The Art of Good Enough

The Working Mom's Guilt-Free Guide to Thriving While Being Perfectly Imperfect

Non-Fiction - Womens
184 Pages
Reviewed on 12/04/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

After careers in business, engineering, and pharmacy, Dr. Ivy Ge pursued her childhood dream of being a writer and helping other women reach their goals.

Her mission is to show women that the key to joy and fulfillment is not to wrestle with their weaknesses, but to value and capitalize on their strengths.

As an award-winning author and a working mother, she has successfully transformed her life by enhancing her strengths and applying research-proven, practical tools for work-life balance.

Her writings and interviews have been featured on PBS, Thrive Global, Working Mother magazine, Parentology, and The Times of India, Midwest Book Review, and Publishers Weekly.

Visit her website for more information on how to create the life you love.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what the term 'a good mother' means, but what is the true definition? For many working mothers, juggling motherhood with their chosen career can be a demanding balancing act filled with guilt as they try to live up to unrealistic expectations. Throughout The Art of Good Enough by Ivy Gee, you will discover techniques that, if practiced, will help you make sense of all those negative emotions you are experiencing. Learn how to uncover your hidden strengths, develop healthy, nurturing relationships with your children and partner, and understand the root cause of your negative self-image. As you work through the exercises, you will gain insights that will give your mind and body a complete overhaul so you can become the best version of yourself and begin the journey towards self-acceptance and happiness.

The Art of Good Enough by Ivy Ge is unlike any other guide I have ever read because it deals with the negative emotions every working mother can relate to. I loved the personal stories, especially Helen's, which I immediately related to. The author clearly has experience of being a working mother herself as her insights were so profound. I liked the way she gave you realistic techniques that you could try straight away. There are many golden nuggets of information throughout. I particularly enjoyed the section on pain and pleasure; that was a huge 'aha' moment for me. The statement that it is more important to enhance our strengths than improve our weaknesses was quite powerful. This guide gives every woman permission to live authentically and not feel obliged to live up to others' expectations.

I feel there is something in this book for everyone, from dealing with negative emotions, anxiety, and jealousy to overcoming fear, setting goals that matter to you, and nurturing your children according to their unique needs so they are fully prepared for the outside world. The most valuable part of this book for me, if I had to choose, would be the section on reverse engineering; this was such a lightbulb moment for me. I cannot recommend this guide highly enough. Thank you for creating such an uplifting and encouraging book.

Susan Straight

"I love Ivy Ge's take on motherhood, working, and staying human and full-souled."
- Susan Straight, National Book Award finalist, author of In the Country of Women

Alex Hyun

As a 27 year old, never-married woman, it might be a wonder as to why I would have picked this book up.

I came across a small ad for this book in a local business couple months ago when I was slumping on life.

I had just recently relocated to my childhood he where I grew up with an extremely abusive father. All the free time I had was spent fixing up the old apartment beyond recognition to help keep the panic attacks away at night.
I was attending full enrollment at school, worked near full time employment, while driving an hour away on weekends to take care of my partner.
Making my own living, paying tuition, and keeping two homes tidy at once— these were all choices I made voluntarily. At this stage in life, I was quite confident that a lot of my personal short term goals were getting checked off along a good path. But I could never give myself the forgiveness of acknowledging the fact that my time and goals were different from my peers.
Friends around me were flaunting diamond rings on social media. Judging from my steady relationship with my partner, I felt pressured into recognizing the age norm sociological goals catching up. The pattern of a working mother’s lifestyle fitted itself into my long term objectives.

My primary goal was clear. I wanted to finish my overdue degree and move onto the next stage of my life. But with other major goals such as starting a family at a good age, keeping appearance, maintaining an extremely hypoallergenic environment to fight off allergies froze me.

After breaking down crying on Valentines Day on piling living and academic expenses, declining health, and how little my partner appreciates my unconditional care and love, I was engulfed by the fear of romantic relationships and the future of starting my own family. The way that things were going, my happiness was screwed at the bottom of my priorities.

