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Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality
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Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,546 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Integrity. It is more than simple honesty. It's the key to success. A person with integrity has the -- often rare -- ability to pull everything together, to make it all happen no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Drawing on experiences from his work with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and individual leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and nationall
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Harper Business (first published 2006)
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Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-growth
Great book with valuable lessons. This is definitely a keeper.

*spoilers below*

Some highlights of the book that I found to be valuable:

"Character = the ability to meet the demands of reality" (24).

This involves the ability to:
1. connect authentically;
2. be oriented toward truth;
3. get results;
4. embrace problems and failures and resolve them;
5. be oriented toward growth;
6. be transcendent.

In more depth, a person of character (is)...

1. Establishes trust
"True listening and understanding occurs
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
12/6/10 Ugh, who knows if I'll finish started it as a seemingly realistic self-help book and now seems more like self-righteous...

12/26/10 I stand by the above, and that's why I just can't give this book a higher rating. Truly, there were parts of it that made great sense and that I will remember when I am "working on my character." There, I hate using even the slightest bit of psychobabble, see? I have things I want to improve on in life but I don't need to read them written 65 differ
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Nothing mind blowing but decently practical with some good tips about the merits of integrity and how to develop it. I particularly appreciated the tone. It doesn't promise more than it provides and only relies on a handful of overly-hackneyed stories (that I noticed.)
Rounding up because I'm still smarting from how much I loathed that Seth Godin book I just finished and it made this one shine all the more.
Nothing groundbreaking but coherently presented piece of the importance of integrity and how one can work towards self improvement. Not preachy, which is often the off-putting aspect of those kind of books, but addressed with polite understanding of humans faults.
Claud talks about his experience with working with high achievers and explains that even them have the disintegrated aspect of self. Nobody's perfect. The key thing is to have a good connection with reality and be aware of ones faults
Jeff Bobin
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This has been added to my list of must reads!

I find the integrity of so many people and organizations being questioned today that I found this book one of the most valuable I have read in a long time. The subtitle is the key to what makes this book so important in the culture we live in today. "the courage to meet the demands of reality" is a real challenge for many today.

Think about the many ways we use the word integrity when we are talking not just about people but about organizations, buil
Mark Schleier
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Couldn’t recommend this book enough... Before reading this, my understanding of integrity was quite limited. Integrity teaches us how character/integrity is multi-dimensional and much more than just sticking to moral values.

At a high level, integrity could be broken down into 2 types: 1. Personal & 2. Interpersonal. Personal would be examples of seeking truth in all things, seeking growth in areas of life, results orientation, and problem solving.

Interpersonal would be conveying truth (not lyi
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Character - the ability to meet the demands of reality."

I read Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Henry Cloud. Book #50 of 182, 304 pages, finished 4/14/2017.

Integrity is your standard pop psychology/business book - introducing and re-defining a common term in a way that makes it accessible and helpful for business leaders.

The heart of this book is about redefinition and expansion - mostly around the words 'integrity' and 'character'. Particularly in the case of integrity,
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
One of my new favorite books. One of those books you feel every human should read in order to be a human. The only criticism is how succinct he is. He goes through concepts so stinking fast and so clearly that you hardly have time to ingest them, let alone figure out how to use and apply them. Just great stuff. I should probably just start it over again, right away, but I have other books waiting.
Samantha Weidenbenner
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of the skills to work on to succeed. Doesn't really include how to improve. Inspired me to see a therapist on specific items.
Brandi D'angelo
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book would make a great gift to a college graduate or anyone in a management/leadership position at work or even a mom or dad. It teaches how to be successful thru the tool of integrity. The author keeps your attention by including many interesting, real-life stories, such as when Tylenol pulled all of their bottles from the shelves in 1982 so that no one else would risk death after a few bottles were found to contain cyanide. It's a little bit of a long read, but well worth it.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I took copious notes on this book, journaled for weeks about what came up for me. Here are some excerpts I loved from this book:

Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is when we extend favor to someone, not because they have earned it in some way but because we just possess it to give. It is a stance in life, a way of being. Leave behind a trail of people who have experienced your being “for them” even when you are getting nothing in return. p84

Integrity, the kind that meets the demands of reality, is
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Let me begin with what I didn't enjoy about this book: the overly simplistic and sometimes condescending writing style. It is my belief that if an author feels you need to explain a metaphor, idiom, or word, after using it, he should not use it at all; the reader is intelligent enough to look up the phrase should she for some reason not know what it means. Also, this is a book about business. Not about romantic relationships or Christianity. I enjoy both romantic relations and Christianity, but ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely not your typical book on integrity - or at least what you think the meaning of the word integrity means. I was expecting another book espousing the usual self-help advice on how to be a more honest, moral, and upright person especially when no-one else is know, that how you act in public should be the same way you act in private. I'm sure we've all heard this before and strive to be men and women of integrity - based on this definition.
But Cloud raises the stake
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This books includes information about character, character in business. Basically business relationships are no different that any other relationship. The ability to stand outside of oneself and see strengths and weaknesses is essential to growth and a healthy being whether as an individual or as a business. Most of us, contain a tragic flaw that can bring us down in life. Leaders often live out a flaw which can bring down their whole life as well as their business.
Mark Manderson
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Great premise and has some wonderful tools and questions throughout.
Top takeaways:
Separate IDENTITY from results.
Don't let your need to feel good about yourself overshadow your drive to grow! 
Immaturity is asking life to meet your demands where Maturity is meeting the demands of life! 
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Character = the ability to meet the demands of reality.

1. connect authentically;
2. be oriented toward truth;
3. get results;
4. embrace problems and failures and resolve them;
5. be oriented toward growth;
6. be transcendent.

Henry Cloud has grasped the meaning of Integrity which he defines as the ability to meet the demands of reality. He likens this idea to the character of steel and how it's important to the makeup of a plane. The steel in a plane must succeed. Just as this metal must succeed, peo
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mc-book-club
Honestly this book just wasn’t that great. The ideas were interesting, but they’re all concepts I’ve found better explained in other books. Additionally, the use of comparing business issues or lack of motivation to mental illness (such as how the effects of anorexia on the body is similar to stunted growth if you’re ‘anorexic’ in approaching knowledge, or how alcoholics/addicts sometimes need the motivation of letting down their families, or have their families push them in their own absence of ...more
Mike Mann
I’d like to give this 3.5 stars. I read/listened to this book because I had enjoyed Dr. Cloud’s previous book, _9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life_. This is a worthy follow-up, and in some ways an expansion or superset. However, it didn’t strike me as powerfully overall as _9 Things_. It could be I’ve grown as a result of reading _9 Things_, and this is consequently less impactful.
Still, the author’s reading was engaging and the anecdotes were entertaining and on point. And
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I would’ve actually wanted to give 4 stars to the second half and 3 to the first halve. The book offers a systematic treatment of what an integrated character looks like and which traits are associated with it.
I think the content could have be condensed, which I think happened more in the second half. It follows the usual structure of self help book by providing case studies of people to exemplify traits and how they are expressed. I just find that too long.

Should you read it? Yes, I think there
Miguel Castillo
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just a magnificent piece of work, it taught open-eyed valuable lessons, lots of insights as to why some business relationships, and frankly, any kind of relationship, is at times so difficult to navigate.

With a clear and colourful redaction, Dr Cloud explains why it’s important to acknowledge some aspects of our make up and what a can we do to address them for the good of both parties.

Two or three books ago, I stopped reading books and started studying them. This one took me a little bi
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what people need today. We have lost a sense of our values and the ability to look reality in the face - not as a victim, but as someone with the fortitude to overcome. Everyone has been a victim at some point in one way or another, and everyone has been the driving force in an injustice to someone else. But, it is those who take responsibility or who decide to persevere despite challenges that can really make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. We must ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. It is far more than the title suggests. I assumed it would be a summary on the importance of honesty. Instead it discusses the basic character traits needed in order to meet the demands of reality and what it takes to be a well-rounded human being.

I read this with a group and one of the common issues that participants had with it is that Dr. Cloud can be fairly repetitive at times. He'll share multiple stories to illustrate the same point which can be redundant.

But overall I'd h
Wes Martin
The wisdom of this book is easily worthy of 5/5 stars, but the writing is so slow, so drawn out and so uninspiring that I had to continually stop and re-read sections just to fully glean the wisdom of the words. I would love to be able to recommend this book to someone, particularly a young ambitious go-getter, because everyone needs to hear the message that building something real in an ethical manner is brutally difficult and slow, but it's just too boring.

I'm not sure that I've ever done this
Jim Amos
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid book on adulting and giving oneself permission to seek growth and enlightenment while accepting that none of us have it all figured out and are all fallible. Lots of helpful anecdotes and not too much repetition-provides guidance around dealing with the negative aspects of character and experience and how we can build on our deficiencies. A good book for someone who is already self aware and seeking improvement-but give this book to the narcissists in your life and you'd better stand well ...more
Christopher Ong
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Dr. Henry Cloud goes in depth to construct a detailed and wholesome view about the various character traits that differentiate those who live a fruitful, successful life that leaves a positive impact on those around them and those who are either not successful, or due to their own blindspots and lack of character integration have an imbalanced success, which ultimately is no success at all. An inspiring, encouraging, enlightening, and positively challenging book to read. I definite ...more
Robert Bogue
What does being “a person of integrity” mean? Though most people would immediately think of moral, ethical, or right, there is a deeper meaning to integrity. It’s about wholeness. It’s about being one person and not different people in the same body depending on context. Henry Cloud explains in Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality how integrity is much more than simply ethics and morals – though that’s not a bad place to start.

Read more
Cathy Lee
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! So helpful in defining integrity and showing through examples what it is and isn’t. Dr. Cloud explains how a lack of integrity hinders all aspects of our work, personal life, and spiritual life. He then encourages us to be self reflective and see the reality of our areas of needed change. Once seen we have the choice to change and improve. Dr. Cloud explains how and provides structure for those who pursue change as well as lots of encouragement. There is a path forward and lots of ho ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Integrity is the spark that makes a good leader be a great leader. I like the case studies and examples that he shares so that I can really relate and understand. As integrity sometimes seems to be a difficult thing to know exactly what to do. I am not black and white and sometimes I see a lot of gray areas and that hurts integrity. This is a great book to help you understand more about being a person who wants to do the right thing and look out for others before your ...more
Jim Campbell
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this book was well worth the read even though there was nothing earth-shattering about it. It is very common-sense oriented and if you pay attention during the reading, the author will convince you to take a hard look at yourself and how you operate. I thought that one of his key points for all people, not just leaders, is to look at your 'wake'. What do you leave behind when you pass through.
Brenda Johnson Henson
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book to use in one’s personal, business life, with friends and family. Using the guidelines in this book will definitely help define decision and choice making. I will definitely remember the “cringe factor” because of it makes you cringe to think about it you most likely need to and should avoid participating or working on what is making you cringe. Of course there are always exceptions. I’m most cases the “cringe factor” may be applied!
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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

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