Book Review: The Perfect Tulip
Reviewed by Jadidsa Perez
Impulsivity and indecision can alter your life completely—let this book help you make the best decisions.
Alexander Martinez was born in Lima, Peru and moved to The Netherlands in 2015, a decision that turned out to be a huge source of stress for him and his wife. They considered language barriers, income, and even the weather, but were unable to to discuss the massive change without fighting.
Martinez then developed a tool that allowed the couple to weigh every option available—stay in Peru or go to the Netherlands—and make the best choice for them. This tool has become the beating heart of his book The Perfect Tulip, inspiring all the stories within it.
The goal of this book is not to make the “perfect” decision for someone, but to allow readers to critically engage with their choices and understand themselves, their environment, and how all of that will impact their future.
The Perfect Tulip consists of an introduction, four stories, a summary about personality theories like DISC, presentation of the mobile app tool, and an annex that explains Dutch words and culture. The introduction delves into the “why” of the book and more of the author’s backstory.
The four stories revolve around characters in different cities, yet are all interlinked by the same coach, Christiaan De Vries. The summary explains the historical context of personality tests and the way it can influence a person’s values when making a decision. Finally, the annex provides a welcomed translation and understanding of Dutch culture as it pertains to the characters.
What sets Perfect Tulip apart from other psychological self-help books, especially as personality tests have risen in popularity? Martinez’s honesty and focus on decision making carves out a niche within the self-help genre and makes Perfect Tulip not just enjoyable, but practical and informative.
Martinez makes sure to not just include how people’s personalities influence decisions, but how globalization and cultural norms play a part in how we factor in what is best for us. For example, the weather was something that Martinez and his wife, Danitza, considered for their move, but this may not be the case for someone who’s deciding to move to a country with similar weather patterns.
The formatting and structure of the book are sublime. It’s a smooth and informative read, and the story examples are well done—each character easy to empathize with and their situations often difficult to navigate.
There’s an app that works in tandem with the book, which gives readers a chance to not just learn about this tool, but use it. The app is simple, and while it doesn’t offer all the answers and it occasionally deviates from terms used in the book, it’s a good starting point.
All the stories centered around sales and work are good, but I do wonder if we could have diversified the content a bit more. While work is an imperative in life for many, it could have broadened the applicability if this tool was used to contemplate other decisions like whether to publish a book or to continue living with parents instead of moving out.
The symbolism of the “perfect tulip” is excellent. Each person visualizes differently what a perfect tulip looks for them, a flower that holds a lot of significant historical weight. Readers can explore for themselves what they think a perfect tulip looks like and, in turn, feel immersed in the book’s methodology.
Genre: Nonfiction / Self-Help
Print Length: 194 pages
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