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One of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists, Roy F. Baumeister, teams with New York Times science writer John Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master it. In Willpower, the pioneering researcher Roy F. Baumeister collaborates with renowned New York Times science writer John Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most co One of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists, Roy F. Baumeister, teams with New York Times science writer John Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master it. In Willpower, the pioneering researcher Roy F. Baumeister collaborates with renowned New York Times science writer John Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted human virtue: self-control.In what became one of the most cited papers in social science literature, Baumeister discovered that willpower actually operates like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered simply by replenishing the brain's store of fuel. That's why eating and sleeping- and especially failing to do either of those-have such dramatic effects on self-control (and why dieters have such a hard time resisting temptation).Baumeister's latest research shows that we typically spend four hours every day resisting temptation. No wonder people around the world rank a lack of self-control as their biggest weakness. Willpower looks to the lives of entrepreneurs, parents, entertainers, and artists-including David Blaine, Eric Clapton, and others-who have flourished by improving their self-control.The lessons from their stories and psychologists' experiments can help anyone. You learn not only how to build willpower but also how to conserve it for crucial moments by setting the right goals and using the best new techniques for monitoring your progress. Once you master these techniques and establish the right habits, willpower gets easier: you'll need less conscious mental energy to avoid temptation. That's neither magic nor empty self-help sloganeering, but rather a solid path to a better life.Combining the best of modern social science with practical wisdom, Baumeister and Tierney here share the definitive compendium of modern lessons in willpower. As our society has moved away from the virtues of thrift and self-denial, it often feels helpless because we face more temptations than ever. But we also have more knowledge and better tools for taking control of our lives. However we define happiness-a close- knit family, a satisfying career, financial security-we won't reach it without mastering self-control....

Title : Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
Author :
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ISBN : 9781594203077
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 291 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Reviews

  • Lee
    2019-03-03 05:36

    Over the summer I read an article about "decision fatigue" in The New York Times, easily one of the most "illuminating" science/behavior-related articles I'd ever read: turned out that my inability to refuse that piece of chocolate, the last slice of pizza, one more beer etc, didn't mean I had "no willpower" as I'd always thought. After reading the article, it was clear that my willpower (and related glucose supply) was consumed by waking up pretty early to write, working as well as I possibly can at work (instead of giving into temptation to slack off most of the day), reading books (often while walking) that require a bit of attention, working on overwritten goodreads reviews, exercising relatively semi-regularly, maintaining sort of a semblance of order at home, emotionally overinvolving myself with the Sixers, Eagles, and Phils, and still conserving a bit of energy to play nice with wifey and the cat. And so, although I can resist a sometimes real strong urge to sleep an extra hour or stop after two miles running etc, I can't possibly resist the bowl of chocolates on my boss's desk, an invitation to enjoy a goblet of fancy ale, and/or the inclination to overwrite long goodreads reviews or order a book that seems real good . . . So, I ordered the related "long-form" hard cover and recently found myself continually exerting willpower to keep myself from reading aloud to the wifey illuminating passages in a book that offers accessible summaries of scientific studies, a bit of self-helpishness, and profiles/interviews of famous related cases (Amanda Palmer, Eric Clapton, David Blaine, Mary Karr, Drew Carey, Henry Morton Stanley) in such a way that, like a good religion, a universalizing explanation filter comes down over the eyes and lets you see pretty much everything afresh. Ordinarily, I wouldn't trust this sort of thing, but I didn't feel like the book sacrificed complexity for the sake of superficial simplification. But then again I was pretty tired as I read a lot of this so maybe my glucose levels were low and my critical willpower therefore depleted?Occasionally, especially toward the end in the bit about childrearing, the book seemed to assume that readers want themselves and their kids to behave like highly effective androids of flesh and bone, but I never found this sense overly off-putting, maybe in part because I'm all about transforming myself into something more like The Terminator in "T2" than The Dude in "The Big Lebowski." Also, it's not solely about unleashing your inner math god -- artistic examples are more frequent than any others. Trollope wrote 2500 words before breakfast: it's easy when you break it down into 250 words every fifteen minutes . . .For a pop science/non-fiction book, it's very readable and, again, seems to illuminate everyone's behavior -- especially my own but also that of co-workers, friends, and maybe even the country as a whole. Basically, everyone's glucose levels have been screwy since the dot-com bubble busted (witness the election and reelection of Bush, the mortgage crisis, the collapse of the economy, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party) and such screwiness depletes one's daily willpower supply . . . even Obama needs the occasional cig. Again, really illuminating, convincing, and thus highly recommended to the few of you out there who've ever broken a resolution, gone off a diet, wanted to be more efficient, organized, productive, healthy, and disciplined through strengthening of the will (if not in a "Triumph of the Will" way).

  • Hdmsisk
    2019-02-23 10:22

    Fascinating book but the introduction is incredibly boring. Things that I learned:Willpower is depleted as it is used even in decision making leaving one with lower willpower. To avoid this:1. Feed the beast ie things won't go well, when low on energy 2. Sugar does not help since it causes surges and crashes3. Eat food that burns slow ie nuts, protein, vegetables, good fats4. When you are sick save your glucose for immune system5. Replenish with sleepBest sign to recognize when low on willpower is that emotions will be heightened. Your reactions will feel extreme.Procrastination is exhausting. Do it or have a plan to do it. Focus on one thing at a time. Make a to do list and monitor it. Make bright lines you won't cross ie I will never drink again.Best way to increase willpower is to develop healthy habits that don't use willpower.Strategies for weight loss willpower:1. If x, then y. If buffet at party, then eat veggies and lean meat.2. Delay strategy ie I'll eat that tomorrow or later works best. Actually get a sense of pleasure in the plan to delay.

