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Necessary Endings Hardcover – January 18, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Endings are not a tragedy to be first feared and later regretted but a necessary stage on the way to growth, says clinical psychologist and bestselling author of The One-Life Solution. Endings are a crucial way to get what we desire by shedding those things whose time has passed. The author addresses the benefits of concluding unsatisfying work or personal relationships, and he advises readers on diagnosing when the situation can be resuscitated or must be shut down. This "pruning" process can spark readers out of passivity or paralysis, getting them motivated and energized for change. With many examples of people moving on from untenable circumstances and through specific strategies for ending things well, Cloud advocates for powerful personal changes just in time for the New Year, and will give many readers the fresh start they crave. (Jan.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Through specific strategies for ending things well, Cloud advocates for powerful personal changes...and will give many readers the fresh start they crave.” (Publishers Weekly)
“If you’re hesitant to pull the trigger when things obviously aren’t working out, Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings may be the most important book you read all year.” (Dave Ramsey, New York Times bestselling author of The Total Money Makeover)
“Much of what we do each day is an unnecessary waste of time and energy. This book will challenge you put a stop to things that have been getting in your way for a long time.” (Tom Rath, bestselling author of Strengths-Based Leadership)
“Having written five books about the seasons of life, I can tell you that necessary endings are the hard part. Henry Cloud is a wise, experienced, and compassionate guide through these turbulent passages.” (Bob Buford, bestelling author of Halftime and Finishing Well; founder, Leadership Network)
Top customer reviews
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Looking back at the time I left an alcoholic partner "for MY OWN GOOD," I can see some seed of sanity and an understanding that some endings were necessary. This book simply validates what I've suspected all along - better to cut your losses as soon as you see they're losses - and run. It's more than that of course, but the theme is the same. Endings are beginnings in disguise.
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I literally wept with relief when I read his VERY SIMPLE and extremely practical and FOOLPROOF method for dealing with "fools." It so works. It so works!! Just so you know, Cloud considers a fool someone who refuses to accept or look at feedback. Being a fool has NOTHING to do with intelligence, skills or capabilities and everything to do with not being able to accept reality. Some of the smartest men and women on the planet are "fools" and some of the least intelligent are wise. It all has to do with whether you can listen and accept feedback (not critical shaming criticism - but real FEEDBACK). If you buy this book for no other reason than to learn how to shut down a fool, it's well worth the price!!
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Quotes I LOVED:
"Successful leaders ALL have one thing in common: They get in touch with reality. If you comb the leadership literature, one theme runs throughout everyone's descriptions of the best leaders. The great ones have either a natural ability, or an acquired one, to 'confront the brutal facts... especially when it comes to seeing a necessary ending.'"
"The mature person meets the demands of life, while the immature person demands that life meet her demands."
"You cannot deal with everyone the same way. There are evil people, fools and wise people. When truth presents itself, the wise person sees the light, takes it in and makes adjustments. The fool tries to adjust the truth so he doesn't have to adjust to it. Evil people are not reasonable and truth means nothing to them. They simply want to hurt you and do destructive things. Don't have anything to do with them. NOTHING. Protect yourself in the manner of the Warren Zevon song, with "Lawyers, Guns and Money." (Attorneys, Police and Resources to keep them away from you.)
Cloud talks about the "hoarder mentality." If you thought hoarders only stockpiled crap in their homes - just wait. Cloud exposes the "business hoarder" and explains, "The hoarder mentality thrives not only in garages, but in business and people's lives as well." Hoarders, in one way or another Cloud says, "Always say I might need that." CEOs and business owners cling to people, resources, businesses in the same way - saying "If things turn around we might need that division next year."
My other favorite sections were:
Internal Maps that Keep You From Succeeding.
Cloud sets out the five most common "maps" or thought patterns that keep us from necessary endings:
(1) Having an abnormally high pain threshold. Common apparently for those of us with lousy childhoods who learned to endure horrific emotional, physical or mental pain. We're so used to numbing ourselves we don't recognize when something really is abnormal pain. He shows us how/why we do this and how to change it. Pain ended!!
(2) Covering for Others. Growing up in an alcoholic home I learned to assume responsibility for everything. If someone got sick, fell down the stairs, got into a fight, spent all their money it was up to me to "make it work" or "fix it." That's a WRONG map/thought pattern that kept me co-dependent all my life. I'm now 55 and know I'm only responsible for myself and not for the adults, addicts, fools and losers around me.
(3 Believing that Quitting means you Failed. I think anyone who has been abused, bullied or belittled has this map. Whoever said, "Winners never quit and quitters never win," wasn't thinking about when quitting is sometimes a good thing, a necessary thing.
(4) Misplaced Loyalty - how being "loyal" to someone to the extent we hurt ourselves is misplaced loyalty and not good for us or the person we think we're being loyal to.
(5) Codependency Mapping - Need I really say more? Cloud nails this too - pointing out how our co-dependency keeps us feeling responsible for the other person's pain when we stop enabling them. He says:
"There is a difference between helping someone who is disabled, incapable, or otherwise infirm versus helping someone who is resisting growing up and taking care of what every adult (or child for that matter) has to be responsible for: herself or himself. When you find yourself in any way paying for someone else's responsibilities, not only are you stuck with a delayed ending, but you are probably harming that person.
I could go on for pages. All I can say is that this book is life changing. BUY IT!! And buy a copy to give a friend because you're going to want to after you read it.
Gardeners get this: They understand the need to remove diseased, overmature, or unwanted portions from the rose bush. They know that pruning encourages denser growth and more profuse flowering by concentrating the plant's energy on continued flower production.
Part of the lifecycle of plants is the need for pruning. Part of the lifecycle of people and organizations is the need for pruning. Pruning applies to big issues like ending relationships with people and projects, and small ones like scrapping parts of the Monday morning meeting agenda that no longer add value. More important issues cannot be added to the time tight agenda unless other items are removed.
Clouds’ book, Necessary Endings, is a guide to ending relationships that are no longer working, investments that are not performing, so we can use the finite amounts of time, energy and money that we have for what can work. To do that effectively we need to be clear what we are dealing with so we do not end what we should persevere with and not persevere with what we should end.
A useful rule of thumb is his distinction between “hoping” and “wishing.” Hoping is when the expectation of an improvement in staff productivity or an investment returns is based on sound evidence or reasoning. In contrast, wishing is the baseless expectation of improvement of the situation.
Jack Welch was a legendary pruner. He pruned any companies that were not number one or number two in their industries or on their way to becoming number one or number two. He instructed his managers to spoil the top 20% of their staff, take care for “solid” 70% and fire the bottom 10%. Both the business and the staff were stronger for this as evidenced by GE’s spectacular results during his twenty year tenure as Chairman and CEO.
Cost cutting should not be confused with pruning. Pruning is strategic, cost cutting often results in fewer people required to do more with less, hardly a clever strategic move.
Cloud, a clinical psychologist, explores the many emotional traps that prevent us from ending what is necessary. They range from the mistaken belief that “winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win” to the feeling that “we may be in hell, but at least we know every street.” Even when there is no longer any reason to believe that the project, employee, relationship or partnership will ever come right people decline to effect the necessary ending. This feels preferable to being labeled the “bad guy” by oneself or others.
There are books for gardeners on how to prune the roses. Executed competently, you get great blooms and done purely or not at all, you will have ungainly, leggy growth with bare branches at the base. Necessary Endings is probably the business equivalent.
The good times can not start until the bad times end.
Readability Light --+-- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High +---- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy