Customer Reviews: How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty: And Say Yes to More Time, and What Matters Most to You
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on July 8, 2006
The book literally tells you *how* to say "no" nicely. It doesn't tell you when to say no, or why to say no, it tells you *how* to say no. It doesn't try to give you a moral compass, nor does it judge you or those around you. It doesn't tell you how to best handle the alcoholic in your life; it gives you complete sentences you can use in conversations with the person to make it clear that you don't want to participate (even just by your presence) in X, Y, or Z activities.

There are sections that promote "little white lies", but there are no situations offered where that's the only suggested method of handling it. There are also "preventative" techniques in most of the sections. While those techniques are generally avoidant, I can see how they can be useful for those who are just learning to be assertive and thus can not be assertive frequently.

I don't think there's anything all that groundbreaking in the book; it's literally a book of stock phrases in list format between short sections of motivational prose designed to give you the guts to say it. It can't give you a backbone, but if your in the process of getting one implanted, it can help you change your speech patterns to reflect this (and avoid transplant rejection). It may also help you fake having a backbone with those who aren't pushy.

This book is definitely for when you've already decided that "no" is what you want to say, but you can't actually come up with the words to do so. While the book is clearly by and for middle-middle and upper-middle class women, most of the stock phrases will work for anyone.
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on June 13, 2000
This book is packed with suggestions and guidance to help learn to stop doing things you don't want to do and start doing the things you do want to do. In a society as sick with codependence as ours is, it's not an easy thing to do -- we've got all kinds of bizarre notions about being polite, being aggreeable, etc. So it takes a lot of effort, learning, and practice to break free. This book shows you how. Additionally, the writing is very good, and the authors have a weird sense of humor that makes their examples just delightful!
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on August 16, 2005
If you know you need to say no, but don't know how, this is the book for you. It literally gives you the words to string together to say no without appearing mean and hateful. Also there is a chapter on handling high maintenance people in your life.

But, if you don't know you should say no, this book won't help. If you know you should say no but don't want to, again there is no help. This book won't give you a backbone.
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on January 8, 2004
Here's a simple quiz to determine if this book is for you. Answer Yes or No to the following 2 questions, which are situations used in the book.
Question #1 - You are asked to go out on a date with someone that you find unattractive and do not wish to go out with them. You should not just tell them No, but also tell them that you are seeing someone else to show "mercy" on them? Yes or No (The book refers to this as a "face savings" technique.)
Question #2 - Your 6 year old child likes chocolate covered cereal, but you want them to eat something more nutritious. When at the grocery store with your child you should avoid the cereal isle and come back to get cereal another time, thus avoiding the need to say no? Yes or No (The book refers to this as a "prevention" technique.)
If you answered Yes to either question, you will probably agree with the suggestions in this book. However, you are lacking a moral compass and/or are so spineless that a 6 year old can walk all over you. Face the fact that there probably isn't any book that will help you, and this one will only continue to feed your lack of character and self confidence.
If you answered No to both questions, you know more about "saying no" than you can get from this book. Buying this book would only infuriate you as it is filled with excuses, trickery and deceptions. All of which lead to the guilt that the book is supposed to help you avoid.
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on June 9, 2000
Thank you for this invaluable book! As someone who has always had trouble saying "no" in many different contexts because of fearing the stigma of being considered not a "nice person", your clear-headed and insightful advice has helped me to start creating time and energy for what I really want to do and not just automatically responding affirmatively to demands for my time, attention, etc. I especially appreciated the chapter on saying "no" to family and friends because that has always been a very complicated area for me. Great book!
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on June 13, 2000
I attended a class that Patti Breitman and Connie Hatch gave in New York, and I just finished reading "How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty". This is a really valuable book, written by two people who are clearly committed to providing important infomation that can be used every day. The book is concise and practical, and is written in a supportive way. It is infused with a sense of ethics that is critical to the subject. It's often very difficult to say no, and to do it in a way that protects the feelings of everyone involved can be very tricky. The authors provide example after example of how to maneuver through this minefield. I highly recommend this book--it has value for virtually everyone, and is a thoughtful and caring gift. Midway through reading "How to Say No...", I gave several copies to some very appreciative friends and relatives. Thank you, Patti Breitman and Connie Hatch, for writing such an important book.
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on May 10, 2000
We all have friends who say yes constantly and are overwhelmed because of it. We see their pain and we want to help them but don't know what to do. I have found the answer and that is...BUY THEM THIS BOOK. I have given it to several people and it is truly something they find valuable and can use right away. (I only hope they don't say no to me the next time I need a favor - but I guess that means the book worked!) Really -- buy one for you and buy it for someone you care about. The advice is easy-to-read and easy to put into practice. The suggestions work and the time spent reading the book will come back ten-fold in new-found free time!
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on April 4, 2000
I think it is especially nice when authors make the effort to entertain while providing life-changing guidance. It's like the "spoonful of suger". If you like this book, you might try Richard Swenson's two books, "Margin" and "The Overload Syndrome", both about restoring some much needed space in our "go-go, yes-yes" lives.
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on November 17, 2014
Love this little book. It may not have an example of every situation you'll ever face (which is not really possible to deliver in real world), but includes most of the types of situations. It may be a little simplistic, but "saying no" should be simple. In the right situation, you should just be able to do it and not feel bad about it. I love seeing the sample phrases I can adapt and use as needed.

I am currently dealing with a friend who asked to crash on our couch once, and then over the course of the year it turned into a habit, where every time she's in the area, she'll just come and stay over. It got to the point of her being over every week. She even showed up one time without hearing back from me at all. She just assumed it was ok, because she texted me and said she was coming. Every time I'd give her a reason why it won't work, she'd come up with the "solution" to fix the problem. And I was too flabbergasted to object. Considering that we are a young family with a toddler and a baby on the way living in a tiny one bedroom place, it's not an arrangement we've been comfortable with. At the same time, for some unknown reason, both myself and my husband have been having the hardest time saying no. Reading this book has helped me tremendously with validating my feelings about the situation and I am now more prepared. I now have a plan and a speech prepared and was able to successfully turn her down the other night :)

The ability to say no can truly free you form unnecessary headache, and I appreciate the tool this book is to help me with it.
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on May 7, 2000
I saw Patti Breitman speak at a bookstore on her publicity tour and I was very impressed with her sincerity, good will and sense of humour. She seems to care about the world and about the people she serves. The part of her book that I was most moved by was when she talked about how to follow the part of you deep inside that wants to fulfill your true desires, rather than stay stuck in obligations. As a therapist I have had many opportunities to help my clients with suggesstions from How to Say No without Feeling Guilty--which seems to be a universal problem. I was glad to see that Patti Breitman also saw that people need to go beyond the NOS to YESES, and I was very impressed with her choice when she recommended the book As the Romans Do by Alan Epstein. He is an author that followed his dreams and moved to Rome with his family and wrote this truly delightful, inspirational book and it is something I think everyone should read, even if they have no intention of going to Rome. It certainly has made me think about my choices and how I want to live my life day to day.
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