  • Parker F
    2019-03-11 13:23

    This book has a few serious flaws. Almost all of the Willpower anecdotes involve B- and C-list actors and musicians. Are Drew Carey, the fat guy from HBO's Arli$$, and that British pop-star whom I've never heard of the best people to exemplify concepts of willpower management? The invocation of fMRI to provide a more solid biological grounding to some of the concepts in will power is trendy and useless. To all readers of pop-psychology books, take note that if an fMRI implicates a brain structure in a process that structure will ALWAYS either be the anterior cingulate or the insula. Does the knowledge that these hip brain areas light up in these processes clarify anything? On a similar note, the term "Ego Depletion" to refer a state in which self-control is low reeks of Freudianism and is annoyingly vague-- even "insular-fatigue" would be preferable.Nonetheless, I think this book will change my life. I am going to start making TO DO lists and eat more snacks when I get that Ego-Depleted feeling. Maybe if I adhered to some of its lessons I would be working on writing my PhD thesis right now instead of writing this stupid review.

  • Emily
    2019-03-04 11:32

    This book reveals counterintuitive research results about willpower, and I'd probably give it five stars (for being "perspective changing") if I hadn't already been brought up with this perspective. This book explores self-control and willpower, as opposed to impulsiveness and the cult of self-esteem. It discusses how willpower is necessary for avoiding all sorts of damaging and distracting temptations that prevent people from being happy, and shows that that willpower can be strengthened. Most of all, it talks about how willpower is finite and can be depleted by having to resist lots of temptations, and can be bolstered with good sleep and healthy food. Dieting, in this account, is a cruel joke in which you deprive yourself of the very food you need... to resist the temptation to eat. One phenomenon that stood out for me was what the authors call "what the hell"--when you break some resolution you've made, you figure you've screwed up for the day, so you blow off the rule entirely. They discuss this in regard to dieting but as someone who recently needed to buy a coat... and a blouse and a dress and a pair of pants, it felt pretty familiar.I've read several other psychology books that try to bring together research and advice on being happier, which I suppose is a bit pointless as I am basically happy to begin with. This is the most successful, both in terms of its recency and the way it manages to draw some conclusions from the research without turning into a self-help book.

  • Megan
    2019-03-17 05:36

    I just re-read this book for our book group on May 22, 2012. It's still great. I was happy for the review--especially about Drew Carey's organizational tips. Also the reminders about not making important decisions when you're depleted. Here's my original review:After a year of successful dieting and weight loss, I suddenly hit a wall where no amount of willpower could see me through. I went through a solid week of inability to control my eating. I had previously prided myself on my great reserves of willpower, and now I couldn't seem to muster it up to save my skin.How could I have so much willpower and then suddenly, none?Enter this incredibly fascinating book, at a time when I wanted to know the science of what willpower was and how I could use it. I learned that we do not have an unlimited supply of willpower; it becomes depleted and we need to be cognizant of this even as we enter situations where we will have to exercise willpower or make a lot of important decisions. I learned to never do those things if you are tired, have low blood sugar, or have already spent a day making a lot of decisions. Other things I learned:One quarter of our waking hours are spent resisting desires. It is no wonder that we experience decision fatigue.Willpower is like a muscle which can be developed. There is an interesting link to religion and willpower. There is a relationship to utilizing willpower in one area of your life and this ability to have other areas of your life improve.New Year's Resolutions are often doomed at the start. Why? Try working on one goal at a time, not more than one for optimal success."The What the Heck" phenomenon which happens when someone takes that first bite of chocolate when they're dieting. Rather than buoying up their reserves and determining not to eat more, they just throw their hands in the air and say, "I've already blown it; I might as well REALLY blow it now.This book is written in the popular Malcolm Gladwell style--each chapter starts with an anecdote of some amazing willpower-filled-person. Then followed up with current behavioral research.While it's not a how-to book, there is plenty of "how to have better willpower" included in this book.I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is fascinating and it teaches you so much about yourself and human behavior. James and I have appreciated having a vocabulary with which to describe events relating to willpower.

  • Saeed
    2019-03-20 10:38

    من چند کتاب راجع به روان شناسی و فلسفه ی عزت نفس خوانده ام. نویسنده درون کتاب توضیح میدهد که وقتی که روان شناسی به سمت مناعت طبع و عزت نفس سوق داده شده است شاید غرور خودپسندی انسان را بدون محدودیت قرار دهد به طوری که اگر او در شرایطی قرار بگیرد که باید بین انتخاب کردن یا نکردن عملی تحریک آمیز قرار بگیرد قادر به کنترل خود نباشد. برای همین موضوعی به اسم خویشتن داری را مطرح میکند و اشاره می کند که اهمیت این موضوع بالاتر از مناعت طبع است. خویشتن داری نیاز به اراده دارد و فکر کنم نویسنده به صورت علمی این موضوع را اثبات کرده است و در این بین نیز این کتاب تجاری را نوشته استدر کل کتاب آن گونه که من انتظار داشتم نبود شاید من خیلی از این کتاب توقع داشتم، و نکته ی جالبی که برای من موقع خواندن کتاب رخ داد این بود که خود کتاب از یک جایی به بعد نیاز زیادی به ویلپاور دارد برای تمام کردنش :)

  • Einar
    2019-02-28 08:13

    This book is marred by the silly and flippant writing style - no doubt an attempt to be "humorous" and to make the material as broadly accessible as possible. In my mind, at least, that attempt is a spectacular failure - I found it to be occasionally embarrassing and painful to read. There's also plenty of what appears to be unsubstantiated conjectures with respect to the causes of some of the reported research findings. The authors seem content whenever they find *some* narrative that could explain the observed behavior - then that must be it, mustn't it? One can only hope that this does not reflect the attitude found in the scientific work to which this book refers. Then at some point, the book gradually grows dissatisfied with merely recounting research findings (badly) and tries to become a self-help book too, suddenly offering advice on how children should be raised (supported by anecdotes about tiger moms from Asia) or how you should go about losing weight. Good grief.

  • Lara
    2019-03-11 05:36

    After three weeks of my children being in school, it's clear that my willpower has been depleted.I know this because I have forgotten about some important things, despite the many reminders and writing them in my new, awesome planner. Because I yelled at all three of my children last night while we were working on homework. Because I have no motivation. Oh, and because I haven't been to the gym since the second day of school.In the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, I learned that what we call willpower is not something I have in unlimited supply. In fact, every single thing for which I must use self-control depletes a little bit of that willpower until it's just plain gone. I read about study after study (and I must say, these authors have a way of making scientific studies entertaining--I loved reading them!) which discovered this fact. Which basically means that it's much easier to focus your willpower on one thing at a time. So go on a diet, get out of debt, or write a novel--just don't try to do all three at once because you're more likely to fail at all of them.I've definitely noticed this in my life. New Year's Resolutions have made me so very angry when I can't seem to muster up the willpower to accomplish more than one of them. It always seemed that one rose to the top and the rest fell off, which I suppose is better than failing at all of them, but it still made me mad.I was doing so well at the whole weight loss thing this past spring/summer until the opera started. Then, suddenly I was faced with memorizing difficult music and the focus of my willpower switched from making myself go to the gym every day and eating right and tracking my food to spending long hours sitting at the piano, going to rehearsals and eating all the licorice people kept leaving in the green room. I made a mediocre effort at my previous weight loss, then went on vacation and am now completely off of the wagon.Since school started, my willpower has been entirely focused on making myself get out of bed at 6:00 every morning (which, for me, requires pretty much my daily supply and does not really bode well in the willpower department for the rest of the day), getting Bria to practice her violin for an hour before 7:00, making lunches, getting everyone looking presentable, and getting us all to the bus on time. I have found myself plopping in front of the computer as soon as I get back from the bus stop instead of going to the gym like I WANT to. I just can't find the wherewithal.Or the willpower.So, enough about me. Let's talk about this amazing book. Like I mentioned before, it's full of fascinating case studies regarding willpower and how it works in our brains. And then it gives practical advice for finding the willpower to do whatever it is you need to do.There is also a great chapter on teaching our children self-control (aka "willpower"), which is excellent. Study after study has shown that willpower/self-control is the single best predictor of how successful a child will be in her adult life. It is something we need to be teaching our children, and we need to especially remember that self-esteem comes from self-control, not the other way around.I was so appalled when, in the introduction, the authors mentioned that there are some scholars who would like to do away with "the outdated notions of free will and responsibility." Say WHAT? No wonder our society has so many problems! And nearly every one of those problems--debt, obesity, crime, divorce, etc.--can be traced back to the lack of self-control.Excellent book. Please read it if you feel you have "weak willpower." You'll love it. And, even better, you'll learn how to strengthen that willpower muscle.As for me? I think I'm going to try to get to the gym before I have to go to work this morning.(How weefy does that sound? Just remember. My willpower is DEPLETED and I'm trying.) Original review found here

  • Nathan
    2019-03-01 11:26

    I picked up this book hoping it would give me some science-based tips for honing my highly-variable willpower. I have learned a lot from this book, but mainly to be careful about what I hope for from a book. "Some science-based tips" is ridiculous. Science is, as a friend recently observed, what is not yet proven false. In particular, the science of the brain and cognition is still in its early days: we have some disconnected "that's interesting" results, some overarching hypotheses, but nothing you'd call a theory in that it has mechanism, explanatory power, and predictive power.Instead, the best we can do is something like this book, where we have a parade of studies and findings which, in isolation, hint at steps you might take, but which altogether are not particularly useful. The key finding, I guess you'd say, is that there appears to be a finite reservoir of resistance in the body and that once you use it up you experience weakened willpower. This reservoir appears related to blood sugar and sleep, but because there's no conclusive theory yet, we don't get the "do THIS and you will have perfect willpower." Instead, we get blood sugar, and rest, and bright line standards for behaviour, and monthly goals, and a mishmash of suggestions, each from its own research finding, but never stitched together into a course of action that looks anything like a programme or plan.The book's lack of certainty on whether it's self-help or science-fact extends to the authorial voice. It's a combination of scientist and journalist, but I got the distinct feeling that the journalist did all the writing. This isn't just because of the breezy sketches of people and their importance (there is usually a motivating approachable example for each chapter, around which the science is draped) but also because of the curious third-person voice employed. I suspect they are fans of "Nudge", whose authors talked about themselves in a sly winking third-voice fashion, almost self-deprecating but never actually leading you to think that the authors were anything but extremely intelligent leading lights of intellectual reason and investigation. It was all very postmodern and novel in "Nudge", but is awkward and intrusive here.For all that, I did get something useful. The thing I hadn't quite appreciated is the difference between habit and conscious action. Conscious action is exhausting, this is the "ego-depletion" that seems to be what we call willpower and which is tied to food and fatigue. But if you make something a habit, through bright-lines ("no alcohol" is easier to habituate than "moderate alcohol") and perhaps physical changes to your environment, then it's no longer so draining to live by. That I can get behind.Despite this, the definitive science-based willpower self-help book is yet to be written. In the meantime, if you're after science or self-help look to the sources that Tom Stafford gave in his fantastic review .

