Like any good nonfiction book covering something simultaneously translucent and dense, Coline Monsarrat is able to articulate the entirety of her book’s core concepts in a sentence or two. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, particularly when it comes to self-help initiatives, this is sort of a must. If you can’t summarize your arguments in a minute or two, then that’s a problem I’ve got with you.


But Coline Monsarrat avoids this in droves, simply by the titling of the book itself. Like a good thesis, or opening statement of a position paper, it epitomizes core themes and messaging succinctly, essentially a sort of verbose and ideological capturing of lightning in a bottle. “It’s never too late to be your true self; believe me, that’s one of the best journeys you will ever take,” Monsarrat writes, near the beginning of the aptly titled You Are Not an Imposter, with the subtitled christening Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Unlock Your True Potential So You Can Thrive in Life.

“If you really start screening your life, you will realize that it has spread into all aspects of your existence. You feel like an imposter in your relationships, as a parent, and even with your health. But do you understand this cost? Most likely, you have not realized it. You are so used to acting the way you do that it becomes normal behavior,” she states. “The mask has become your second skin and gives you a sense of security. In the end, you are just a fraud waiting to be found out.

At least, that’s what you believe, and that’s what I thought, too…Although imposter syndrome is not an official psychiatric diagnosis, the impact is widely recognized by psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors who have to assist people like us who believe that they are imposters in their own lives. Even though it affects many people, the syndrome is still seen as taboo. It can be tricky to realize that we are victims of this phenomenon as imposter syndrome usually comes with low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I am sure that as you read this book, the feeling of shame will invade you many times as your brain tells you what a fraud you are.”


Monsarrat clearly writes from a deeply personal place, but juxtaposes this with her appropriately clinical tone, and evident professional expertise. She highlights how this is a particularly pertinent phenomenon amongst women, and seems particularly driven to gear the narrative towards lifting female readers in its target demographic and audience. “What I have learned during my journey is that it is actually a combination of mental patterns that group together to form the imposter syndrome.

By debunking each of them, one after the other, you will be able to break them, so you can finally thrive in your life,” Monsarrat writes. “I do not think you can—or should—completely eradicate imposter syndrome. A small pinch of imposter syndrome can help you take action and help you grow. Imagine if you were entirely sure of everything you did: You would likely miss any warning signs and just head straight into a wall. But having a little bit of imposter syndrome and being a victim of it are very different things. You need to readjust your place on the spectrum to find the balance.”

Garth Thomas