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The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome Paperback – February 13, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What's wrong with being a "people pleaser?" Plenty!

"A fascinating book... If you struggle with where, when, and how to draw the line between your own desires and the demands of others, buy this book!"­­Kay Redfield Jamison, bestselling author of An Unquiet Mind and Night Falls Fast

People pleasers are not just nice people who go overboard trying to make everyone happy. Those who suffer from the Disease to Please are people who say "Yes" when they really want to say "No." For them, the uncontrollable need for the elusive approval of others is an addiction. Their debilitating fears of anger and confrontation force them to use "niceness" and "people-pleasing" as self-defense camouflage.

Featured on NBC's "Today," The Disease to Please explodes the dangerous myth that "people pleasing" is a benign problem. Best-selling author and frequent "Oprah" guest Dr. Harriet Braiker offers clear, positive, practical, and easily do-able steps toward recovery.

Begin with a simple but revealing quiz to discover what type of people-pleaser you are. Then learn how making even small changes to any single portion of the Disease to Please Triangle - involving your thoughts, feelings, and behavior - will cause a dramatic, positive and long-lasting change to the overall syndrome.

As a recovered peoplepleaser, you will finally see that a balanced way of living that takes others into consideration but puts the emphasis first on pleasing yourself and gaining your own approval is the clearest path to health and happiness.

About the Author

Harriet B. Braiker Ph.D. was a bestselling author and practiced clinical psychologist and management consultant in Los Angeles. She was the author of several, highly successful popular psychology books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (February 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071385649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071385640
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the most important and helpful self help books which I have ever read. I felt as if it were written directly with me in mind. The author has been a practicing clinical psychologist for 25 years and gives examples through her patients' history's of problems and how they have been helped. In addition to that, she gives very specific ways that you, the reader, can apply these principles to your daily life. You might think that women have this problem more than men but that is not necessarily true. My husband is now reading this book and my grown children are also. You find that it helps you to understand not only yourself better but others as well. She writes in an easy to understand way. This is a book where you find yourself reading every word. There is nothing here which is not relevant or to the point. It has become, for me, a kind of textbook which I refer back to. In fact, she encourages the reader to read with a highlighter and to use the book as you would a textbook. I recommend this book to everyone except those who already feel that they know everything.
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Format: Hardcover
Why do some people try so hard to please others that end up pleasing no one - including themselves? Harriet B. Braiker anchors this phenomenon in early childhood problems, such as guilt or low self-esteem, and shows how it harms adult relationships, including those at work. Although she emphasizes interpersonal relationships off the job, executives, managers and employees at all levels will still find her book helpful in life and in work. Braiker describes three primary manifestations (compulsive behavior, distorted thinking, and avoidance of negative feelings) of being a people-pleaser, and notes that this problem can stem from a personal mind-set, a habit or an intense aversion to conflict. Most helpfully, she explains strategies for more productive behavior. Sometimes the explanations and self-help quizzes become repetitive, but her examples keep the book's pace flowing. Thus we [...] recommend this book as - dare we say it? - a real crowd pleaser.
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Format: Paperback
As opposed to many self help books, Braiker has written a book that has substance instead of "rah-rah" fluff, and is very well written so you can actually apply the concepts into your daily life.

She does not assume that everyone has the same challenges. Reflecting that premise, at the beginning of most all sections she provides a list of questions for the reader to answer so they can tell how much they may or may not need the concepts that follow. You don't have to read it from start to finish. Instead, take the first test and jump right to sections that will provide you the most help.

Her ideas are very well thought out and clearly written. The "light turns on" as you read a paragraph and ponder how it applies to you.

If you want everyone to like you and it bothers you when they do not, or if you are addicted to pleasing your employer and work excessively, this is one of the first books I would read.
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Format: Paperback
If you've ever spent time as an unhappy, people pleasing doormat then this book is for you. I disagree with a previous reviewer who criticized the book stating that "nice" was a personality trait and not a disease. That person either didn't read the book or completely missed the point. The book in no way suggests that niceness in its true form is a disease. People pleasing to the point of self-neglect and self-destruction is a disease. A nasty one. And this book offers treatment. It sheds light on why we do this and what we can do to stop the cycle. You can stand up for yourself, express your needs and still be a nice person. It's not about changing personality traits but destructive thoughts and behaviors. Bravo.
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by my counselor. The book is full of insightful information. It was amazing how many times I said to myself "that is exactly how I feel" Trying to please everyone all the time gets in the way of so many things on so many levels and this book helps you see and understand those things...People with the disease to please think they are doing all these good things by being so kind and helpful and loving when in reality, it can be pretty eroding to their own self esteem and their close personal relationships without them even realizing it because of the underlying reasons as to why they lay aside their own feelings about something in order to please everyone, keep peace, avoid conflict, etc. The step by step plan to help the pleaser move away from the mindset that makes him/her sacrifice so many things to please others is excellent. While not complicated or something revolutionary, it helps the reader to truly focus on thoughts and motivations and take steps to readjust your thinking. It is a must read for anyone who thinks they have even the slightest tendancy to be a people pleaser whether on the job or in thier personal lives.
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Format: Audio CD
This review is for the Audio Version only.

We've probably all had the experience of reading a letter with a tone not intended by the author, which resulted in a huge misunderstanding of the writer's intent. Well, the content of this book may actually be fine, but you may very well not gain any value from it should you purchase the audio version. Although the reader has clear, defined diction and well-measureed flow to her speech, she utilizes a snooty, condescending, and utterly acerbic tone throughout her reading of the book, making it almost impossible to listen to. It's like being scolded for 3 1/2 hours, and so relentlessly that you miss the message and hear only contempt.

Whilst going through this program I repeatedly had to stop the CD for the purpose of trying to picture the words in print. I would then realize that had I been reading the same text, I would not have intonated so nastily, and would then not find the content so utterly offensive.

I cannot say with any certainty to what degree the reader reflected the actual attitudes of the author. The author does express considerable disdain for people with easy-going dispositions, as well as those in middle management and other less lofty positions in the business world. It could be that the tone of her reading was exactly what was asked for.

On the other hand, people pleasers need to learn that they do not need to be liked by everyone. Therefore, having to endure the beration of the reader may well be good practice in not running away from uncomfortable feelings -- or in searching for a way to appease the displeased.

Whatever the case, those who have a problem with being pathologically nice may well have a problem with the audio version. That is way too bad, because audiobooks are so convenient for this sort of material. In this particular case, I warn against the audio edition. Read it instead.
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