  • Gail Schultz
    2019-03-07 10:15

    For a girl who can easily chew through a book a week without breaking a sweat, this book was a marathon. It took me 3 months to meander my way through all of this somewhat interesting book. I enjoyed reading about the research studies and a few human prodigies (like the amazing David Blaine) but this book proves once again that just because you are a NYTimes bestseller does not mean it is worth the money.After forcing myself through this book with the promise of a really fun book to follow to reward myself, I managed to finish it this evening.Strangely enough the paltry 265 page book was as intimidating a Sumo wrestler. What I got out of it was about the same.1. Set a realistic goal2. self monitor3. give yourself little rewards often and big rewards once in a while4. avoid temptation and if temptation is unavoidable, have a back up plan to distract yourself.5. Delayed gratification is more rewardingWasting $18 & 3 months I can not get back for this "sage" advice based on billions of tax payer dollars in research into the human condition? So not worth it. Interesting if you like research and pschology as I do, but do not expect this book to enlighten you to anything you likely didn't know or to change your life in any way.Now, on to fun book...

  • Book
    2019-02-23 13:38

    Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney"Willpower" is a mildly helpful book on how to harness willpower to make positive changes to ourselves and our society. According to social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and in collaboration with journalist John Tierney, the current research into willpower and self-control is psychology's best hope for contributing to human welfare. The authors provide many case studies of various degrees of interest that illustrate the many facets of willpower. This interesting yet at times unfocused 305-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. Is Willpower More than a Metaphor?, 2. Where does the Power in Willpower come From?, 3. A Brief History of the To-Do List, from God to Drew Carey, 4. Decision Fatigue, 5. Where have all the Dollars Gone?, 6. Can Willpower be Strengthened?, 7. Outsmarting Yourself in the Heart of Darkness, 8. Did a Higher Power Help Eric Clapton and Mary Karr Stop Drinking?, 9. Raising String Children: Self-Esteem versus Self-Control, and 10. The Perfect Storm of Dieting.Positives:1. Accessible prose, a book for the masses.2. An interesting topic, how to improve willpower.3. The book is full of psychological case studies involving willpower and self-control.4. A recurring theme best captured by the following quote, "he observed willpower in the laboratory: how it gives people the strength to persevere, how they lose self-control as their willpower is depleted, how this mental energy is fueled by the glucose in the body's bloodstream. He and his collaborators discovered that willpower, like a muscle, becomes fatigued from overuse but can also be strengthened over the long term through exercise."5. Understanding the importance of self-control. "Poor self-control correlates with just about every kind of individual trauma."6. Ego depletion. "The results showed that ego depletion causes a slowdown in the anterior cingulate cortex, the brain area that's crucial to self-control. As the brain slows down and its error-detection ability deteriorates, people have trouble controlling their reactions. They must struggle to accomplish tasks that would get done much more easily if the ego weren't depleted."7. The impact of stress. "What stress really does, though, is deplete willpower, which diminishes your ability to control those emotions."8. The source behind willpower and interesting findings. "The link between glucose and self-control appeared in studies of people with hypoglycemia, the tendency to have low blood sugar. Researchers noted that hypoglycemics were more likely than the average person to have trouble concentrating and controlling their negative emotions when provoked." In short, no glucose, no willpower.9. An interesting section on PMS. "During this luteal phase, women are more liable to go on drinking binges or abuse cocaine and other drugs. PMS is not a matter of one specific behavior problem cropping up. Instead, self-control seems to fail across the board, letting all sorts of problems increase."10. Steps to improving self-control. "The first step in self-control is to set a clear goal. The technical term researchers use for self-control is self-regulation, and the `regulation' part highlights the importance of a goal."11. How Drew Carey got organized.12. The Zeigarnik effect. "Uncompleted tasks and unmet goals tend to pop into one's mind."13. Find out what decisions deplete the most willpower.14. Interesting discussion on self-awareness and the links to self-control. "The two psychologists came up with a word for these ideas: standards. Self-awareness involves a process of comparing yourself to standards."15. Willpower workouts. "But other exercises do help, as demonstrated by the groups in the experiment that worked on their posture and recorded everything they ate. When they returned to the lab after two weeks, their scores on the self-control tests went up, and the improvement was significantly higher by comparison with a control group."16. Debunks some myths about alcohol. "Contrary to popular stereotype, alcohol doesn't increase your impulse to do stupid or destructive things; instead, it simply removes restraints. It lessens self-control in two ways: by lowering blood glucose and by reducing self-awareness."17. An interesting section on the efficacy of AA programs. "Social support is a peculiar force and can operate in two different ways. Plenty of research suggests that being alone in the world is stressful. Loners and lonely people tend to have more of just about every kind of mental and physical illness than people who live in rich social networks."18. Tips on raising children and a look at cultural differences. "Delayed gratification has been a familiar theme in the homes of immigrants like Jae and Dae Kim, who were born in South Korea and raised two daughters in North Carolina. The sisters, Soo and Jane, became a surgeon and a lawyer, respectively, as well as the coauthors of Top of the Class, a book about Asian parents' techniques for fostering achievement."19. Dieting and willpower. "That's what we call the Oprah Paradox: Even people with excellent self-control can have a hard time consistently controlling their weight. They can use their willpower to thrive in many ways--at school and work, in personal relationships, in their inner emotional lives--but they're not that much more successful than other people at staying slim."20. An excellent final chapter that summarizes the many findings of the book.Negatives:1. The authors give too much credit to religion for improving wellbeing. I can make a very strong case to cite the opposite as being the case. The most secular countries by and large offer the highest quality of life. I suggest you read "Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment" by Phil Zuckerman.2. Psychology always seems to border on pseudoscience. Some research comes across as weak and lacking scientific vigor. Neuroscience is an infant field and promising field but we must be careful to avoid reaching "strong" conclusions from tenuous research.3. The book is so research heavy that it forgets to engage the reader.4. The book contains a notes section but it fails to use the link capability of the Kindle. Argh.5. The parts are better than the whole. Some case studies are better than others but it doesn't translate necessarily to improving the whole product.6. Not much on contradictory research. Too convenient and one-sided.7. What is the scientific consensus on the case studies presented?8. Not as much of a page turner as I'd hoped for.In summary, this book could have been much better. Willpower is a fascinating topic but I felt the authors didn't engage enough with the readers to make this a better reading experience. I also felt that the book lacked scientific rigor. What is the scientific consensus? What do the contrarians say? Some of the case studies are in fact very interesting and there appears to be some good research and helpful advice. Willpower is worth reading with the reservations noted.Further recommendations: "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg, "The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It" by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D., "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, "Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work" and "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath, "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't" by Jeffrey Pfeffer, "Outliers" and "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, "Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success" by Rick Newman, and "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink.

