• Boundaries, Updated and Expanded Edition

  • When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
  • By: John Townsend, Henry Cloud
  • Narrated by: Henry O. Arnold
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (6,202 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.

What listeners say about Boundaries, Updated and Expanded Edition

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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.

141 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.

63 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!

131 people found this helpful

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This book will help you reflect

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

36 people found this helpful

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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.

254 people found this helpful

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Did not buy for a sermon

Nothing about this said the number of bible references. Do not want. Only buy if you happen to be Christian or know that this is going to be preachy.

26 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.”

50 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

abuse victims be wary

I got a lot out of the beginning of the book, the educational portion that spoke of the different types of control and controlling people. Where I struggled was with the seemingly underlying tone throughout this book that the abuse victim has the ability to change the circumstances of abuse by creating good boundaries and that the abused is partially to blame for not having healthy boundaries.

16 people found this helpful

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a classic, still relevant! I highly recommend it!

Some friends recommended this book to me and it has changed my life! I will be buying a physical copy of the book just so I can highlight certain things to stick in my new behavior.

13 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 😀

64 people found this helpful

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  • Baby yoda
  • 07-07-20

Biblical jargon

I thought it was excellent and made amazing points until it came to the sexual behaviour boundary and put child molestation, rape in the same category as masturbation

14 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.

13 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.

7 people found this helpful

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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?

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-28-21

Boundaries for Bible people

Cant listen to this it's all bible quotes so if you're not religious it's very odd

2 people found this helpful

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  • wendy bennett
  • 07-11-21

powerful

this book has impacted my church and has been a good conversation topic for a few months now. loved it! definitely one that you will read twice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Young
  • 07-03-21

Thank you - Listening to Boundaries will change your life.

You cannot do deep work in relationships without doing deep work on boundaries.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aimee
  • 07-20-22

Helpful lessons for from a biblical perspective

I had no idea this book was written especially for Christian people in America, since this is not written anywhere in the description of the book. Nevertheless I'm very thankful to have listened to this audio book. Even though I'm not religious, the lessons in the book have helped me tremendously and they help me help my friends and family to also set healthy boundaries. This book made me understand my own responsibility to communicate my boundaries, to understand and get what I want and to put consequences if my boundaries are not met. It has shown me that boundaries go way beyond physical or obvious boundaries and I have the right to stand with them, even though it makes another person upset.

I hope everyone can see the value of this book and see through or even enjoy the many quotations from the Bible and the somewhat (in my opinion) outdated gender roles and family expectations.

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  • mereviews
  • 07-12-22

very religious

would have preferred to hear straight advice and research rather than having a scripture reading at the end of every sentence. Not diverse nor inclusive for those of other religions, nor atheists.

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  • Emz0r2
  • 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.

10 people 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.

3 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • tracy
  • 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Echavez
  • 12-11-20

Based on Bible passages

As an atheist, this was hard to listen to and finish. Too much time spent on quoting passages from the bible. The idea is good and this is definitely a book for christians.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mayce Gray
  • 07-30-20

Great read even if you're not religious

I really enjoyed this book. I'm not particularly religious but I still found the book insightful, helpful and informative. The strategies discussed were easy and effective when implemented. There were some sections I couldn't overly relate to.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-06-20

way too preachy

I was recommended this to work on setting boundaries. I couldn't make it past chapter 2 as every second sentence was about "the lord"

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wei Yen Tan
  • 03-17-19

Educational on your own rights

Good book. Made me realise how important it is to look after myself in a biblical way.

2 people found this helpful