The Book of Boundaries

Set the Limits That Will Set You Free

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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE CO-FOUNDER OF THE WHOLE30 • End resentment, burnout, and anxiety—and reclaim your time, energy, health, and relationships.

“Melissa Urban shows the way forward with clarity, vulnerability, and humor.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of Life in Five Senses

Melissa Urban has helped millions of people transform their relationship with food. Now, in this powerful and practical guide, she shows how boundaries—clear limits you set to protect your energy, time, and health—are the key to feelings of security, confidence, and freedom in every area of your life.

In her famously direct and compassionate style, Urban offers:

• 130+ scripts with language you can use to set boundaries with bosses and co-workers, romantic partners, parents and in-laws, co-parents, friends, family, neighbors, strangers—and yourself
• Actionable advice to help you communicate your needs with clarity and compassion
• Tips for successfully navigating boundary guilt, pushback, pressure, and oversteps
• Techniques to create healthy habits around food, drink, technology, and more

User-friendly and approachable, The Book of Boundaries will give you the tools you need to stop justifying, minimizing, and apologizing, leading you to more rewarding relationships and a life that feels bigger, healthier, and freer.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE CO-FOUNDER OF THE WHOLE30 • End resentment, burnout, and anxiety—and reclaim your time, energy, health, and relationships.

“Melissa Urban shows the way forward...

Advance Praise

“I always tell my therapy patients that boundaries create trust, comfort, and safety in a relationship, but many people struggle with how to effectively communicate what they need. In The Book of Boundaries, Melissa Urban helps you identify your boundary needs, offers actionable scripts on what to say, and shares proven tips based on a decade of experience helping people live more freely by holding their limits with confidence.”—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

The Book of Boundaries is funny, direct, and smart, bringing you actionable tools and science-backed strategies for setting boundaries using language that feels kind, natural, and empowering. Melissa’s straightforward scripts and practical tips makes it easy to identify your limits and communicate them with confidence, so you can start putting yourself first and create a life that feels bigger, freer, and more authentically YOU.”—Mel Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Second Rule

“Setting healthy boundaries is good for your relationships, your business, and your finances. The Book of Boundaries shows you how to stand up for yourself, say no, and communicate your needs in a way that leaves you feeling confident and empowered. Through her stories, personal experiences, and research, Melissa Urban gives you the tools, affirmations, and language you need to reclaim your time, energy, and health.”—Tiffany Aliche, New York Times bestselling author of Get Good with Money

“Melissa Urban has written the playbook for creating connection, protecting our peace, and expanding our lives. At once insightful, personal, funny, and direct, The Book of Boundaries should be required reading for anyone who has relationships with other humans.”—Ellen Vora, MD, psychiatrist and bestselling author of The Anatomy of Anxiety

“I always tell my therapy patients that boundaries create trust, comfort, and safety in a relationship, but many people struggle with how to effectively communicate what they need. In The Book of...

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ISBN 9780593448700
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Average rating from 47 members

Featured Reviews

Wow, so relatable and needed in my life! I love how easy this was to read and the author writes in a way that is understandable and makes the content something you can integrate into your daily life. I’m looking forward to implementing more boundaries in my life and taking what I’ve learned from this book and putting it into practice in my daily life. Thank you NetGalley!

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Do you get sucked into one-sided relationships where you are constantly giving-in just so the other person won't be angry? Are you tired of putting everyone else's needs and feelings above your own?

This book will change your life..

Melissa Urban outlines with clear language and a ton of engaging examples how to establish boundaries in your relationships with friends, strangers, neighbors, work colleagues and family. For any given situation, she gives three sample responses that she labels green, amber and red. A green response is an initial/friendly suggestion of how to convey your needs in the face of someone taking advantage. The amber, as you would expect, is a slightly firmer approach when the green didn't work and the bad behavior continues. The red is firmer yet -- essentially code-red.

The book is a highly readable compilation of relationship dilemmas but it's also the kind of book you'll keep in your bottom drawer for quick reference to help you out of the next sticky situation.

Highly recommended.


