

By demanding perfection, we cheat ourselves out of excellence. We readers are in charge of our own reading experience, and since there’s no law against skipping a chapter or two, we should embrace a basic tenet of the well-lived life: take what you can use and leave the rest.