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The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness Audible – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 292 customer reviews

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By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Around fifteen years ago, I had a pastor who formerly suffered from sexual compulsion. I say "suffered," because his sermon illustrations frequently drew object lessons from his past--very, very long illustrations, lavish in detail and dripping with heartfelt emotion. He was the JK Rowling of recovering Christian sex addicts. One started to suspect he didn't so much regret his pre-conversion dependencies, as miss them.

I recalled that pastor, reading this book. The title and back-cover synopsis implied I'd get insights into setting productive boundaries, rejecting others' opportunistic impositions on my finite strength, and screening toxic relationships and commitments, hopefully without alienating friends or insulting strangers. Instead, I mostly got a painful litany of the Altuchers' past struggles. These long confessions cross the line between relevant anecdote and just wallowing in it.

The Altuchers built their current stable marriage, achieved late in life, on the ruins of significant prior setbacks. James, a serial entrepreneur, got unbelievably rich unbelievably young, and his profligate lifestyle alienated everyone he loved, including his first wife and children. Claudia, a yoga instructor, sought romance for the wrong reasons, defining herself externally, believing herself personally unworthy unless somebody loved her. They tell their stories at some length.

Their introduction, "Your NO Bill Of Rights," seemed promising. In eleven simple precepts, followed with one- or two-paragraph explanations, the Altuchers set a tone of declarative therapeutic redemption. It's difficult to dispute tenets like "You have the right to defend your life," "You have the right to take your time," or "You have the right to silence.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was intrigued by book's premise of making a meaningful difference in your life by saying `no.' To me this was an interesting concept because it seems like so much advice encourages the opposite - do more, be more productive, fit more in, etc. And while that kind of advice can seem good in theory, for me it hasn't always worked well in practice. I can end up feeling overwhelmed and spread thin. I've already been trying to simplify my life and set better boundaries, but I'm always looking for more tips to better embrace this in my life.

Unfortunately this book gravely missed the mark for me in a few different ways.

First, the material it covered wasn't at all what I expected and wasn't as valuable or insightful as what I thought I would be reading about. Though the authors tried to organize the book into different sections, it felt like the kinds of things they were saying we should be saying no to were all over the place. They also weren't as closely linked to the themes of setting boundaries and simplifying your life as I expected. Thinking specifically about what they were asking us to say no to, some of them seemed essential to say no to, but others didn't seem universally true and felt more specific to the authors. Because each only had, on average, two pages devoted to it, I didn't always have a good sense of why it was important to me to say no to some of these things. It also seemed like the book was expecting me to say no to the things the authors don't think are essential, rather than teaching me to set my own priorities and edit my life accordingly.

I also didn't feel like the authors did a good enough job of setting up their credibility in this space. Why should I believe them? Why are they uniquely qualified to write this book?
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was looking forward to reading this book, but the reality was quite disappointing.

The authors come across as shallow and self-absorbed. James clearly has family issues and Claudia has relationship issues. They both write a lot about death and dying.

I finally said "no" to forcing myself to finish reading this book. Reading it made me depressed and angry. Stopping made me feel better. So I guess I did learn something from it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The "Altucher Experience" as I call it has elevated to "Altucher Squared," with the addition of Claudia bleeding her life experience into words that make The Power of No an impactful read. As I took it in, highlighting, writing notes, I wondered how I would be affected this time. How would my life change, improve again based on Altucher Squared? I wasn't disappointed. Once I began saying no to what was unhealthy to me, new worlds revealed themselves.

Frankly, I think this concept of "NO" is just a natural culmination of all the work and writings by Altucher and Altucher Squared. They've both, perhaps subtlety been working up to the lessons here. This book is a natural adjunct to "Choose Yourself", it's the next iteration. Sort of like Godfather 2 answers the questions you had from The Godfather. Once you choose, the word NO should be a regular part of your vocabulary. James and Claudia help readers understand how it's fine, no, more than fine, to draw the line, set boundaries, walk away, cut loose, never look back. I've used it. It works. I will continue. As a matter of fact, it's more than fine. It's necessary for you to live the life you seek.

The book opens strong - I created a set of "Your No Bill of Rights" index cards to keep me focused, based on the lessons. You have the RIGHT to defend your life, to healthy relationships, love, to assert what you want, take your time, to be honest with all and yourself. You have the right to practice silence and connect with the higher part of you. Stillness.
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