Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab

4 stars

The cover of Set Boundaries, Find Peace displayed on an e-reader.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace offers practical advice to help readers learn to set healthy boundaries.

I discovered Nedra Glover Tawwab, a licensed counselor, through Instagram, and was inspired by the helpful advice she offered on setting boundaries on her feed. 

As helpful as her posts are, I felt like I needed more depth than the collection of quotes and lists on her feed provided to truly apply her advice to my life. 

Her book “Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself” introduced me to the definitions, practical advice, and examples I needed to be able to set healthier boundaries in my personal and professional life. 

She makes a strong case that boundaries are critical to healthy relationships and to personal peace. Her assertion that boundaries are the root of self-care was a powerful insight for me. 

Tawwab also offers practical tips, exercises, and quizzes that empower readers to assess whether they have porous, rigid, or healthy boundaries and feel more assured in setting healthy ones.

I appreciated that the book discussed a variety of settings (social media, work, friendships, dealing with toxic people) where boundaries can be applied, although it was a little repetitive at times. And, like most expert advice books, some parts resonated with me and my circumstances, and parts weren’t really relevant at all.

Recovering people-pleasers or individuals who frequently feel overwhelmed and resentful but aren’t sure why will find this book helpful. This guidebook will be most useful to those who need a foundational understanding of what boundaries are, but even expert-level boundary-setters stand to pick up a tip or two.

Stop Overthinking by Nick Trenton

The cover of the book Stop Overthinking

For many of us, stress levels have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. And, as a founding member of the overthinkers club, a book with nearly 2 dozen tips for stopping stress in its tracks sounded promising. 

The basic premise of this book is that we should not see ourselves as “helpless in the face of stress” because we have many tools at our disposal for eradicating (or at least minimizing) this negative emotion.

The book is very straightforward and doesn’t go into a lot of detail about how your brain works like some other books on the subject. It makes the point that a lot of the stress in our lives is voluntary and the best way to reduce stress is to say no to unnecessary stress. 

One of the observations that really made me think was about how “your schedule can become one of your greatest stress reduction tools.” The concept of reframing my schedule as a stress-reducer rather than an endless to-do list was very powerful for me.

Some of the other advice is really basic. For example, when you encounter a problem, Trenton urges you to “physically see that the problem is separate from you.”

Another simple piece of advice: “Validate your own emotions and accept them.” Both of these tips are easy to understand, but a lot harder to put into practice.

The advice might be overly simple for some, but for me, there was something about the simple, uncomplicated advice that was appealing to me. However, it might not have been as appealing if it was my first read on the subject.

What is your best stress reduction tip? What other stress-reduction books have you read?

Don’t You Know Who I am? by Ramani Durvasula

4 stars

The cover of Don't You Know Who I am" by Rumani Durvasula, Ph.D.

Unfortunately, all of us will encounter a narcissist at some point in our lives.

When it inevitably happens, this book about the proliferation of narcissism in America and how it negatively impacts society and individuals can help you understand how to cope.

Durvasula is clearly an expert on the subject, and this book is full of great insights on how to deal with narcissists in your life. She reminds us that insecurity is at the core of narcissism, and as the subtitle promises, gives us tips on how to stay sane amidst the chaos these individuals create. 

“Stop handing over your kindness to a narcissist.”

Ramani S. Durvasula, Ph.D.

She does not sugarcoat what optimists and people who believe in fairness need to do to protect themselves from the toxicity of being around a narcissist. She reminds us throughout the book that life isn’t fair and that “there are no exceptions to narcissism — everyone gets hurt.”

I listened to this as an audiobook, and while I got a lot from it, I’d recommend reading this one in hardcopy if you are able. The citations were a little tedious in audiobook form, and it was hard to skip to the chapters that relate directly to the reason you sought out the book.

Despite my challenges with the format, it was one of the better books I’ve read on the subject of narcissism. Years after reading the book I still find myself referring to its helpful reminders such as “stop handing over your kindness to a narcissist.”