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Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
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Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  32,974 Ratings  ·  1,486 Reviews
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1992)
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One of the most life-changing books I have ever read.

Judgmental people BEWARE: Do not mock this review. No, not even in your head. If you have come here to gloat and feel superior to someone you think is an idiot for liking something so clearly beneath your Literature IQ, do me a favor and stop reading right now. I mean it. Go away.

Are you gone?

Ok, good.

As I was saying, this book is one of the greatest, most life-changing books I have ever read. People who are critical of that statement have n
Oct 27, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone struggling with saying "no", the over-committed person
Recommended to Kim by: a lady at my church
I really recommend this biblically based book to anyone who struggles with saying "no" or those who allow others to take advantage of them in just about any way (time, money, favors, services, etc.). The first few chapters help the reader understand what boundaries are and that they are not selfish at all, in fact, they are necessary to protect us. Then the book uses examples of types of problems people have setting and maintaining boundaries (fear of anger, rejection, loss of a friend). When yo ...more
Mar 09, 2012 sharon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm not a huge fan of "Christian-lite" self-help writing because it so often feels formulaic, especially when the authors start each chapter with cheesy anecdotes from their own practice. However, I'm giving Cloud and Townsend a pass because the ideas put forth in Boundaries have so completely revolutionized my view on the subject. The authors give solid Biblical backing for why boundaries are important, how they are formed, and how to set them in your own life. I especially appreciated that the ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Not in my normal genre so I can't give this 5 Stars...SCREW THAT!!!! 5 Stars, 5 Stars, 5 Stars! 100 Stars if I could give 100 stars! *Sigh* Oh well, 5 Stars it is.

This is a book that every human being alive or dead should be required to read. Christian or Non-Christian alike. Yes, Cloud and Townsend relate the idea of Boundaries to God. However, this idea of boundaries and how we apply them to ourselves and other people is universal. And it blew my mind. I never thought about this idea of bound
Dec 02, 2009 Karina rated it did not like it
... Not what I expected. I decided to read this after seeing some glowing reviews. So I opened the book, read the introduction "A Day in a Boundaryless Life" describing a day of a lady who's unable to refuse anyone but feels resentful and guilty about her resentfulness, and a couple of pages on the book. Then skipped to the end, "A Day in a Life with Boundaries", describing the same person who has successfully set boundaries, and doesn't hesitate to say "no" anymore. Well, it's not for me. In my ...more
Nola Redd
Jun 17, 2008 Nola Redd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a relationship with another person
Recommended to Nola by: Dave Ramsey
I listened to this on tape while driving, but I intend to go back and read it (probably more than once) so that it can more thoroughly seep into my head. This is a great book for anyone who has problems saying 'no' to family, friends, church assignments, coworkers, or themselves. It's really good for anyone who has a *RELATIONSHIP* with any of the aforementioned, which is essentially everyone.
FOLLOWUP: I had to return this to the library, without finishing it. I am having a very dif
Aug 23, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief-work
This is an excellent book. I actually purchased and read a newer edition, with a white and red cover.
This book could apply to many different troublesome situations. If you're a people pleaser that tends to get stressed out, there are some really helpful things in here. Or if you are liable to be taken advantage of.
I like the Christian viewpoint, because it takes into account the fact that followers of Christ WANT to serve others and not be "selfish." Yet it also teaches why we must set boundari
Feb 03, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who wants to improve their relationships
Recommended to Mary by: Mom (go figure)
Shelves: christian
This book really helped to clarify for me that it is not selfish or unChristian to get your own life in order using boundaries. Keep pushing forward with defining your boundaries, although others may react negatively. That is their problem with boundaries of others, not yours.
I think the authors secretly spied on me and all my interpersonal relationships to write this book! But seriously, reading this and using my bible as help...lots of scriptural references to how God wants us to set our boun
Oct 19, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
I was hesitant at first to read this book because the synopsis referred to Christians and being that I am not Christian and not seeking to live a Christian lifestyle, I didn't think it would be for me. However, I did start to read the first chapter and soon discovered it was indeed for me. I may not be a Christian, however I was raised Christian therefore learned about boundaries the way Christian see them, a bit too loose and forgiving.

