Boundaries, Updated and Expanded Edition

When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Narrated by: Henry O. Arnold
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,201 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Boundaries is the book that's helped more than four million people learn when to say yes and know how to say no in order to take control of their lives.

Does your life feel like it's out of control? Perhaps you feel like you have to say yes to everyone's requests. Maybe you find yourself readily taking responsibility for others' feelings and problems. Or perhaps you focus so much on being loving and unselfish that you've forgotten your own limits and limitations. Or maybe it's all of the above.

In the New York Times best seller, Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend help you learn when to say yes and know how to say no in order to take control of your life and set healthy, biblical boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, parents, co-workers, and even yourself.

Now updated and expanded for the digital age, this book continues to help millions of people around the world answer these tough questions:

  • Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
  • What are legitimate boundaries?
  • How do I effectively manage my digital life so that it doesn't control me?
  • What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
  • How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
  • Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
  • How do boundaries relate to mutual submission within marriage?
  • Aren’t boundaries selfish?

You don’t have to let your life spiral out of control. Discover how boundaries make life better today!

Plus, check out the Boundaries family collection of books dedicated to key areas of life - dating, marriage, raising kids, parenting teens, and leadership. Workbooks and Spanish editions are also available.

©2008 Henry Cloud (P)2017 Zondervan

Featured Article: 20 Best Spiritual Audiobooks for Finding Fulfillment


In our everyday lives, we are obliged to take care of certain things—we must advance in our work lives, we must progress in our social lives, and a variety of aches and pains force us to be constantly concerned about our physical well-being. With such a litany of concerns, it can be difficult to find time to work on our spiritual lives. Isn’t it time to focus on nurturing your soul and spirit? Here are the 20 best spiritual audiobooks to get you in the right headspace.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful but should probably mention religion or the Bible in title

This is a great book. All the information, examples, and strategies related to boundaries was wonderful! I wish I learned this earlier! It’s helped me so much already, and will continue to help me be more responsible and healthier in my relationships, work, home life, and health. Psychologically sound, with lots of insight and practical wisdom. I’m not religious and at first was a little turned off by all the biblical references, but they were presented very well and from a rational and helpful perspective. No shaming, blaming, guilt, or judgment. I enjoyed learning about the Bible from this positive perspective.

185 people found this helpful

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Lots of biblical references

LOTS of biblical references which may be a deal breaker for some and often would be for me but in this case it was fine which just goes to show what a well written book it was and what a great message!

65 people found this helpful

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Learned a lot - don’t know what you don’t know

Very encouraging and convicting read. Definitely have to have an open mind. We don’t know what we don’t know. This helps address bad thinking and personal boundary setting for oneself and with others. Opened my eyes to areas in my life that I thought were normal issues that I would just live with. Now I know I can address them and improve. This book provides tangible, step by step ways to address boundaries and setting new ones.

17 people found this helpful

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Legitimately changed my life

I read the first 7 chapters 6 years ago, and it radically changed the way that I did life. 7 years later I came back and listened to the whole thing, and had the same experience. This book gave me the courage to say no. And to know when to say yes. I have shared this book with more people than I can count. And whenever they follow through with reading it, I hear the same thing “This book changed my life.”

29 people found this helpful

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LIFE CHANGING

I would recommend this book to all Christians and non-Christians alike. This book details concrete examples of boundaries and why they are so important. By the end it gives you the steps you will need to implement boundaries and live a healthy non-destructive lifestyle. This book will help you identify what might be holding you back. I never expected to feel so great about a book. I have since gifted this book to 5 people 😀

48 people found this helpful

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This book will help you reflect<br />

I do not subscribe to a religion but the principles in this book are universal

8 people found this helpful

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Good book, but the reader...

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator seemed to run on. It felt like he did not give enough time between sentences and thoughts in the book. Like maybe he was rushing through it.

Any additional comments?

I do wish the book had a few more examples that are based on what the people actually did. There were a few but, I felt the book could use a few more to show the reader/ listener how and why the person came to the boundary. A little more explanation on understanding how to set appropriate boundaries too. I really enjoyed the biblical context showing that if you can parse it, The Bible is an instruction manual to life. I will definitely be listing to this book several more times!

10 people found this helpful

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Heavy religious content - Didn't finish it.

If you are not into God this or God that or what a good Christian should or should not do, don't buy this book. Made it through the first chapter only then gave up. Disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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everything i needed and more

John breaks it down he sums me up in a nutshell. i have a lot to work on but eagar to be the best version of me by exercising love and staying true to my boundaries

4 people found this helpful

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More than expected. Uplifting!

This book opened my eyes to the consequences of not having boundaries, and the blessings of having firm boundaries. I feel encouraged and excited to continue developing this skill!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-19

Full of religious moralism

Some good concepts, but spoilt by continuous referrals to the bible. Very much aimed at the American mid west.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-14-19

LIFE CHANGING

For me this book spoke straight into my life, habits, thoughts and feelings. It goes through great lengths explaining all our different experiences, traumas and pasts can be why we don't have healthy boundaries. But even though our boundary conflicts might not be our fault, they are our responsibility. This is an amazing book, Iv been implementing boundaries for the past 6weeks, its been life changing and I fall short all the time, but that's ok because new habits and boundaries will take time to become the norm. I feel like Im starting to take control of my life and have a greater awareness and understanding. Very grateful.