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This is a must-have resource to help one improve mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. It is full of great strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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I have read so much on boundaries- from blogs, to newsletters, chapters in books and even articles in professional journals. The way Melissa lays out the book sections for specific boundary challenges makes this book easy to read through then return to when something comes up in real life and you need a quick review. The Green, yellow, red scripts are great to practice and have “on deck” to use. This book flows more like a conversation with friend, and is very accessible- which to me makes it priceless! I plan on sharing this book with clients, coworkers, family and friends!

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I first came to understand what boundaries were in late 2014 after the birth of my son and I was navigating a lot of changes and took a deep-dive into some parenting forums where boundaries were talked about A LOT. I learned a lot and even tried to read the most prominent titles on boundaries but they were a little dry and too religious for me. Melissa's IG Stories over the last several years have been excellent and I've appreciated her Green, Yellow, Red approach. Her book is not exception and this is an excellent way to approach boundaries from a non-religious standpoint and a much more thought out and real-world scenario standpoint. There is something for everyone in here and scripts for just about anything that can be adapted for anyone. And it's a good refresher when you have boundaries put on yourself, to stand back and take some personal reflection. Great for anyone and to revisit when you need to remember how to set or accept boundaries!

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This is a great book for those looking to strengthen their boundaries. It is easy to understand and the examples are really helpful.

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The Book of Boundaries is an excellent resource perfect for anyone who struggles to put themself first. This is the book that will help you keep from giving in just to avoid conflict. You will learn how to say no and not feel bad about it. You will start to prioritize yourself. Boundaries are a necessity to any healthy relationship, as well as one's mental well-being. This book will provide tips, techniques, and advice on how to establish these boundaries. There are scripts provided for doing so. Highly recommended!

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The Book of Boundaries is a great resource for anyone trying to manage their life better. I liked the straight-forward approach of green, yellow, and red scripts of what to say. I enjoyed this book and see myself referencing it in the future.

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This is a great book for those struggling to understand why they don't have good boundaries and shows how the author established and keeps her own boundaries in all areas of life.

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I often put others needs before mine. I have one sided relationships. This book was so helpful at helping me value me and my needs. Great concepts. Excellent information. Easy to read and understand.

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Anyone who is experience struggles because they feel like relationships around them are draining them or that they are in situations in which they feel like they are being walked over, etc. needs to read this book. Melissa Urban writes in a way that makes talking about boundaries seem comfortable. The compassion and knowledge she shows throughout the book remind me of Brene Brown and I feel like fans of Brown will be fans of Urban. Urban gives so many different scenarios of boundary crossing and examples that you truly feel prepped and ready after reading the book. While I was reading it allowed me to identify situations that I could benefit from setting boundaries and made me excited to go out and set boundaries. Urban says that setting boundaries will set you free and I truly believe that. From romantic relationships, friendships, parents, work relationships and more there are so many areas in which we can benefit from boundaries but if we weren't taught that growing up it can be hard to identify and create boundaries. Boundaries can be a tricky topic but Urban explains them in a way them emphasizes clear communication and kindness so that they don't feel overwhelming nor do they hurt you or the person you are trying to communicate with. This book is for everyone and I enjoyed learning from the "boundary lady".

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It isn't every day that I read a book that makes me stop and think about how I have approached my life as well as how I have allowed OTHER people to approach my life. Having lived through emotional abuse I have felt for awhile that I needed to reestablish some healthy boundaries and guidelines in my life. Between therapy and THIS BOOK, I feel I have a very good foundation and skill set when it comes to reaffirming myself and moving forward in a healthy way when it comes to difficult situations. And not only do I feel more secure in setting boundaries for myself, I feel I would be an excellent advocate for someone else while they try to set boundaries in areas of their life.

Boundaries can be a wonderful thing. "Good fences make good neighbors".

Thanks to this book I also understand that setting boundaries doesn't have to be MEAN. Boundaries are kind. Kind to me and kind to others. So many arguments can be avoided when both parties know what is expected of them in a situation.