The book may make scripture references but not so much that
Mar 25, 2009 Katy rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not done reading the book yet, so I may update this later. The fact is, if I wasn't reading this book for a book group, I don't think I would go any further, or gotten as far as I have.

The thing I hate the most in this one is how much scripture is quoted. The authers feel like they have to back up every sentance they right with scripture in order to make what they just said okay. To accomplish this they often end up twisting the words of the orginal authors and take things out of context. I
Dec 15, 2008 Meredith rated it it was amazing
A five-star book for those of us who just san't say no to others. If you need to learn how to distance yourself and protect your family from needy people in a moving way, check it out. It's ok to say no. It's ok to take care of your own needs sometimes!
c T
Sep 15, 2015 c T rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Trông chờ dữ lắm rốt cuộc thất vọng bực mình, dị ứng với một nùi mấy câu kinh thánh, đưa vô chục câu thôi còn được, đoạn nào cũng có 1 câu thì sao chịu nổi. Cuốn này chắc hợp với mấy con chiên ngoan đạo, loại vô đạo như mình thật không đọc nổi.
Jan 15, 2016 Relstuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
I took my time reading this one. It's got some pretty powerful questions about how you treat yourself and see yourself in relation to other people in your life.
Sep 23, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This is a literal story of not judging a book by its cover...

Someone I trust very deeply about such issues recommended I read this book called "Boundaries." When I found it at the library, I was horrified! It looked like a cheesy self-help book, and worse, it had won the Gold Medallion Book Award - "in recognition of excellence in Evangelical Christian literature." Needless to say, I was terrified; in no way do I self-identify as an Evengelical. But like I said before, I trusted this person, so
Aubrey Hansen
Mar 03, 2013 Aubrey Hansen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: outread-aubrey
I'd passed this book by chance while researching cover design on Amazon and thought the summary sounded eerily like a sermon I needed to hear. Pleasantly, my library had it, and I checked it out--and, as often happens with library books, neglected it until it was overdue. I could always check it out later, right? But I decided that I should at least read it lightly, even if I couldn't do a thorough study, before I returned it.

I'm glad I did. I'd not be exaggerating to say this book may change my
Lizzie Jones
Aug 21, 2013 Lizzie Jones rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. It has helped me so much to consider how to navigate situations at work, at home and in social situations. I highly recommend it, especially if you don't especially love confrontations, like myself.

This is from the book's description: "Often Christians focus so on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limitations. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer biblically based insights into how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co
Having issues with setting boundaries, I was really excited to start reading this book based on all the wonderful reviews on Imagine my disappointment when I did start and found it utterly ordinary. In fact, it was rather difficult to finish. I feel like half the book was about understanding the different ways you are not setting boundaries. OK, I get it: to find a solution, you need to know the problem. But that was a lot of background.

Then, there are chapters for each type of relat
Nora St Laurent
Apr 13, 2015 Nora St Laurent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book changed my life forever. This is a very powerful book that teaches you what boundaries are and how to set them. This book set me free and brought great healing to my life. Some of the principles were hard for me to implement just because of past hurts. But they have made me a happier and healthier person. The concepts are easy to understand and get. I just had to have the courage to let God move in this area of my life. When I did EVERYTHING changed for the good. I highly recommend thi
Jan 14, 2008 Jim rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no-one
This book is just a bunch of Christian psycho-babble about how to 'say no'. the author drones on and on with example situations about a working mom driving the kids to soccer practice, being asked to volunteer at church, all the while juggling her career with the needs of her jerk of a husband and bratty / whining kids. Really, it's not much more than a book created to give people excuses for making bad choices in the first place.

the book could be summed up in a few sentences:

1) if you want to h
Aug 20, 2011 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found it to be a very practical book. Its so easy to allow others to take advantage of me but if I set boundaries in a healthy Christian manner it makes for better relationships. As the sayinggoes; "Good fences make good neighbors."
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Sep 26, 2011 Lori L (She Treads Softly) rated it it was amazing
I've been taking a class this summer on boundaries, based on the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. According to Wikipedia, "Personal Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. Personal boundaries define you as an individual. They are statements of what you w ...more
Probably a very helpful book for someone else, but not for me. Too simplistic and too generic and too boring. Just not necessary and not useful for me. This feels too much like a self-help book.
Josip Brecak
Jun 10, 2015 Josip Brecak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boundaries are limits that people create for themselves to see what are permissible ways for others to behave towards them and what are the limits of one's actions towards others. Through these boundaries one will know when to say yes and when to say no in order to have a greater control ones life.