  • Daniel Ionson
    2019-03-12 10:37

    I'm combining the reviews for both the Baumeister/Tierney and McGonigal books into one because they are so similar (and both even reference each other).These were both important books for me. I detest "self-help" books for their fluff, but (like the rest of us) need external help to evolve. So, these were the perfect mix of reliable, empirical data and practical application for the strengthening of my own willpower.(I've pasted this from my website, which focuses on writers, but the principles apply to all.)----------------------------It’s because we have to live with ourselves, day-in/day-out, month following month, year stacking on year, that we cannot see our potential. We all feel that we “know ourselves”—our habits, our patterns, moods. But we’re wrong about a great number of things. Being so buried in our subjectivity, we cannot see that so many of the things we don’t like about ourselves/our lives are changeable.A core, governing element of changing is Willpower.The quickie-version: Willpower is not a static limitation; it is a muscle that we can build. We can become, with time, people with strong wills, people who are highly disciplined. And this means that we can become vastly superior artists (either in word, canvas, etc.) than we have been in the past.We are a species of habit—we have our routines, our thought patterns, eating patterns, on and on. We are reticent to go against the grain. If you come home each day, grab a beer and plop down in front of the TV, that habit has engrained itself in your brain to the point that doing something different is hard. And we can see this at work in any scenario where we have to deviate from our normal patterns. (This is one reason that holiday traveling is so exhausting.)The willpower muscle builds just like all other muscles—by exercising it. By forcing ourselves, little-by-little, to choose to do things that are new/hard, our willpower gets stronger.Here are a few highlights for developing willpower (based on Baumeister and McGonigal)-Take inventory of your habits and practices. (Observe how you spend your time “coasting by” in mindless bad habits.)-Start small. Don’t think that you can suddenly live the idealized, disciplined life, overnight.-Make lists. Write out both long-term and short-term goals for making the changes you want.-Willpower, like all muscles, gets tired when overused. Your willpower is weakest at the end of the day or at the end of situations which are taxing.-Therefore, don’t overstress your willpower. (Don’t depend on it at 11 pm to get you through a hard choice requiring discipline.)-Need some willpower right this minute? Eat some sugar. No joke. Glucose is shown to boost your willpower. (Yes, it’s ironic since most people think of willpower often in relation to avoiding sugar.)-Stress (negative stress as opposed to positive stress) and guilt are horrible for willpower. Don’t put unrealistic burdens on yourself, and never beat yourself up for your shortcomings. (And think about the vicious cycle this causes: You’re stressed because you need to get that chapter written. The stress slows you down. Then you feel guilty for failing at doing your writing, so you beat yourself up. It builds like an avalanche of failure.)This is a massive boon for the writer, for once we internalize the reality of our volition, we can shape new lives for ourselves that make us better and more productive. Nothing in our lives is truly compartmentalized (“Everything is everything…”). By becoming disciplined writers we can shape the elements in our lives that allow us to devote our energy to our craft. Writing is taxing. The emotional and mental energy that goes into it is heavy. But we can develop strength to match it. For example, we can structure our lives to minimize distractions. By taking care of business elsewhere, we can free up long chunks of time where we’re free to do nothing but writing. (And see this for more on being a disciplined artist.)We often feel like we’re merely passengers on the canoes of our lives, gliding with the current of this and that stream (our habits). But if we concentrate, if we focus our attention on our volitional power, we can see that we are not trapped. We can choose to grow and exert our wills. We need not just "float along." We can row with ever strengthening arms and backs.

  • Meredith
    2019-02-17 09:15

    I thought I would really enjoy this book as I've read books by a scientist that gave this book a positive review. Unfortunately this book mostly frustrated me for its reliance on weak, anecdotal examples of "willpower" and "ego depletion". Instead of describing complex phenomena and scientific concepts in a way the layman could comprehend (which has been done numerous times by many talented authors), Tierney & Baumeister describe willpower using a seemingly random compilation of personal accounts and perceptions of willpower from non-scientists (WTF?). The authors continued to waste beautiful page space talking about how to eat well and how good nutrition helps one think clearly (and thus revitalize willpower and replenish the ego). Considering this is advice probably all people reading the book will already know...I just got angry with the authors for failing to add anything substantive to the burgeoning plethora of scientific writing literature. (Plus I just don't think that people who have degrees in psychology and presumably english literature/journalism should be doling out nutritional advice to the masses and dodge the topic they're supposed to be writing about.)The authors continue their descriptions of willpower by having numerous pages devoted to topics including the pros of parenting like an Asian "Tiger Mom", and how women just have their willpower go down the tube with PMS. And when it's not referencing such nebulous topics, it is self-referential to a fault, lacking balance and the viewpoints of others in the psychology and neuroscience communities. The whole book reads like it was conceived at a cocktail party in NYC. Unfortunately I don't believe the average American is well-versed enough in science to grasp what scenarios are appropriate to make wide-sweeping conclusions from. If you want to read engaging scientific writing on psychology and neuroscience that is original, read Oliver Sacks. This is the most disappointing modern psychology/pop-psyschology book I've read.

