The Joy of Saying No Book Summary - The Joy of Saying No Book explained in key points
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A Simple Plan to Stop People-Pleasing, Reclaim Your Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want

4.1 (159 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue is a book that empowers readers to set boundaries, reclaim their time, and prioritize their own needs. It provides tips and guidance for confidently saying no without guilt or fear.

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    The Joy of Saying No
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    People pleasing 101

    If you were born anywhere between the year 1940 and, say, the year 2000, congratulations! You were raised in the Age of Obedience. The overt and universal theme for children of this age was “be good.” And “being good” meant complying, conforming, and deferring to authority figures at all times. Which, as children, was basically everyone, regardless of how fit those people were for a position of power. 

    Objectively, it’s stunning that so many of us unquestioningly carried this conditioning into our adult lives. But as it turns out, our brain’s habit headquarters – the basal ganglia – don’t differentiate between helpful and unhelpful behavioral patterns. Its job isn’t to discern but simply to recall and serve up the most frequently enacted conditioning from similar situations. 

    Over time, patterns become personas, limiting the range of roles we play. This is why so many of us are stuck reenacting scenes from childhood. And while we may be unrecognizable from our six-year-old selves in every other way, we still draw on the same strategies to get approval and validation. 

    But here’s the truth: you can’t continue suppressing your own principles, priorities, and preferences – “being good” in other words – and not have your physical and mental well-being take a hit. Let alone your hopes and dreams for the future. Chronic people pleasing can’t coexist with authenticity or joy. 

    As adults then, we must disentangle ourselves from this outdated and often detrimental conditioning. The more we wriggle out of the web, the freer we become – freer to live in alignment with what feels right and true for us

    This isn’t to say you’ll never negotiate, sacrifice, or obey again. Of course you will. But instead of being on autopilot, you’ll start to question why you’re acting in a particular way. Sometimes, you’ll feel a genuine desire to serve the greater good. Other times, you’ll find you’ve reverted to habitual people pleasing ways. Don’t beat yourself up if you do relapse. Treat the discovery as a data point. There may be certain people or situations where your patterning runs deeper, which is what we’ll explore next: identifying your people pleasing type. 

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    What is The Joy of Saying No about?

    The Joy of Saying No (2022) is a practical guide for people pleasers. It explains what people pleasing is, why it impacts well-being, the different ways it manifests in behaviors, and how it can be overcome, so that people can live more authentically.

    The Joy of Saying No Review

    The Joy of Saying No (2014) by Natalie Lue is a compelling exploration of the power and importance of setting boundaries and saying no. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with practical strategies and advice, it empowers readers to prioritize their own needs and confidently assert themselves.
    • By sharing relatable stories and examples, the book resonates with readers and helps them navigate challenging situations with grace and self-assuredness.
    • The book's refreshing perspective on saying no promotes personal growth and fosters healthier relationships, making it anything but boring.

    Who should read The Joy of Saying No?

    • Life-long people pleasers 
    • Individuals who struggle to say no or set healthy boundaries
    • People aged 20 to 80, who were raised in the Age of Obedience

    About the Author

    Natalie Lue is a UK-born, Ireland-raised author and artist, best known for her blog, Baggage Reclaim. Prior to The Joy of Saying No, Lue self-published four books, including Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl and The No Contact Rule. Lue’s work on emotional baggage has been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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    The Joy of Saying No FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Joy of Saying No?

    The main message of The Joy of Saying No is the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care.

    How long does it take to read The Joy of Saying No?

    The reading time for The Joy of Saying No varies depending on your reading speed. But the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Joy of Saying No a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Joy of Saying No is worth reading because it provides valuable insights about the power of saying no and taking control of your life.

    Who is the author of The Joy of Saying No?

    The author of The Joy of Saying No is Natalie Lue.

    What to read after The Joy of Saying No?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Joy of Saying No, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Emotional Habits by Akash Karia
    • The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban
    • Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
    • The Mental Toughness Handbook by Damon Zahariades
    • The Uses of Delusion by Stuart Vyse
    • Women, Food, and Hormones by Sara Gottfried
    • Difficult Conversations Don't Have to Be Difficult by Jon Gordon & Amy P. Kelly
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • The Other Significant Others by Rhaina Cohen
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo