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The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  641 ratings  ·  59 reviews
What's wrong with being a people pleaser? Plenty!

People pleasers are not just nice people who go overboard trying to make everyone happy. Those who suffer from the Disease to Please are people who say "Yes" when they really want to say "No." For them, the uncontrollable need for the elusive approval of others is an addiction. Their debilitating fears of anger and
Paperback, 285 pages
Published March 6th 2002 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know this isn't my usual genre and most of my GR buddies won't find the review helpful. I read the book to learn more about the subject and I did. It discusses 3 major types of the so called people pleasers and what conditions them to constantly put others' needs before themselves and finally discusses practical steps one could do to say no when they actually want to. I find the book very helpful and informative. I would recommend the book to anyone who has trouble telling people what they ...more
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I would recommend it to any who grew up Catholic & Guilty.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I'm reading this, I'm looking around at friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances and seeing the patterns that pop up in this book. It's really interesting: from overworking yourself to an inability to find your own self worth, to separating who you ARE from what you DO. I'm still waiting to see where it takes me and to see if I ever quite get the 'fix'.

OK after the fact: I liked it and found it helpful. Braiker did get around to helpful hints to break the self-destructive cycle. She
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: communication
While it may not be a page-turner, it's nonetheless a practical read for people having issue with over-niceness.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people pleasers: you know who you are!
Recommended to Jonathan by: my coworker
Shelves: self-help
Oh wow, I can't believe I even tried to read this, but I do have to say it came at the recommendation of a highly credible source. I can't say I regret reading it, but I'm happy to not have to deal with the author's unrelenting insistence that all the nice people in the world are suffering from some kind of pathological sickness in need of purification, or healing, or burning at the stake, or whatever. It's not all bad though, as I liked the idea of renewing our ownership of the word 'no', not ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
Interesting read. The first half of the book I was pretty undecided about whether I had the disease to please. I do have a hard time saying no to people. As the book went along I came to more and more of the conclusion that I don't have the "disease". It pretty much comes down to your motivation behind doing nice things for others, and I decided mine were ok. :) Even so, there were some good take aways.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
A surprisingly profound and life-changing read. (Keep in mind, this book is intended for people-pleasers, but I think everyone can learn something from it. Because even if you aren't one, you most likely know and interact with someone who is).

Some of my key takeaways are this:

- Your people-pleasing tendencies are likely the result of traumatic childhood experiences. You should delve into your past, and try to understand what circumstances/situations/events may have influenced your behavior. As a
Jennilyn (Thiboult) Nevins
Its when you try to please everyone that it becomes a problem. In fact, more than a problem, a disease. Harriet B. Braiker called it the disease to please.

And its making you ill. Why? Because you want everyone to like you. To love you.

You dread disapproval. Pleasing everyone seems to be the answer, the safe way to inoculate yourself against conflict and confrontation in relationships, whether family, friends, or work.

So you fail to speak up, fail to say whats on your mind, fail to allow yourself
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: learned-a-lot
I was a people pleaser and would have panic attacks and actually have health problems from trying to please who don't even care about me. Once I realized that, I am able to breathe and focus on what is important to me, which is my health and disease ( multiple sclerosis ) and my family. Best book ever!
Brandy Briggs
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nice read. Walked away learning something new. Disease to please this catchy title helps explain the ins and outs of being a people pleaser. Interesting to learn what makes ppl pleasers tick and how to cure it. Book is engaging it has several short questionnaires and daily assignments. I like these types of books where I can walk away knowing my brain has a new crease. ...more
DNF AT 64%

The book should be re-titled: The Disease to Please, Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome...In Women!! Why does the author assume only women tend to people-please? There is no mention of an example of a man. How close-minded, unprofessional and inappropriate. Not all women are mats to be stepped upon and not all mats to be stepped upon are women. All people have people-pleasing tendencies, not only women. What a limited viewpoint. Certainly, there is some good advice in this book about
Amanda Hatton
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
Just ordered it through Indigo. This was a great book! Certainly has personal resonance and will be a useful tool in my therapeutic practice. Lots of common sense yes, but for those who walk on egg shells to keep people happy and comfortable without a thought to their own's just not so obvious. Conflict avoidance. Poor parental reinforcement. Neglect. Abuse. Sad relational patterns and poor self esteem. Gives hope to all those who go along to get along and sell themselves short in ...more
Tally, The Chatty Introvert
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly insightful piece of work for anyone who says "yes" on a whim, or is easily swayed or suffering from guilt, not living their own life for the sake of others. 2/3 of it breaks down the way "people pleasing" manifests, and it's a lot more than I thought. the other 1/3 is a 21 day plan of habits to change, nudges to make to take control of your life and "still be a nice person" (if that's what you want).

