5 Books To Learn How To Say NO

Do you ever find it difficult to say NO? First of all, I want to reassure you that you are not alone. In fact, according to research, 80% of the population has difficulty saying NO. But why is it so difficult to refuse a request for help from a colleague, a friend, a family member?

According to American psychologist Susan Newman, author of the book “The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say It – And Mean It and Stop People-pleasing Forever, we are conditioned from an early age to say yes.

As children, we seek the approval of parents and we quickly learn that saying NO moves us away from getting it. Most of the time, saying NO results in punishments or reproaches. Then we grow up with the idea that it is right to be good and to help others.

It should come as no surprise that once we are adults, the fear of saying NO is now completely rooted in us.

This anxiety is mainly due to the exaggeration of the potential consequences that a NO could entail. Will I lose my job if I say NO to a request from the boss? Will my friends ban me if I don’t accept an invitation to go out? Will they think I’m a bad person if I say NO to the request to help a family member?

The good news is that saying NO is a skill that can be learned and practiced. And it is never too late to do it!

Here is a list of the 5 most useful books to learn how to say NO.

1.The Power of A Positive No by William Ury 

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In this book, one of the most influential experts in negotiation teaches a powerful technique that anyone can learn: “Positive No”. This three-steps technique will allow you to assert your key interests, to make your No firm and strong, to resist manipulation; and to get to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests.

“The other often much prefers a clear answer, even if it is No, than continued indecision and waffling.”

2. The Power of No by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher.

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How many times have you said yes unwillingly? This book, in the form of a practical guide, teaches you that saying no is your right. No to things you don’t like anymore, to people who limit you, to thoughts that don’t belong to you.

“When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.”

3. The Book of NO by Susan Newman

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Psychologist Susan Newman offers simple and effective techniques to stop pleasing at all costs and learn to say no without feeling guilty or ruining relationships.

“With no, your well-being becomes a priority.”

4. The Curse of Lovely by Jacqui Marson

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During her 15 years of experience as a clinical psychologist, Jacqui Marson has observed what she calls “the curse of lovely”. In the book, she explains how to defuse the mechanism that leads us to please others and start living a more complete, fulfilling life

“If you believe you are only a good person if you try to help the world’s most needy and say yes to everyone’s requests and desires, then you will, inevitably, become overwhelmed.”

5. Saying No by Asha Phillips

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 A child psychotherapist and a mother, Asha Philipps strips away the negative associations surrounding the word ‘no’ and celebrates change and setting limits as essential ingredients in development.

“Saying no does not have to be a denial or crushing of another; in fact it can demonstrate a belief in the strength and abilities of others.”

And you? How good are you at saying no?

Let me know in the comments below if this topic resonates with you. Also, let me know if there is any other book that you recommend.

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