Book Review – Stop Being Nice, Start Being Real

As part of my Miracle Morning routine, I read a few pages of a self-help or personal development book every morning. It took me a while, but I finished Being Genuine: Stop Being Nice, Start Being Real by Thomas d’Ansembourg this week. Time for a review!

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This book caught my attention because of its title. After all, I think we’ve all been nice to please people we care about and kept our real desires hidden. By reading this, I hoped to learn how to be more affirmative and start being the “real” me.


At the core of this book, Thomas d’Ansembourg praises Nonviolent Communication. He writes that, in our society, we are raised to be ‘nice’, to be ‘good girls’ or ‘good boys’ and to adjust our behavior and our speech to please the adults around us. They can be our parents, our teachers, our coaches, or any adults that surround us. By doing that, Thomas d’Ansembourg says that we learn to keep our wants and needs quiet, which creates frustration. Those frustrations accumulate over time and at some point they inevitably come out… but rarely in a positive way.


In his book, Thomas d’Ansembourg urges us to connect to our inner self, to learn to recognize our feelings and our needs and to express them, in the right way. The nonviolent way.


Once you can identify your feelings and needs, you can communicate them and explain them to whoever you’re having a conversation with. You can then ask them if they agree to whatever it is you’d want, but you need to give them the freedom to disagree.


This is difficult to explain… Let me give you an example!


Let’s say you’re irritated because your teenager didn’t do the dishes, like he’s supposed to do, AGAIN. Instead of raising your voice and starting a fight, Thomas d’Ansembourg would suggest that you say something like this:


“Kiddo, it’s almost 9 and the dishes are still dirty. When I see that you’re not doing your chore, it makes me feel tired and overwhelmed. I feel like I need to do everything around the house and I really need some help. Can you please do the dishes?”


At this point, your teenager has the right to say yes, or no, or that he’ll do it in a few minutes. Or better yet, he can tell you HIS feelings and needs. Maybe you’ll realize that he’s going through something, that he’s stressed about an exam, or something else. Who knows? And hopefully, together, you’ll come to a compromise.


The idea is that by knowing the “why” behind your demands, people become more receptive and a real, meaningful conversation can take place.


Of course, I’m not a mother, so I haven’t tested this method. But the author swears by it and I personally think it can’t hurt to at least try.


Obviously, I do realize that many of our interactions are based on receiving commands and simply doing what we’ve been told to do. But what Thomas d’Ansembourg is asking us is if that makes us happy and if that’s the way we want to keep living. I don’t know about you, but this triggers something in me.



This book really made me think about our society, how it works and how unhealthy it can be. I recognized myself in many of the situations the author talked about. I’m guilty of wanting to please everyone and also of asking other people to do certain things to please me. Plus, it made me realize everything I keep in, even (or especially) if I don’t agree, because I don’t want to rock the boat, particularly at work…


This book is certainly not magical, but I do think I’m more attentive to the way I assert myself now. It’s a work in progress!



This is a psychology essay and let me tell you, it shows. Although there are some concrete examples throughout the book, I would’ve liked more. I have to be honest, it’s a bit of a dry read. That’s probably why it took me more than two months to finish.


Additionally, although reading Being Genuine is a great start, it’s only the first step in implementing Nonviolent Communication in my life. I can already feel that it’s going to take time and probably a lot of exercises to fully grasp the concept. And it will take even longer before I’m able to say with confidence that I’m doing it properly.



  • You struggle with self-affirmation.
  • You have trouble identifying your feelings and your needs.
  • You wish for real, positive and meaningful relationships with those around you.
  • You’re looking for ideas to improve your communication with your spouse, your family, your coworkers, etc.



Are you familiar with Nonviolent Communication? What’s your opinion about it? Do you know other books on the subject? I would love to get recommendations! Comment below, on Facebook or on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe 🙂


Until next time,

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