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  • Catherine Neary
  • 09-13-19

very "biblical" but useful

So there are a few things about this book. The authors assume that you're a rootin tootin Christian God loving soul. For the record I'm an atheist brought up in a Catholic/CofE environment. The authors advocate spanking which is illegal in the UK (though it is only explicitly stated once).

The voice does a good job of coming across in a paternal manner. How he pronounces "maturity" (mat-ooer-itee, instead of match-yuri-tee) which I found rather distracting and annoying. Now because of the voice actor, and because the authors assume you are a Christian already, it doesn't come across as preachy to me.

I found it an interesting exercise and treated it as an extended RE lesson, combined with advice on how to set, maintain, and measure progress with your personal social boundaries. It's also full of examples explaining the principles being taught, some from the Bible - including a new way of looking at the Parable of the Samaritan.

So, I'm taking the bits of this book I like and ignoring the rest. Sound familiar?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-20

comprehensive and helpful

author seems to be knowledgeable and practical. he addresses how childhood affects adult relations.worth every penny and every second spent

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  • NinaB
  • 04-23-20

Too religious for me

Didn't realise it would be so Christian. Don't have issues with it if that's your jam but the constant Bible references put me off so didn't get through it all. Should have looked at the reviews before downloading. Seems ok otherwise, if you're religious.

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  • Carmen Carrol
  • 04-09-20

Amazing Clarity

I've watched Henry Cloud on line and have found his insight thought provoking, practical and relational. I highly recommended this book if your on your jounery or if your just starting out on creating your own personal boundries. Don't stop here keep reading and keep getting stronger and fortifying your life and emotions.

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  • carrie
  • 03-24-20

Life changing

The information in this book has already begun to transform my life into a happy one and my relationships into lovingly responsible encounters

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  • 7827636
  • 03-17-20

Excellent & Motivating

I loved it! really great for self development. Brought me closer to God and spirituality

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-07-20

Great book - so insightful and eye-opening!

Loved this book! It truly has so many gems of wisdom in it. To tell the truth, I bought this book many years ago on Amazon kindle, but I found it a bit lengthy to read and it wasn't able to hold my attention, despite the gems in it. I got in on audible last year and I have finally finished it to the end. So many practical steps I can take as advised in this book and I'm looking forward to setting my boundaries and taking ownership of my life!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-17-19

excellent book

loved the book. made me aware of boundary issues l have with myself and other people and how to work on those.it's a real eye opener.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-19

Overly christian and bible oriented

Narration was fine, however story was very religious. I work a difficult job amd needed guidance on more robust boundary setting and instead I got bible quotes. Very disappointed.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-20-19

Very insightful

I found this book to be very insightful and it has helped me understand a lot about myself and others. Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-19

Very helpful, l'm gonna listen to it again.

This is a must listen, if you're one of those people who struggle with saying no to people, or tight situations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-27-19

very helpful read

a very helpful read. would recommend. it helped me think of things in another way.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julian Lee
  • 06-22-19

Good but...

Excellent content diminished by constant references to the bible. Very distracting and off putting for the majority of the world who are not Christians.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-25-20

Life Transforming

This is less of a how to book, rather is a book that encourages the reader to take more ownership over the direction there life is heading through setting of boundaries. Many self help books place to much emphasis on the control we have over our destiny, however the author in this books has a great balance between ability to take ownership vs acknowledging crap happens sometimes we need to make the best of a bad situation.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-24-20

amazing book!

This book has come along at the right time! I really appreciated all the scripture to back up the teaching... i would highly recommend this book for everyone to listen to!

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  • Wedzerai
  • 06-20-20

Amazingly insightful!!!

Thank you for sharing Henry and John for putting your knowledge in this book for us to benefit from.
a friend of ours recommended it and both myself and I have learnt a lot reading this book.
I highly recommend this to anyone it is an amazing resource!!!
THANK YOU!! THIS IS LIFE CHANGING ADVICE 😊☝🏿👌🏿👊🏿

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-20

A Sunday Sermon

I had high hopes but didn't make it past Chapter 2 due to the frequent biblical references and Christian focus, which was not what I was looking for.

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  • David Gleeson
  • 02-07-20

informative, confronting, and enlightening

my first experience with audiobooks. Henry's voice is palatable, and consistent, from beginning to end, he delivers the text superbly.
if you're struggling with your personal boundaries being violated, or, maybe your sense of boundaries is vague or distorted this book is for you!
boundaries is a relevant and recent publication, and although the authors continually touch upon our comprehension of our boundaries in a Christian mindset, I believe this text could greatly help non-Christian people who suffer a lack of personal boundary understanding and would not be overly put off by the scriptural references