  • Josh Friedlander
    2019-03-08 09:36

    Like most pop-psych books, a little too inspirational and feel-good for my taste. But this book has some extraordinary factual claims: willpower, long ignored by social scientists (who preferred to attribute achievements to environmental factors), is something like a muscle, which can be carefully managed or tired out, as well as trained. The authors survey people with great willpower (recovering addicts, endurance artists, Victorian explorers) and discuss ways to understand and improve your chances in your inner struggles. Particularly fascinating is the role of religion, a kind of "outsourcing" of willpower which was the most effective way of achieving it, and its contemporary absence has made it harder for people to force themselves to achieve their goals. (Consider the mysterious belief-mandatory success of AA - which still puzzles psychologists - familiar to readers ofInfinite Jest.) The authors also caution against dieting, which makes us fight our most basic desire, hunger, a fight we are evolutionarily guaranteed to lose. Instead they recommend trade-offs, delaying gratification by promising ourselves we will eat more if we wait a few hours.I'm not a harangued professional struggling to cope with emails, but I do have my own willpower struggles -Death in Venice or check my Twitter feed? - so I'll be happy if I am even a little successful in implementing this book's suggestions. At any rate, understanding how we make decisions is the only way of improving their efficacy.

  • Melody
    2019-03-01 06:38

    The essay based on this book ( is SO interesting (says the woman who read the essay when she couldn't get up the willpower to keep writing her intro AP lecture). At least that essay, if not this book, is definitely worth a read.

  • Mohammad Kamelan
    2019-03-18 05:09

    کاملا مشخص هست که نویسنده دانش خوبی در زمینه تقویت اراده دارد.کاری که انجامش خیلی هم آسان نیست.شیوه‌های کاربری هم در این ارائه داده که انجامشون خالی از لطف نیست.فصل آخر کتاب هم به خوبی مطالب رو جمع‌بندی کرده، در نتیجه اگه حوصله خوندن تمام کتاب رو ندارید، فصل آخرش دورنمای کلی از مطالب کتاب در اختیارتون قرار می‌ده.

  • Richard
    2019-03-12 09:23

    Quite a few months ago I learned the term “decision fatigue,” and then I noticed it in action a few days later. I play boardgames quite often, and prefer strategic games. I was in the middle of a tough game, playing in a coffee shop, and during a break I ordered a slice of cake for a snack. Which is strange, because I’m usually very, very good at not going for those sweet treats. It immediately occurred to me that this was an instance of this new-fangled cognate.Even though I’ve read quite a few PopCog books, I haven’t hit one yet that details it, but as I understand, the idea is simply that the brain has a limited amount of activity to allocate between different tasks. If the highest priority is thinking hard about one’s next move in Hansa Tuetonica, then the subconscious motivation to avoid temptation will receive less activity, and one is more likely to indulge.This is one of the many complexities that affects our “willpower,” a distinctly old-fashioned term that is getting some well-deserved scrutiny.This new book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, seems well conceived. It’s written by a top social psychologist, Roy F. Baumeister, along with New York Times science writer John Tierney. I’m a bit frustrated that I still haven’t gotten around to studying the previous Baumeister book on my to-be-read shelf, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty.The New York Times review of Willpower, “The Sugary Secret of Self-Control” is authored by none other than Steven Pinker. He approves.John Tierney wrote a fairly lengthy essay in the New York Times Magazine on this topic, “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?”­

  • Barb
    2019-03-03 05:34

    Having read Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty by Baumeister and Beck (1999) many years ago, I expected this book to be heavy on research. It is -- although Willpower is much more readable, using simple language and celebrity anecdotes to capture and hold the reader's attention. For those who want more science and less self-help-happy talk, there are plenty of references to check out. For those who want more step-by-step guidance, perhaps other self-help books in the workbook style should be sought.However, if you are a reader from perhaps sixth to eighth grade on up, this book provides access to the research being conducted in the field of self-control/willpower. While the authors offer thoughts on how the research might be used to strengthen one's own self-control and change one's life, the overwhelming tone of the book is that self-control, as a concept, is relevant to modern life. Much of the content illustrates where and how self-control, or lack thereof, underlies a variety of situations faced by people today.A crucial point the authors make is that self-control, unlike IQ, can be changed and manipulated. Once readers understand this, they can decide for themselves how best to use the information both in their own lives and in the way they judge and interact with others. Definitely a self-help book along the lines of Learned Optimism (Seligman, 2006), Why Marriages Succeed Or Fail (Gottman, 1995), Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1991), and Mindfulness (Langer, 1990) which share the research so that non-scientists can broaden their understanding of psychological phenomena in their daily lives.

  • Stuardo Berti
    2019-02-28 09:09

    First thing first.If you are reading this book ebook style, beware that the last 20% are bibliographies. The book is shorter than what it seems.The book is an interesting read. I guess it can divided in three parts. First glucose and its effect on willpowerSecond self-control guides, tips, and examplesThird Conclusions and applications Regarding the read. The first 25% where a fast read, the second 25% was a bit of a struggle, the third 25% was fast and the last was a breeze. If you are looking to get things out of the book, you probably have to read it all the way through. Towards the end the book helps you deal with self control and willpower proactively, which I suppose is the climax and usefulness of this thesis.I did not enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed how much it made me think. It really got the squirrels in my head introspecting, evaluating, comparing, measuring and basically trying fit the reading in useful and practical ways, which to my surprise where many.I did not give it 5 stars because I think the read could have been more interesting, but the benefits obtained from this book more than make up for it. I hope these comments where useful to potential readers and have reads, let me know.

