The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it-and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (Updated Edition)

The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it-and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (Updated Edition)

The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it-and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (Updated Edition)

The Book of No: 365 Ways to Say it and Mean it-and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (Updated Edition)


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An updated edition of the bestselling guide!

  • Do you have problems saying "No?”
  • Do people always turn to you for a favor?
  • Wonder how you get roped into things you really don't want to do—with friends or family, at work or even with pushy salespeople?

Refusing someone is rarely easy. Often, it's downright uncomfortable. But constantly saying "yes" causes anxiety, anger, stress, regret, and feelings of powerlessness.

Social psychologist and author Dr. Susan Newman empowers you to break your debilitating yes habit with her simple techniques and insights. This new, enhanced edition is filled with research and timely scenarios that offer more ways to say “no” without feeling guilty or damaging your relationships.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Recognize when someone is manipulating you into “yes"
  • Be ready with the words you need to refuse
  • Avoid being overcommitted, overworked and overwhelmed
  • Put an end to feelings of resentment or frustration
  • Make quality time for things you want to do
  • Establish and keep your boundaries strong

Harness the power of “No” and take back your life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683366904
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,102,143
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Susan Newman, PhD is a social psychologist and author. Her research and writing focus on parenting and family relationship issues. She is the author of more than a dozen books and a regular contributor to Psychology Today and US News & World Report. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post as well as in numerous other newspapers and national magazines. She appears on major news outlets, among them, CNN, NPR, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and CBS Sunday Morning to discuss breaking news, social trends and parenting concerns.

Dr. Newman is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Authors Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children.

She lives in the New York Metro area and is the mother of one son and four stepchildren. Visit her website at

Read an Excerpt

Author’s Note to the Updated Edition

Ten years after writing the first edition of The Book of NO, it still surprises me how good it feels to say no or its equivalent—“I’m on overload right now”; “That’s not going to work for me”; I’m busy that day”… More surprising is that saying no doesn’t mean the end of the world. It won’t cause my children to stop loving me, my friends to abandon me, or my colleagues to ignore me.

In the last decade or so, however, life has started to feel like a pressure cooker, with mounting requests and demands. Technology certainly ups the potential for conflicts—people expect immediate answers. For one reason or another, most of us are busier than ever.

One of the traps I realized is, like many people, I think I can do more than I can. Given an allotted number of hours to do everything, something’s got to give. But what? I understood that I needed to change my thinking and do a better job of setting up and guarding my boundaries, because boundaries are key to not being an inveterate people-pleaser buried in an avalanche of to-dos.

Obviously, there will be instances when you have to or want to help out. The Book of NO was not created to justify the egomaniac who wants everything his or her way. Rather, it’s for those of us—me included—who say yes too often. It’s for people who kick themselves after agreeing to do something that, it turns out, didn’t really require their compliance.

This edition is chock-full of new situations and research that explain why a “No” may be the best answer, and offers more ways to say it without feeling guilty or damaging a relationship. You’ll start paying more attention to what is asked, how and when it is asked, and how quickly you respond—usually too fast in an effort to please, placate or avoid hurting someone’s feelings. I have every hope that in short order you can adapt to living happily ever after with no as a staple in your vocabulary.

The goal is to gain better command of the word “No” in handling requests for your time, talent, muscle, money, know-how or presence that pull you in too many directions and eat up precious time. The insights and examples that follow will strengthen your resolve so you have time to do more for the people and things most important to you. And that means for yourself as well.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Introduction xiii

Quiz: How Much of a People-Pleaser Are You? xiv

The Disease to Please: Why You Say Yes xv

No: A Learned Skill xvii

Changing Your Thinking xviii

Setting Boundaries xix

Putting No to Work for You xx

1 Stepping into No: The Basics 1

Your Go-To No Responses 3

Buying Time 3

When No Is Crystal Clear 12

2 With Friends 25

Quiz; Are Your Friendships Balanced and Beneficial? 26

Who's a Friend? 27

Friendship Fatigue 32

You're Invited 43

Out and About: Social Graces 52

In the Neighborhood 61

3 All in the Family 71

Quiz: Are You the Yes-Person In Your Family? 72

Parent and In-Law Traps 73

Sibling Strife 92

Those Other Relatives! 101

No, Darling 115

4 With Children-Park Your Guilt 129

Quiz: How Much of a Yes-Parent Are You? 130

"Why Parents Say Yes 131

The Benefits of No-Parenting 132

Training Ground: The Early Years 133

Elementary Rules: Using No with School-Aged Children 143

Patient Parenting: The Teen Years 155

Parenting Is Forever: Adult Children 168

5 At Work 177

Quiz: Are You the Office Yes-Man (Or Woman)? 178

High Performance versus Overload 179

Standing Up for Yourself 189

When You're the Boss 199

Mixing Business with Pleasure 207

Sticky Situations 215

6 Really Difficult People 229

Quiz: How Susceptible Are You to Forceful People? 230

Selling You a Bill of Goods 231

Getting Things Done-Your Way 244

Out-of-the-Blue Challenges 251

7 Your New Mind-Set 259

Finding the Courage 259

Saying Yes to the No Word 260

The No Credo 263

Bowing Out: Your New Mind-Set 264

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