Necessary Endings book review

1024 576 David Joannes

Date read: 05.18.2017. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10.

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud on Amazon.

See my Kindle highlights here.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that the ministry of Within Reach Global will receive 4.50% of your total purchase from Amazon.)


Written for the business owner, the aspiring entrepreneur, the would-be leader, the president of a non-profit organization, or the common man or woman in an unhealthy relationship, this book is actually for everyone. The truths that the author communicate are powerful realities that are often overlooked. This book is a prodding shock out of the status quo, an eye-opening wake-up call from the humdrum habits of life. The author says, “Life has seasons, stages, and phases. For there to be anything new, old things always have to end, and we have to let go of them.” For me, this book could not have been more timely. Our non-profit organization was faced with a big decision as we moved forward into the next season, and certain working relationships had to be remedied. The decision-making process was unpleasant at times but I knew that something had to be done. This book offered me the courage and willpower to step up to the plate and make bold decisions that would affect the success of our future. You may be surprised how this book offers the same ammunition to you.


My first thought was that this book would be a painful read. Will this be a killjoy? I wondered. The title itself instills a sense of traumatic impending doom. But the author’s masterful communication reveals instead a revelatory joy that comes from necessary endings: “In your business and perhaps your life, the tomorrow that you desire and envision may never come to pass if you do not end some things you are doing today.” The age-old theme of life via the passageway of death is another way of articulating this truth. Sacrifices must be made for the greater glory. The author goes on, “In it you will see that endings are a natural part of the universe, and your life and business must face them, stagnate, or die. They are an inherent reality.” The truths in this book are powerful motivations for positive change.


The essence of this book is simple: “Endings are crucial, but we rarely like them. Hence the problem.” And the author suggests that the answer to this conundrum is equally clear: “Some things die and some things need to be killed.” These words may be painful for some readers. I personally found them to be a great relief. To know that others are facing similar difficult decisions gave me courage. The author expounds on his message by saying, “Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.” And finally, this: “To get to the next level and often even to sustain their companies’ current levels of health, business leaders must shut down yesteryear’s good ideas, strategies, or involvements in order to have the resources and focus to take their organizations to tomorrow.”


The author delves deep into the nitty-gritty of how to accomplish a healthy ending. Though painful, such endings can prove to be powerful agents of transformation. “Pruning is a process of proactive endings,” he says. But pruning without purpose can be equally damning. Thus, again, the author delves into the hidden caverns of truth to expose the creativity of healthy conclusions by saying, “we have to have a good definition of what we want the outcome to look like and prune toward that.” He does not linger on the surface of impending friction. Instead, he takes the reader straight to the gritty side of the sandpaper by challenging our presumptions of the “average” life versus the “successful” life. “The pruning moment is that clarity of enlightenment when we become responsible for making the decision to either own the vision or not. If we own it, we have to prune. If we don’t, we have decided to own the other vision, the one we called average. It is a moment of truth that we encounter almost every day in many, many decisions.”


The tone of this book can feel overtly businesslike. But even if you are not smack dab in the middle of the business world in terms of your oncoming ending, you should not be scared off. This book is definitely worth the read. In fact, the author moves seamlessly between the professional and the personal, and the book in its entirety becomes much more palpable to an individual in any kind of setting. The author relates this clearly by saying, “Although this is a book contextualized in business and leadership, the concepts here will apply in every area of your life where you are spending yourself and your resources.”


This book made a tremendous impact on me. I had a major epiphany as I read which led to the healthy removal of certain aspects of our non-profit organization. This challenge by the author struck me: “All of your precious resources—time, energy, talent, passion, money—should only go to the buds of your life or your business that are the best, are fixable and are indispensable.” For, he goes on, “Endings have to be perceived as a normal part of work and life.” I was faced with tough decisions. We all are at times. And “those that have the greatest difficulty abandoning things are often those unable to face reality.” Therefore I was led to make decisions that, though painful, led to greater relief and breakthrough, and even provided a platform for future growth and success. I will leave you with these final words from the author, “Your next step always depends on two ingredients: how well you are maximizing where you are right now and how ready you are to do what is necessary to get to the next place. And sometimes that depends on ending some of what is happening today.”


I give Necessary Endings a 10/10.