  • Omar Alarifi
    2019-02-20 13:27

    من أفضل الكتب التي قرأتها، مكتوب بعناية وعلى أساس علمي مبني على أبحاث علمية. أنصح بقراءته

  • David
    2019-03-17 11:26

    This is truly a book whose parts are worth more than their whole - and that's okay! It's kinda like reading a whole bunch of really interesting magazine articles in a row, or getting trapped into a late night of surfing Wikipedia.Willpower offers a very interesting way to think about your capacity to do things - particularly things you don't want to do. The idea that there is a finite reserve of willpower actually explains a lot of my habits better than I would have expected. Best of all, merely being aware of this fact seems to have immediate advantages in real life.To some degree, a lot of what is in Willpower feels like common sense. I think we're all aware of the fatiguing effects of making decisions or of completing tasks we don't want to do. But it is interesting to learn that these gut feelings are fully supported by scientific study. And even more interesting to learn that these types of energy-draining tasks all pull from the same pool of willpower.I might have been smart enough to know better than to attempt a diet and a heavy overtime work schedule at the same time. But I would not have known exactly why this would be doomed to fail. Nor would I have known to also avoid making big decisions about various aspects of my life while under that same schedule. I certainly wouldn't have known that allowing the glucose level in my body would have immediate detrimental effects on my ability to complete any of those tasks.Speaking of dieting, Willpower certainly sets itself apart from most writings on the subject by essentially stating that diets are more-or-less impossible. It's not completely bleak, but the book only offers a few things you might try without making any promises that any of them will work. It's refreshing, I suppose, but certainly unusual in the field of self improvement!In fact, I suppose that's another way to look at Willpower as a whole. It presents an array of very interesting scientific studies relating to Willpower, gives examples, and then offers ways you might use the results of the study to increase your storehouse of willpower or simply use what you have wisely. There's a summary of these suggestions at the end of the book, but Baumeister never oversimplifies them. It's up to you to use as many of these ideas as you would like.This may be a book I re-read a few years from now in order to refresh my memory. I feel as though I have already begun to use my own willpower more effectively and am also working to improve it using a couple of the techniques suggested. I highly recommend it!

  • Jacob
    2019-03-09 11:39

    For a psychology book this is more readable and easier to enjoy than most (more like Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business than more academic works). The parts from the book relating to the Stanford marshmallow experiments have permeated our culture, and I read it in part because I find it fascinating that self-discipline is the ONLY measurable childhood quality that has ANY correlation with how people turn out as adults. The other part was because my wife insisted I read it after she did and liked it so much.So, besides the marshmallow experiment, what's in here for you? There are plenty of bits of advice for maintaining your willpower longer, or setting things up so you don't have to use your willpower on things you can predict in advance. Most of that advice can also be found in the two books I referenced earlier. However, the authors' advice not to diet is new to me; apparently diets are one of the things that is least impacted by willpower, and once you go on a serious diet it can really mess up your body's self-regulation when it comes to food.Other than that, I was interested to read about how self-discipline / willpower, which I am a fan of and was such a big deal in the Victorian era, got panned by psychogists and presumed not to really exist for so long that psychologists didn't even argue against it anymore. Much of the history of Henry Morton Stanley (author of the line "Dr. Livingstone, I presume") is recounted as a paragon of willpower, and his life is an example of how the public perception can be so different from underlying reality. In addition, there are lots of descriptions of various kinds of experiments to measure and test willpower. I didn't know that the Stroop effect, where people reciting the colors of words slow down and screw up when the words spell a different color than the color of the letters, was actually used to identify Russian spies in U.S. government (people who claimed not to know Russian but actually did were slower to recite colored Russian words)!

  • Clara
    2019-02-19 09:23

    Baumeister & Tierney's take on willpower is insightful and compelling, particularly with regard to the mechanisms by which religion serves to improve self-control. An irony I failed to appreciate until recently is that while the discourse of some organized religion purports to promote a "good outcome" after death, religious individuals in fact experience greater satisfaction (on the whole, compared with non-religious individuals) while living, because of the benefits of continual self-monitoring.As a new parent, I was very interested in how the authors addressed the development of willpower over the lifespan. I was impressed with discussion of adolescence ("The problem with adolescents -- from the parents' point of view -- is that they have a child's power of self-control presiding over an adult's wants and urges") but the discussion of infancy and self control struck me as quite short-sighted. The authors described how "Ferberization" (allowing a baby to cry itself to sleep without comforting him or her) teaches self-control (the ability to "self-soothe") but the authors completely failed to overlook the developmental timecourse of any sort of executive function in this discussion: an infant has no more sense of his needs being met in the future, than the primate who never learns to save food for the future; and while an infant's neural hardware supporting emotional responses (e.g. amygdala) are quite developed, his frontal cortex and hippocampi are very poorly developed during infancy (indeed, our frontal cortices don't fully develop until our mid to late twenties). The result is that an infant left to "cry it out" goes quiet from sheer exhaustion, not from learning self-control; and meanwhile a person whose basic emotional needs are not met during infancy may continue on to have emotional pathologies throughout the lifespan. In fairness to the authors, however, I don't think they specified when (during development) "Ferberization" can be used to teach self-control. If a toddler is still unable to put himself to sleep, it might be a valid approach, from the point of view that a toddler, but not an infant, has some capacity for self-control.

  • Jason
    2019-03-03 10:20

    Willpower was a great change from my normal reading. I have long had a fascination with the topics of motivation and self-control. I usually gravitate toward action-oriented self-help books. This work focuses on summarizing the psychological research related to willpower. It was refreshing to hear the research findings to try to glean my own motivation tactics rather than relying on the already-formulated tactics of gurus that don't work universally. It specifically details the work of Baumeister's theory of ego depletion.Ego depletion roughly says that everyone has a limited pool of self-control that people use to make all decisions in their lives. As people exert their will, that pool is depleted and decisions become more difficult to make and maintain. The depleted fuel (measured indirectly) is glucose and one of the central topics of the book becomes obvious.Many of the studies that Willpower discusses are related to the control of diet. A key taking from the book is that one surefire way to restore one's willpower is to ensure adequate sugar. However, "adequate" sugar is the enemy of dieters, who are constantly challenged to decide against bad food choices. The conflict then becomes that restoring willpower directly and negatively impacts one's ability to exert self-control. But it at least explains why diet, addiction, etc. are such challenges.Among the reading are a number of general hints that could certainly be implementable. I'd like to revisit this book later to look them over once I've digested some of the other information.

