Boundaries Book Summary - Boundaries Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Boundaries summary

Henry Cloud and John Townsend

When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

4.4 (495 ratings)
23 mins
Table of Contents

    summarized in 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Setting boundaries is an act of kindness.

    Walls, fences, No Trespassing signs: when you think about it, your physical environment is delimited by all kinds of concrete boundaries. What’s more, those boundaries exist for good reason. That barbed wire fence around a nuclear power plant? It’s there for your own protection – it prevents you from inadvertently wandering into a hazardous zone.

    Boundaries are just as necessary for your emotional and spiritual protection. Unlike physical boundaries, however, emotional and spiritual boundaries aren’t laid out in a way that’s clear to everyone. That can make it difficult to establish your own boundaries and to discern those of others. Worse, enforcing your boundaries can make you feel mean. But it shouldn’t.

    The key message here is: Setting boundaries is an act of kindness.

    When you set a boundary, you take ownership of your needs, wants, and feelings. Yet when we do this and prioritize ourselves, we often feel like we’re neglecting those of others.

    Let’s be clear: setting healthy boundaries doesn’t mean you have no stake in other people’s problems or spiritual concerns. It simply means that you’re not solely responsible for them. As the Bible’s book of Galatians teaches, you are responsible to others but for yourself.

    Still confused by this distinction? We can unpack it with the example of a hypothetical family. Let’s call them the O’Rileys.

    The O’Riley’s are a loving family, but their son James has lost his way. He’s been expelled from school and developed a drug problem.

    The O’Riley’s can take responsibility for their son’s issues by enrolling him in another school and paying the fines when he’s busted for drug possession. But will James solve his problem? Unlikely. Functionally, he doesn’t even have a problem – his parents have shouldered it for him.

    Alternatively, the O’Riley’s could own their responsibility to their son without taking responsibility for his problems. They can listen to him, support him, and take steps to facilitate his sobriety – all without stepping in to solve his problems for him. The O’Riley’s are taking care of themselves by setting those boundaries. But they’re also taking care of James. Setting boundaries is not just an act of kindness toward yourself. It’s an act of love toward everyone around you.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Boundaries?

    Key ideas in Boundaries

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Boundaries about?

    Boundaries (1992) is a handbook for those who can’t say no, those who won’t take no for an answer, and everyone in between. Grounded equally in Christian faith and contemporary psychology, this book is an eloquent argument for the emotional and spiritual necessity of firm, healthy boundaries.

    Who should read Boundaries?

    • Doormats who let others walk all over them;
    • Emotionally unavailable people who never let anyone in; and
    • Martyrs who do everything for others but accept no help in return.

    About the Author

    Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist and leadership expert. Dr. John Townsend is a business consultant, leadership coach, and psychologist. Separately, each has authored multiple books on leadership and psychology. Together, they are co-authors of the New York Times best-selling Boundaries and leaders of the acclaimed GrowthSkills workshop series.

    Categories with Boundaries

    Books like Boundaries

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial