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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

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  28,327 ratings  ·  1,152 reviews
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 18th 2002 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
Jan 23, 2008 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Nola Redd
Jul 28, 2008 Nola Redd rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
... 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
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
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 11, 2008 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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!
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
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
Aubrey Hansen
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
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
Josip Brecak
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
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."
Nora St Laurent

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
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
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
Lizzie Jones
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
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
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
Feb 17, 2008 Jim rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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
Steve Penner
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
Melissa Jarmel
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.
Katy Wilmotte
If I had first read this book at an earlier time in my life, say two years ago before I started college and began to know God personally, I would undoubtedly have given this 5 stars and been writing this review with tears of relief in my eyes. For the principles laid out in the book are indeed life-changing, and unbeknownst to me when opening the cover, I have already been slowly and steadily been applying them in my life these last two years before I ever even knew the book existed.
It is my be
Summer Meyers
The first chapter of the book was awful. It opens with a story about Sherri and she is guilt ridden at every turn, from her mother ("you never have time for a little old lady!"), to her boss ("Could you have these done by tonight?"), to her family ("Whats for dinner?" "You can't make me!" etc etc).

Its pretty much awful.

After reading through that agonizing beginning, the next few chapters for me were like, "YES! YES! YES!". I loved it. I thought this was it! I have this and this problem and this
Everyone should read this.

There are two major sources of conflict in our relationships: Either we try to control other people or we allow other people control us. But Cloud gives us permission to change that narrative. By taking responsibility for our own lives and refusing to tolerate intrusion from others, we can set personal limits to protect our time, talents, treasures and hearts from waste and exploitation.

This is a particularly difficult idea for Christians to accept, which makes me espec
By: Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Grade: A+
This is a book about setting limits on how much people and life can put a tax on you. For example if have someone always needing your help and it cuts into time you need to do something else, or if someone is always having you do their work for them.
A compliant person: Tries not to rock the boat and keeps everyone happy. They have a fear of being alone. This book says that that is not a healthy place to be in. That is not enforcing your boundar
Sarah Crandall
While I can see how some would use this book as justification for doing whatever they want, it is very clearly aimed at people from abusive/controlling or manipulative families and backgrounds who are finding it difficult to say "No" to overextending themselves in all areas of their lives. Written from a very religious perspective, some Biblical quotations are perhaps taken out of context, but used to illustrate a point that is valid nevertheless. The intent and purpose of this book, and advice ...more
The authors of "Boundaries" define boundary issues as any area where our personal “fences” are too strong or too weak. These may be limits that we put on our time, money, energy, work, other people’s demands, or our own selves. Boundary issues usually lead to a feeling of lack of control, which we often (perhaps unconsciously or unintentionally) combat by trying to control others or letting them control us. There is nothing sinister about this. We are all just trying to get our personal needs me ...more
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  • The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes
  • Beyond Boundaries: How To Know When It's Time To Risk Again
  • Bold Love
  • Inside Out
  • Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
  • 48 Days to the Work You Love
  • The Bondage Breaker
  • The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God
  • Every Woman's Battle: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment
  • Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
  • The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships
  • Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money
  • Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
  • How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleashing the Power of Authentic Life in Christ
  • Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
  • The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant: Principles for Successful Living
  • Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
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.” 38 likes
“When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” 25 likes
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