Useful, and a great reference. I'll be passing this one around and
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok read. Love Dr Braiker beautiful insight. Brings an amazing perspective and awareness on how we can use external condition to suffice an internal problem. However the 21 day cure seems to contradict the overall understanding of the book, using external conditions for an internal solutions. Everything that cause problem/disease/illness is all external. If I have a disease to please I dont want to compress it in I want to push it out. ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Being people pleaser just bring you overwhelming and self-sabotaging .bear in your mind your boundary must be defined just by yourself . Avoiding mind reading because we see the world with our limited view points which had been programmed based on our personal life nor the reality . it's just your choice and preference to be generous, helpful , and kind not your duty.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book if you are a people pleaser or have a hard time saying no. It points out how sometimes when we are a people pleaser we completely give up who we are as an individual to please others, but that often backfires as we are no longer the person that the other person was drawn to. We no longer have an opinion or our own individual thoughts. Great book for clinicians or individuals.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book in the sense that it made me aware of my own faults and people pleasing habits. The book covers alot of the psychology behind it and backed it up with examples. Also if you have girls in your life what you'll learn in this book will help you build a healthier relationship with them

Too much in the womans point of view. It can seem bias sometimes
Jimmy Baxter
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Life-changing. Do you have this tendency to please others to an unnecessarily extravagant extent to either get their approval or avoid their disapproval? If so, you need this book, it helped me understand the problem and cure it with really useful advice and tips. 174 pages are about the issues and the rest (about 120 is a 21 day cure to apply the skills and cure the disease to please).
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. The author explained why people pleasers are pleasers in the first place and how to deal with this frustrating character trait. What I love about the book is that, it has practical advice. I still need to go through the exercises at the end of it each time I feel the compulsion to please.
The book is also easy to read and gets to the point immediately.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've owned this book and started/stopped it for years. There were a handful of useful points, and some relatable stories, but I ultimately did not get what I needed from this book.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relacionamentos
Very Good!
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
So I started reading this book somewhere around June. It took me almost exactly seven months to finish it. It was the kind of book that, for me, provided lots of helpful information, but didn't present it to me in a way that was engaging and interesting. Therefore, it often got set aside as I came across either books that were more interesting or books that were more important to read (i.e. had a due date at the library).

This was made even more difficult for me by the fact that I made it my
Oct 02, 2010 is currently reading it
The author, Harriet Braiker, anchors this "disease to please" phenomenon in early childhood problems, such as guilt or low self-esteem, and shows how it harms adult relationships, including those at work. Although she emphasizes interpersonal relationships off the job, executives, managers and employees at all levels will still find her book helpful in life and in work. Braiker describes three primary manifestations (compulsive behavior, distorted thinking, and avoidance of negative feelings) of ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
People pleasers are not just nice people who go overboard trying to make everyone happy. Those who suffer from the Disease to Please are people who say "Yes" when they really want to say "No." For them, the uncontrollable need for the elusive approval of others is an addiction. Their debilitating fears of anger and confrontation force them to use "niceness" and "people-pleasing" as self-defense camouflage.

This was a very interesting book and helpful as well. The author helps readers identify the
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent for people who 'please' too much. 'Pleasing' could be going along with something you really don't like, doing too much for others, etc. It explains the different types of pleasing, reasons why we do it and how to overcome it. It can help make any relationship you have become more intimate. There are many little questionnaires to determine if the chapter pertains to you or not. Apparently, Dr. Braiker was on Oprah and the Today show. I just happened to stumble across the ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Though written with an audience of pathological people-pleasers seeking a cure in mind, The Disease to Please is not only useful to those suffering from what Harriet Braiker calls a "dysfunctional personality type", but to anyone who thinks their parent, spouse, romantic partner, or friend might be unhealthily subverting their own needs and desires to those of others. Informative, frank, and engagingly-written, The Disease to Please is an insightful and illuminating snapshot of a particular kind ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to me by a mentor. A lot of reading it felt like "durr a durr" things, but there were quite a few "aha" moments. Not only were there great examples laid out to make those "aha" moments happen, but there's good ways/steps to help reduce the negative thoughts that turn quickly into actions... And habits. It helped me remember I was in control of my life that had gotten away from me. If you have anxiety or newly formed anxiety due to out-of-your-control situations, I think we all could ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women in general
Recommended to Angela by: Neli Rogers
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has great ideas for people who say "yes" and become overloaded in their lives. Dan told me I don't have this problem, and while I'm not in the "high-risk" category, I do sometimes say "yes" to things right away even when I don't want to do it. The book gives great examples about the dangers of doing too much and gives effective strategies of how to say no. Are you a people pleaser? You know who you are, and you should read this book!
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Dr. Braiker was a practicing clinical psychologist and management consultant in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills and Pasadena, California, for more than 25 years. The author of many highly successful popular psychology books, she also authored numerous scholarly award-winning research books and other academic publications. Dr. Braiker was an internationally recognized authority on stress and women's ...more

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