Written with humor and caring seriousness, Melissa Urban has a great way of making situations relatable. By using her own life as an example, as well as questions that other people have sent her, she breaks down how to set healthy boundaries in a clear and concise way. Using a warning light system, each boundary has multiple 'threat' levels that the boundary setter can utilize depending how severe the situation is. As a bonus, Melissa also shows the flip side - what could happen without boundaries in place, which is actually very eye opening when you are so used to people walking all over you. You don't have to sit back and allow people to treat you poorly. You've only got this life - treat yourself kindly by setting boundaries so others know how to treat you well too.

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I am firmly convinced that everyone would benefit from reading "The Book of Boundaries" by Melissa Urban.

I've been a big fan of Melissa's work since 2014 when I completed my first Whole30. So, I knew going into this book that there would be plenty of tough love. And there was, but Melissa's tone has become gentler over the years, while remaining true to her own voice.

"The Book of Boundaries" set up what boundaries are and why they are necessary in an easily understandable way with lots of personal stories along the way to illustrate. I loved the way the book is divided up among various categories of people you may need to set boundaries with, including yourself. But, the real star of this book is the real-life scenarios and included suggested boundary templates that allow you to make them your own. No need to waffle back and forth about what to say.

This book was well executed and very nicely laid out for maximum reader friendliness. I'm sure I will return to this book again and again as needs for boundaries arise in my own life.

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I found this to be exactly what I’ve been searching for. I really struggle with boundaries and have always wished for a script of sorts to use until I gain some muscle memory. This was truly perfect and I think it’ll be the book that changes my life. I’m so thankful to have gained all the knowledge and insight from this book.

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The Book of Boundaries is both clear and kind. It empowers readers to claim the space they need to show up fully in the world. Melissa weaves her own experiences with situations submitted by her community in a way that everyone will feel seen in at least one of the scenarios. And the common approach to all of them powerfully translates into a boundary setting toolkit that leaves you ready to enact the personal changes you need.

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Melissa Urban is the type of woman that seems so confident you just wish some of it would rub off on you. She shares this magic, and so much of herself in The Book of Boundaries. I have read many self- help books that tell you to set boundaries in different areas of your life. Melissa Urban actually wrote the script. If you are wanting practical help with how to set boundaries in every area of your life- this is it.

Determining how to word my needs for others in a way that will not burn bridges is what kept me from setting proper boundaries. This book goes into the way to word different your needs for all levels of attacks on your boundaries. This is a must read.

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I have followed Melissa Urban since the early Whole 30 days. She has been my go-to for everything from finding food freedom, the best books to read, strong and bendy workouts, amazing hair and how to life on your own terms.

The Book of Boundaries is an experience comparable to sitting down with one of your wisest friends for a killer vent sesh and them giving you all the tools you need to thrive through chaos. Melissa is the extinguisher to my dumpster fire. Her guide is practical, realistic and readable. The sectioned chapters (dealing with everything from monster in laws to work and even ourselves) are perfect for re-reads in times of trouble and let's face it, building boundaries is not a one time use skill.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Whether you are a recovering people pleaser like myself or just need to set some small boundaries here and there, this is the book for you.

Pre-order it early, I did!, as it is set to release in October 11, 2022 and you are going to want this one on your forever shelf.

Thank you so much to Melissa, Netgalley, and the publisher for the gifted egalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Book Of Boundaries is a handy and pragmatic book about how to settle healthy limits in all relationships and layers of your life. It is a manual to keep close by and for frequent reference, as our reality changes, but the ability to set limits is forever useful. For every and all kinds of situation, there is a prompt waiting for you.
Melissa is not afraid to get involved - she has specific, word-by-word responses you can use in daily situations. If you are looking for specific help, rather than vague guidelines, you should certainly give it a go.
Unpretentious and uncomplicated, an SOS book to (re)visit whenever you feel circumscribed to a reality that doesn’t fit you.

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Thank you to Melissa Urban and NetGalley for this ARC and allowing me to be a part of the launch team in exchange for an honest review!

