Book Review: Trust by Dr. Henry Cloud

By Marshall Eizenga

Dr. Henry Cloud is an acclaimed leadership expert, clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written 45 books, with the Boundaries series probably being the best known. But his latest book entitled Trust may be, in my opinion, his finest or at least one of his most important offerings to date.

The book is almost 300 pages but isn’t weighed down with theory and research that you have to slog through. It’s a practical resource on the importance of trust, and why it’s essential in life, leadership and business.

Over the years Dr. Cloud realized this theme of trust was occurring repeatedly in both his clinical work and in his role as a business coach with CEOs and leadership teams. So, it would be fair to say, Trust has been in the works for decades, quietly taking shape behind the scenes.

As a pastor for over 35 years and now in my role at Focus on the Family Canada, I concur with Dr. Cloud when he writes, “Trust is a key component in every relationship we have.” He goes on to say, “Trust is the fuel for all of life. Nothing in life works without it.”

I think this is one of the reasons why the book resonated so deeply with me. This topic of trust permeates every area of our lives. We want it in our marriage, in our friendships, in our churches, at work and around the board table. Many guests who’ve attended a Kerith Retreat have openly shared about relationships where trust has been broken and they are left wondering how they can rebuild it – or if they even want to try. This book is a timely guide to help them answer those questions.

In this book, Dr. Cloud breaks his material into five sections:

  1. Trust makes life work
  2. The five essentials of trust
  3. Growing in trust
  4. The model for repairing trust
  5. Moving forward

I’ve chosen one or two quotes from each section that were important takeaways for me:

Section 1: Trust makes life work

“We can become better and better at knowing who is trustworthy and who is not. And we can get better at deciding when and with whom we will put ourselves at risk.”

Section 2: The five essentials of trust

“Trust begins not with convincing someone to trust you; it starts with someone feeling that you know them.”

Section 3: Growing in trust

“Remember, trust is the key to life, and the way to have a full life is not only to find trustworthy people, but to be able to enter into relationships with them well.”

“But we do have to acknowledge that sometimes, I cannot trust very well because of my own issues with trust. The great news is that a torn or defective trust muscle can be repaired.”

Section 4: The model for repairing trust

“Trusting again is an open-eyed, informed decision based on good, objective criteria. You will need solid reasons to trust again.”

“When you choose to trust again, begin with little steps.”

Section 5: Moving forward

“Being able to talk about something that bothers us, quickly, keeps problems from growing larger and prevents us from trusting people who are not trustworthy.”

“Learning not to repeat mistakes of misplaced trust is about learning from experience. This is called wisdom.”

Let me add that Dr. Cloud makes it clear that repairing trust is not clean and orderly. As he explains, “[People will] cycle back and forth through these stages in a messy process. At the same time, it is important to not skip steps.” He is also very clear that sometimes when trust is broken you work through the steps to only repair your trust muscle and maybe not to repair the fractured relationship.

In one sentence I think Dr. Cloud’s book can be summed up by its subtitle: “Trust is knowing when to give it, when to withhold it, how to earn it and to fix it when it gets broken in life and business.”

Trust for me will be a handbook that continues to offer both candid truth and hope-filled possibilities.

If you’re one of those people who is making a list of the must-read books in 2024, I highly recommend you put Trust by Dr. Henry Cloud on the top of the list.


Marshall Eizenga is one of the program directors at the Alberta Kerith Retreats location with his wife, Merrie. For more information about our retreats, visit KerithRetreats.ca.

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