- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (February 1, 1975)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553263900
- ISBN-13: 978-0553263909
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 277 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When I Say No, I Feel Guilty Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1985
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From the Publisher
The best-seller that helps you say: "I just said 'no' and I don't feel guilty!" Are you letting your kids get away with murder? Are you allowing your mother-in-law to impose her will on you? Are you embarrassed by praise or crushed by criticism? Are you having trouble coping with people? Learn the answers in When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, the best-seller with revolutionary new techniques for getting your own way.
From the Inside Flap
The best-seller that helps you say: "I just said 'no' and I don't feel guilty!" Are you letting your kids get away with murder? Are you allowing your mother-in-law to impose her will on you? Are you embarrassed by praise or crushed by criticism? Are you having trouble coping with people? Learn the answers in "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, the best-seller with revolutionary new techniques for getting your own way.
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Top customer reviews
So here I am, assertively asserting my right to dislike this book, mainly because:
1) FONT AND PAGE SETTING: Every single page is literally filled (from top to bottom and from tiny margin to tiny margin) with tiny, blurry font type. Except in the never-ending dialogs included to illustrate long perplexing analysis, there’re hardly any line/paragraph breaks anywhere in the book. Unless you’re spellbound by the author’s pompous style, it makes the book very hard to read.
2) TITLE-CONTENTS DISCREPANCY: Despite what the title claims, the book hardly explores the reasons behind one’s feeling of guilt when saying “no” (self-esteem, education, culture, etc.), or how one might work on that, and instead focusses on learning on how to manipulate manipulators (because, you see, you’re either a manipulator or the non-assertive victim of a manipulator; there’s simply nothing in between). Not what I expected, but maybe I should have paid more attention to the 1-star reviews…
3) MISOGYNIC WORK: Except for a couple of examples where a woman is taught to manipulate her husband into having more or a different kind of sex, or letting her work even though she should probably spend more time on housework (go for it, you, modern woman!), I feel the book often portrays women as nagging bitches who need to be put in their place through assertiveness (you gotta love the example of the “nagging” wife asking her husband not to drop his dirty clothes all over the floor, and her husband asserting his right that he doesn’t have to care about how she feels and can do whatever he wants! Or the example of the wife who wants to talk about couple issues and ends up agreeing that her husband should put her in her place more often!). If a woman happens to have vulvodynia or another medical issue affecting her sex life, then she clearly must suffer from psycho-induced frigidity – which fortunately can be cured through assertiveness therapy (huh?). And let’s not forget the multiple-page dialog about the husband assertively convincing his wife to become a nudist to spice up their sex life (because seeing other women naked will turn him on – everyone knows that’s why you become a nudist!)
4) LONG, POINTLESS, CONFUSING ANALYSES: The book seems to be filled with long analyses that go nowhere. Granted, English isn’t my first language (it’s actually my third) but honestly: Shouldn’t the text have something to do with the subject at hand? Or at least, shouldn’t the reader be able to follow the writer’s thought and understand how it relates to the point at hand? I recall an entire page dedicated to toilet etiquette (or rather lack thereof) in public urinals. To illustrate what point? I can’t recall. Case in point.
5) ENDLESS DIALOGS: I’m all for “hands-on” material to illustrate specific points (especially if they break the endless monotony of page after page of condensed font), but the dialogs used to illustrate the assertiveness techniques are excruciatingly long – as long as 12 pages! And unless you shop only in stores with poor customer service, or have a wife who won’t acknowledge that she’s the problem, then you may find them somewhat repetitive (after all, how many times can you illustrate three assertiveness techniques over 324 pages without sounding repetitive?), and not very useful in your particular situation. Although to be fair, there are 34 dialogs in the book, and not all of them are about uncooperative salesmen or nagging wives.
6) WHEN WAS ASSERTIVENESS EVER A “CURE”? According to the book, all problems are about lacking assertiveness and assertiveness therapy can cure everything. From drug addiction to libido issues, to children not being the little grown-ups you want them to be, to difficult situations with salesmen/bosses/employees/fill the blank: Assertiveness therapy is the answer. Become a master manipulator in 10 easy classes! Thank to assertiveness training, the police may arrest you if you do something wrong, but they will no longer search your car or frisk you! Yeah!
In conclusion: This book was painful to read on many levels. It’s possible that 40+ years ago (when it was written and published), it made more sense to people (men in particular), but that’s a far cry from being a classic, and I doubt it’s been the “#1 Seller on Assertiveness Training” for several decades.
That being said, it’s got some redeeming qualities including a bill of assertive rights (some of which actually not detrimental to other people or relationships), and the description –albeit painful– of classic assertiveness methods such as “the broken record”. However, if you’d like to save yourself many hours of reading, simply read the following:
1) You’re entitled to say “no” when you don’t feel like saying “yes” (no argument from me here!)
2) In case of opposition, just keep repeating your initial request [BROKEN RECORD] until the other party gives in, and trust that even if you lose the battle, you’ll feel better about yourself.
3) If you’re not manipulating someone, they’re manipulating you, so you might as well become the manipulator!
4) If you’re a man and think your wife is a nagging bitch, you’re right! And now, thanks to this book, you can assertively convince her to see herself as one too!!!
Life is good, indeed.
The concepts in the book help to make you aware of things going on around you and suggestions on how to handle them. Even without the suggestions, the awareness is priceless. It helped me to see manipulation in a different light.
I did find the first chapter to be very dull so I skipped it.