These past three years have been a crash course in learning how to set boundaries that have been a requirement for my own and my family's mental and physical health. They have finally come into the spotlight as a form of SELF CARE. However, despite even helping my clients set them, I still struggle with putting my needs into clear, kind language.

This is what The Book of Boundaries does best, and I wish I'd had a copy when I was a young adult navigating the waters of dating, moving out on my own, my relationship with alcohol in my mid-20s, and definitely my bedside nursing career. As someone with people pleasing and codependent tendencies, I had spent a lot of energy suppressing my needs in order to be seen as "good" or obedient or compliant.

Melissa's (of course, we're on a first name basis) organization of the topic is perfection- guiding you through different areas of your life that likely need boundaries. She preaches to be clear and kind, that boundaries are about what YOU will do (not controlling the other person). She provides scripts, coded by color (green, yellow, red) in progressing order of firmness, for a variety of topics. They are wonderful and fabulous, but also might even open your eyes to a world that might feel scary at first- speaking with honesty and authenticity.

My only very minimal gripe is that I am still scared of some of these...confrontations (because some feel like it). Clearly, this is not the author's or the book's problem, but a sign of areas in which I need to work. However, it would be nice to have some tips on how to build confidence in the area of boundaries for these more difficult conversations.

Overall, I will be recommending this to all my clients who struggle to set their own boundaries! I recommend that you buy the physical book so that you have something to reference and go back to. Not ever section is for everyone, but if you choose to read the whole thing, I promise you'll get something out of everything.

4.5 stars

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I was a bit skeptical going into this book since the author doesn't have credentials in any counseling or related field but was interested in giving it a shot due to liking her work in the Whole30 realm and an interest in the subject. Overall, it was a well-written and researched book. She has years of experience with setting boundaries and coaching others to set them as well. Each chapter is laid out by a topic and includes specific scenarios that she gives an example of a green, yellow, and red boundary you could set in that situation. I think it would be helpful for many people that are working to build their boundary building chops.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very helpful book. I really liked that there are a lot of examples given on how to apply creating boundaries to a person's life.

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Ebook/non-fiction/self help: I want to thank Netgalley for an advanced copy. I want to also say that I have been following Melissa Urban for years on the Whole30 program. I did have to put some boundaries up on Melissa because I didn't like the expensive products she is recommending through IG and email. Melissa said she understood and agreed I should stop receiving her emails. See, boundaries work.

I started reading this book after I started a new job with a crazy supervisor. I felt I needed boundaries because I was bringing the job home and letting crazy woman haunt my dreams. The supervisor imploded one afternoon and hasn't been back, but I still found a lot of the suggestions helpful. The book goes into what to say (and any actions) you can use. The suggestions go from green, yellow, and red depending on the severity of the situation or the times you've asked for the boundary and it was ignored. Green is a firm suggestion, yellow, a warning shot over the bough, and red is final warning.
The book has scripts to use if you aren't tactful, as I am not. The book goes into what happens if you're on the receiving end of a boundary and boundaries you can give yourself.

I really enjoyed the book and how it was laid out.

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YES YES YES! I loved The Book of Boundaries more than I ever would have thought. Boundaries are hard for people-pleasers like me, but this book is an awesome starting place. Lots of great advice, techniques, and even some scripts to follow. I highly recommend this to everyone who struggles with boundaries...and even those who don't.

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This book was incredible. I have been working on personal and professional boundaries for quite some time. The scripts she gives with the green, yellow, red are amazing. There is freedom in clear, kind, and direct communication, and Melissa does just that.

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nitial thoughts: I was fortunate to receive an early ARC of The Book of Boundaries (thank you, Dial Press & NetGalley) and I devoured it.

while I think I’m pretty good at setting boundaries (especially around work and my time) the scripts Melissa provided in her “green, yellow, red” format will make boundary setting doable for anyone.

while these conversations can be uncomfortable, Melissa shows what can happen to your life if you DON’T set healthy boundaries (and it isn’t pretty.)

this book is for everyone, and I may need to invest in a case to pass around to friends and family.

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