Review: Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

I’ve appreciated the insight and writings of Dr. Henry Cloud for many years. His book “Boundaries” helped me many years ago to determine “where I end and other  people begin”. “Changes that Heal” was one of the many books that helped me grasp the bridge between biblical counseling and psychology.

In 2010 he published “Necessary Endings” (Harper Collins). I just got around to reading it and it came at a perfect time as the book alerted me to a necessary ending in my life that I need to deal with.

The subtitle is “The employees, businesses, and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward”. From the subtitle alone you get a sense of his point; if you want to move on with your life there are some things that you need to let go of.  Until you do you are stuck.

Necessary Endings: A How-To Manual

The book’s logic flowed well from chapter to chapter, each one building on the previous one.   I felt like he was my personal coach because he would often answer the very questions that came to my mind as I read the book. It’s almost a “how-to” manual as far as its helpfulness in addressing a very difficult subject…not difficult, as in, hard to understand. But difficult, as in, it’s hard to end things that you have invested so much time, money and energy.

Each chapter was very hands-on practical. I especially appreciated the chapter “Having the Conversation; Strategies for Ending Things Well”. Just  to give you a feel for the book these are some of the topics he touched on in this critical chapter;

  • Why it is we often fail to have the conversation?
  • Begin with the end in mind. Be clear about your outcome and don’t get “squishy”.
  • Find the proper balance between care for the person and the need to move on.
  • Get agreement. Make sure both parties are on the same page in the end.

I know a couple of people who put the book down within a chapter or two because they thought it was just a business book. But the deeper you get into the book the more he diversified his examples. And along the way you realize that it doesn’t matter if he is talking about business, dating or where you shop; the principles of necessary endings are what matter and they don’t change.

If you are looking for a lot of Bible references you will be disappointed. He is obviously trying to appeal to a broader audience than some of his other books. Adding biblical references might be interesting to a Christian audience but it would shrink his reach.  Truth is truth whether it’s in the Bible or not. This is just good wisdom that anyone can benefit from.

Necessary Endings: Good things can happen when old things end.

Cloud ends the book with a story about a friend who upon reflection realized the importance of necessary endings in his life. He said…Everything I have that is of value has come from being willing to end something that I was doing and go to the next step. The endings and the great new beginnings are somehow linked together. You can’t have one without the other. (page 230)

I highly recommend this book…to everyone. I’d put it right next to Boundaries and buy a few extra copies to give to your friends who don’t seem to know how to move on with their lives.

I get nothing for this review and I’m not related to Dr. Cloud either!  I’m just a fan of the book and love getting good resources into the hands of people.

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5 thoughts on “Review: Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

  1. Anonymous

    Remy, great review. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my list as well. I just saw Dr. Cloud at Willow Creek and had the opportunity to learn from him. He is an amazing man of God and he has great spiritual depth. I was thinking you should have sent a copy of your book with me, maybe you could have received your review. 🙂 Actually I need to just get a copy of your book and read it for myself as well. God Bless my friend!

  2. Anonymous

    I read that book and also found it to be very helpful. Good reminder of the need to grieve losses, let go, and move on. Mary Detweiler

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Yeah…this one snuck up on me too. It just showed up in my church bookstore and I grabbed it. I think you’ll like it.


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