In the beginning this book was a bore, and one thing that may bother many readers is the references to the bible on literally every page. It does help reinforce some of the points, but at times it can
Cool Readings (Book Club)
Using Christian principles, Boundaries seeks to explain what boundaries and limits are, how they can be established, violated, reinforced and amended and their related consequences. Using simple and relatable language the authors use numerous illustrations which drive their points home. Immediately on commencing the book the reader is given a glimpse into the life of 'Sherry', whose life aptly portrays the effects of a boundary less life and this in turn then sets the stage for the authors to pr ...more
Apr 18, 2010 Tripleguess rated it liked it
I greatly appreciate the premise of this book; it's not just okay, but wise and right, for Christians to have boundaries. Boundaries are not walls fencing us off from humanity, but gated defenses that allow us to keep stupid or malicious people from doing us harm.

I do think there was some "reading back" of psychology training onto the Bible verses... I'm not sure Peter was a certain type of controlling person, or if one can judge that from a single verse.

If anything, the title goes into borderli
Steve Penner
Feb 10, 2014 Steve Penner rated it it was amazing
I have known of this book for many years, picked up the basic premise from listening to others and thought I knew enough about it to make it useful. I finally read it and am so very glad I did. The whole concept of boundaries--creating, sustaining, enforcing--is a subset of family systems theory. The book gives details on what those concepts mean, how to apply them and what to expect when you do. The idea repeatedly emphasized that I most appreciated was that boundary-setting and living a life o ...more
Jul 22, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for folks who find themselves committed to things they don't really want to do or resenting people who treat them a certain way or people with relationship problems where they feel all possible solutions are bad. At the heart of a lot of these problems is a misunderstanding of what actually falls under the category of "my responsibility." At first the whole concept sounds like an excuse to be selfish. But the idea is that once you quit doing everything everyone wants you to ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
I think this actually has a lot of wisdom about healthy relationships, but I don't agree that the unhealthiness is rooted in problems from your parents. I think for a lot of people it can be, but it's too simple of a concept to be broadly applied to all people. Some people have great parents and still learn unhealthy patterns from elsewhere that they then carry into their adult lives. But that aside, if you can ignore that, there's a lot of practical wisdom.
Jan 10, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read with practical ways to improve the boundaries in your relationships and strengthen those relationships as a result. I highly recommend this book!
Shorel Kleinert
May 16, 2016 Shorel Kleinert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture-track
This has been on my reading list for awhile and recent events just moved up the timeline. In short, this book is about living a healthy life and knowing your own boundaries in relation to others. No, it's not about trying to put boundaries around other people. Dr.Cloud makes it quite clear that you can not change others. You can only determine your own proactive responses/reactions...and sometimes that involves limiting how much you interact with them.

Boundaries are good. They are healthy. They
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 7 26 Feb 14, 2016 03:22AM  
What have you learned in life when you finished reading this book? 5 15 Mar 14, 2015 04:48AM  
Christian Mom Reads: June Book of the Month: Boundaries 1 21 Jun 09, 2013 12:23AM  
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Dr. Cloud has written or co-written twenty-five books, including the two million-seller Boundaries. His most recent books are Boundaries for Leaders and Necessary Endings. He has earned three Gold Medallion awards, and was awarded the distinguished Retailers Choice award for God Will Make A Way.

As president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Cloud has produced and conducted hundreds of public semina
More about Henry Cloud...

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“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where i end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with. We must own our own thoughts and clarify distorted thinking.” 47 likes
“The Bible is clear about two principles: (1) We always need to forgive, but (2) we don’t always achieve reconciliation. Forgiveness is something that we do in our hearts; we release someone from a debt that they owe us. We write off the person’s debt, and she no longer owes us. We no longer condemn her. She is clean. Only one party is needed for forgiveness: me. The person who owes me a debt does not have to ask my forgiveness. It is a work of grace in my heart.” 37 likes
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