Summary of When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

Doubleday Broadway,
First Edition: 1975 more...

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When I Say No, I Feel Guilty book summary
This classic manual explains how to become empowered and how to assert yourself to get what you want in every situation.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


Take a trip back to the 1970s, when leisure suits, long sideburns and “assertiveness training” were all the rage. Psychologist Manuel J. Smith was a pioneer in the life-changing assertiveness training movement. Reading his bestseller about it decades later adds a new perspective. Some of his advice still feels relevant, particularly when he urges you to beware of those who try to impose their standards of “right” and “wrong” to manipulate you. Smith lists your 10 “assertive rights,” the most important being the right to be the ultimate judge of your own behavior. He details several verbal techniques you can use to block manipulation, and encourage productive communication and negotiation. He supports each tactic with sample dialogues from real-life situations. Although some of his counsel may seem as dated as disco, getAbstract recommends his classic training manual to anyone who still feels guilty about saying “no!”

In this summary, you will learn

  • How other people may attempt to manipulate your behavior to get you to do what they want;
  • What your basic “assertive rights” are; and
  • How to thwart others’ manipulative behavior and promote productive communication at work and at home.


Problem Solving
No one’s life is problem-free. Inevitably, everyone encounters bumps on the road. Just like other members of the animal kingdom, humans have an innate, survival-based “fight or flight” response when they feel threatened. Unlike animals, however, humans in conflict possess...
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About the Author

Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D., is a clinical-experimental psychologist and the author of Yes, I Can Say No. His work has appeared in numerous professional and scientific publications, including the Journal of Experimental Psychology and Psychology Report.

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