I have always been told by professors in the past that my weakness was in my lack of self-love and forgiveness. The bold title of this book stood out to me more than the intended audience clearly stated on the cover: working mothers.

To my surprise, I found myself tearing up—feeling terrible for having overlooked all the sacrifices my mother has made as the sole breadwinner while being married to an alcoholic. I grew up thinking the family having gone through the same thing together. I even despised her for not exiting the marriage sooner.

I found myself mirroring her life, seeing a new projection of where I would be in the next ten years. I can’t dare say that I would be a mother as great as she is. Luckily, I was starting to realize characteristics that would push me towards the OK-mom, a content wife category in the future.

This book was a tasty combination of the author’s personal experiences and tools to reassure that it is okay to take a break, and to let go. Self-lenience and inner honesty are key to constantly recognizing my needs and goals. At the same time, a theory untested is no more than a lingering thought in the back of my mind.

I would love to keep a lot of the concepts in my mind and revisit the book in a few months to see how I have changed after the first read!


I've been looking for a self-help book that resonates with me for some time. When I saw this title, I didn't expect much. As I read through the first few chapters, I felt the author understood me. With all the pressure to be the perfect mom, the writing feels like fresh air, making me look at my situation differently.

As a working professional and a mother of 3, my days are packed. I rarely have time to think about why I feel a certain way, and how does that thought process affects my choices. It's reassuring to know that caring for ourselves isn't selfish. It's an essential part of keeping our relationship strong and healthy. Instead of keeping busy with daily responsibilities and chores, we have to stop and think about how to live wisely and make good choices in the long run.

What I like about this book is that it not only pointed out the root cause of the problems but also how to find the simplest practical solutions. This is the first time I encounter the idea of reverse engineering, and it feels like such a light bulb moment for me. I like how the chapters address the issues women face every day: starting with understanding why we do what we do, followed by how we can initiate changes by changing how we look at things.

The writing style is down to earth and conversational. There are many cited research findings throughout the book. It makes the book feel unbiased and credible.

The author emphasized self reflection so I started to write down what interests matter the most to me that aren't fueled by monetary benefits. I wrote down about 10. Then I realized what a utilitarianism I have always been.

I think the strategies in the book can benefit all women struggling to be perfect in everyday life, moms or not. Give it a try, and you'll learn something you didn't know before.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

"The Art of Good Enough is precisely the medicine that all mothers (and frankly, all women) really need! It is succinct, fun, and right on the mark!"
- Christiane Northrup, M.D., the world's leading authority in women's health and wellness, author of multiple New York Times bestsellers

Publishers Weekly

"The Art of Good Enough reveals how any woman can learn the secret to living her best life guilt-free. Ge's focus on persistence and methodology, combined with her reminder that childhood dreams don't go away when one has a family, are inspiring."

BookLife Review

"It's a spirited pep talk for working mothers, providing information and strategies to improve emotional, mental, and physical well-being. With a passionate and positive voice, Ge encourages them to give up "perfection" for "good enough." She includes bountiful tips on managing time and resources and breaks them down into easy, actionable steps. Overwhelmed women will appreciate these encouraging tips for pursuing personal goals and happiness."

Nely Galán

"The mindset of being good enough is everything in our journeys as mothers. Dr. Ge shows us how we can all do it!"
-Nely Galán, New York Times best-selling author of Self Made, the former President of Entertainment of Telemundo television network

Midwest Book Review

"Every mother, working or not, needs The Art of Good Enough. It's a primer not for perfection, but for ultimate satisfaction and a healthier approach to life."

Laura Vanderkam

"In this cheerful and encouraging book, Ivy shares practical strategies for conquering your fears and getting more out of life. Read it for advice on thriving at work and at home."
- Laura Vanderkam, TED speaker, author of Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

Elana Zaiman

"A gift for moms and women who question their self-worth and their beinggood enough. Uplifting, accessible, and powerful!"
- Elana Zaiman, author of The Forever Letter