  • SharinaMS
    2019-03-15 10:37

    This book is packed with experiments on human behaviour concerning self control and it's effects to human will power. what is interesting is some of the experiments conducted by the authors are continuation from experiments conducted in 1950s or earlier; to validate or challenge old theories. some of the theories, despite concluded in 1950s, are still valid, while some are challenged and improvised. The authors also tracked the progress of the previous experiment subjects to conclude their current findings.This book can be a dry reading for those who cant stand reading countless experiments methodology, results and conclusions. However, it offers practical solution for personal issues; through strengthened self control and therefore, will power.Some enlightening facts: -ppl with strong self control is not selfish ppl, they always think of others before themselves, highly disciplined, choose delayed gratification over immediate reward, consistent with his/her daily routine no matter what. -self control can be muscled and it's the only indispensable way to be successful in what we do.-self esteem can lead to narcissism, and not necessarily the main factor to be successful- self control is more necessary if parents want to raise strong children, do not focus too much on self-esteem. self control skills can be taught as early as 1 year old - "the tools of the mind" gamethe authors suggest an antidote for procrastination: The Do-Nothing Alternative. Gonna give it a try...

  • Claudia Putnam
    2019-02-18 08:27

    Would have benefitted from a stronger summary at the end...I'd like to have gone back and taken notes on each section, but I didn't have the discipline. I might end up buying this. I've always wondered why I have such strong drive but so little self control... turns out willpower is easily depleted. At any given time we are all using about a quarter of our willpower resisting temptation. Usually food and sex. One implication, not really stated here but easily inferred is that driven people--you know, cranky type As--are more prone to losing their tempers because they are using so much willpower to focus on achievement and are likely to have less patience when they are interrupted or when their focus is broken in some way, or when they come home at the end of the day. They have blown their wad, so to speak.There are ways to change this, discussed in the book. The authors also discuss how easy it is to deplete willpower if you are under stress, sleep-deprived, experiencing a sugar crash, etc. It also follows that if you are managing pain, or have a mood disorder, etc, you will have a harder time. In other words, willpower is a fragile thing and it takes quite a bit of effort and planning ahead to protect it and manage it well. I think I probably will buy this book--and also explore the Get to Done stuff.

  • Leslie
    2019-03-15 13:12

    This book contains a lot of really good information! I was pleased to learn that I already do many of the things the authors recommend, and I have started doing a few other things they recommend since having read this book. Not to toot my own horn or anything; this book helped me understand why I have great self-control in some areas and not so much in others, or why I can exercise a good deal of willpower at some times and not at others. It can help you understand this phenomenon, too!Overall this was a very interesting read and I especially enjoyed the section in the middle discussing Henry Morton Stanley and his experiences in Africa. Truly he makes for a wonderful case study in self-control. I wish I felt like I had time to read his most-recent biography.There were some things about this book that bugged me but I won’t elaborate on those here. They probably won’t bug most people and I don’t feel like being critical. Plus the information is good enough that I am mostly willing to overlook them. I will just mention one study cited where a “researcher” (whom I believe was a friend or colleague of the authors) invited young trick-or-treaters not only into his home but also into a “special room” to conduct his study (!)

  • Annie
    2019-02-19 07:20

    I picked up this book as a way to increase my willpower for training for a marathon. Indeed, it did help - in very specific ways - train my mind to overcome the "wall" that I would encounter on my long runs. More than this, it helped me become more productive and organized in my daily routines, specifically as a mother and a graduate student. I have taken the practical and very applicable advice from this book and put it to work in my life, and noticed results almost immediately. What we think we can't do is not all in our mind, but it lies within the actions and routines that we create for ourselves. Everyone gets beat down, everyone gets burned out, but the advice from Baumeister allows us to recognize how and why that happens, and offers specific ideas on how to deal with those incidents, and then turn them around. I applaud the author's use of peer-reviewed journal articles to summarize what scientists have learned in the past decade or so; he uses these studies and wrote them up as a review "paper" that us non-psychologists can understand and relate to our own lives. Way to stay objective and give great advice.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-13 08:30

    I saw the man who wrote this book in Youtube. I liked his talk. One day at a bookstore, I just saw this book. I didn't plan of buying it but I bought it right away (I'm an impulsive buyer of books and perhaps I need self-control.) This book is terrific. It's not like any of those inspirational and motivational books that get a little tiresome in the middle. This book is based on several research done in the past, in his laboratory, and in other parts of the world. He is a scientist and I like how the facts and points were presented. The book explains some of human tendencies to just let go and lose control as well as the strategies to self-control. I totally agree with all points presented. For instance; willpower can be depleted and needs to be replenished (with glucose & rest), willpower is like a muscle that grows stronger when you exercise it, self-esteem is only the result of an achievement and achievement is possible with self-control, having self-esteem does not necessarily mean a child will be successful. As a matter of fact, it is quite opposite. Self-control should be above self-esteem. This guy is doing something really good in this world.

  • Wade
    2019-02-18 08:10

    This has become one of those life defining books for me. I read it at a time when I was constantly on the edge of total burnout. This book helped me start to think strategically about the energy that I exert on various projects and tasks.The writers demonstrate how the energy exerted to go to the gym is the same energy that we use to avoid fast food, to read a book, or go to work. They talk about very specific strategies for conserving your energy and willpower. They talk about ways to increase your willpower's strength. It turns out it can be exercised like any other muscle. They couch all of this important information with real life stories that illustrate how these principles work in real peoples' lives. The book is written by a psychologist and a journalist, each adding his own value to the work. It's one of my most personal favorite books, a slice of information that I will be referencing the rest of my life.