It's obvious from the popularity of their million-copy bestseller Boundaries and its numerous spinoffs that Henry Cloud and John Townsend have hit a nerve. Here they focus on the actual conversations that are critical to setting successful boundaries.

People often avoid conflict and confrontation, they write, because they fear angry responses, hurting others, or looking bad, but healthy confrontations help people grow emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Those who confront well make a clear re-quest for change from the other person, the authors suggest. The emphasis, they write, is not on renovating the entire person—which can be overwhelming—but on solving a particular problem.

Most of the sample conversations and suggestions are simple. Be humble. Keep to the point. Apologize if needed. Specific chapters center on boundary conversations in particular arenas such as dating, marriage, parents, children, and work.

The authors mix in personal anecdotes, warming the book's tone and keeping it from feeling overly theoretical.

Cindy Crosby is the author of By Willoway Brook: Exploring the Landscape of Prayer (Paraclete, 2003).

Related Elsewhere:

Boundaries Face to Face, along with other books in the series, is available from and other book retailers.

More information is available from the publisher.

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