I used to think "Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life," was Cloud's best book. I just changed my mind. This is possibly the most powerful book I've read in the last three years. If you are co-dependent, a recovering co-dependent or anyone who grew up or is in dysfunctional relationships, you will truly appreciate this book. If you are a boss, manager, CEO, supervisor or anyone who works with people you will LOVE this book. Even the healthiest person runs into dysfunctional people wherever they go. Cloud gives you great tips on how to spot a "fool," a "wise man" and the evil people among us; as well as tips on how to deal with them.
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Looking back at the time I left an alcoholic partner "for MY OWN GOOD," I can see some seed of sanity and an understanding that some endings were necessary. This book simply validates what I've suspected all along - better to cut your losses as soon as you see they're losses - and run. It's more than that of course, but the theme is the same. Endings are beginnings in disguise.
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I literally wept with relief when I read his VERY SIMPLE and extremely practical and FOOLPROOF method for dealing with "fools." It so works. It so works!! Just so you know, Cloud considers a fool someone who refuses to accept or look at feedback. Being a fool has NOTHING to do with intelligence, skills or capabilities and everything to do with not being able to accept reality. Some of the smartest men and women on the planet are "fools" and some of the least intelligent are wise. It all has to do with whether you can listen and accept feedback (not critical shaming criticism - but real FEEDBACK). If you buy this book for no other reason than to learn how to shut down a fool, it's well worth the price!!
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Quotes I LOVED:
"Successful leaders ALL have one thing in common: They get in touch with reality. If you comb the leadership literature, one theme runs throughout everyone's descriptions of the best leaders. The great ones have either a natural ability, or an acquired one, to 'confront the brutal facts... especially when it comes to seeing a necessary ending.'"
"The mature person meets the demands of life, while the immature person demands that life meet her demands."
"You cannot deal with everyone the same way. There are evil people, fools and wise people. When truth presents itself, the wise person sees the light, takes it in and makes adjustments. The fool tries to adjust the truth so he doesn't have to adjust to it. Evil people are not reasonable and truth means nothing to them. They simply want to hurt you and do destructive things. Don't have anything to do with them. NOTHING. Protect yourself in the manner of the Warren Zevon song, with "Lawyers, Guns and Money." (Attorneys, Police and Resources to keep them away from you.)
Cloud talks about the "hoarder mentality." If you thought hoarders only stockpiled crap in their homes - just wait. Cloud exposes the "business hoarder" and explains, "The hoarder mentality thrives not only in garages, but in business and people's lives as well." Hoarders, in one way or another Cloud says, "Always say I might need that." CEOs and business owners cling to people, resources, businesses in the same way - saying "If things turn around we might need that division next year."
My other favorite sections were:
Internal Maps that Keep You From Succeeding.
Cloud sets out the five most common "maps" or thought patterns that keep us from necessary endings:
(1) Having an abnormally high pain threshold. Common apparently for those of us with lousy childhoods who learned to endure horrific emotional, physical or mental pain. We're so used to numbing ourselves we don't recognize when something really is abnormal pain. He shows us how/why we do this and how to change it. Pain ended!!
(2) Covering for Others. Growing up in an alcoholic home I learned to assume responsibility for everything. If someone got sick, fell down the stairs, got into a fight, spent all their money it was up to me to "make it work" or "fix it." That's a WRONG map/thought pattern that kept me co-dependent all my life. I'm now 55 and know I'm only responsible for myself and not for the adults, addicts, fools and losers around me.
(3 Believing that Quitting means you Failed. I think anyone who has been abused, bullied or belittled has this map. Whoever said, "Winners never quit and quitters never win," wasn't thinking about when quitting is sometimes a good thing, a necessary thing.
(4) Misplaced Loyalty - how being "loyal" to someone to the extent we hurt ourselves is misplaced loyalty and not good for us or the person we think we're being loyal to.
(5) Codependency Mapping - Need I really say more? Cloud nails this too - pointing out how our co-dependency keeps us feeling responsible for the other person's pain when we stop enabling them. He says:
"There is a difference between helping someone who is disabled, incapable, or otherwise infirm versus helping someone who is resisting growing up and taking care of what every adult (or child for that matter) has to be responsible for: herself or himself. When you find yourself in any way paying for someone else's responsibilities, not only are you stuck with a delayed ending, but you are probably harming that person.
I could go on for pages. All I can say is that this book is life changing. BUY IT!! And buy a copy to give a friend because you're going to want to after you read it.