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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
The premise of this book is that willpower, or self control as the authors alternatively describe it, correlates closely to what would be defined as success or positive outcomes in an individual's life. This style of this book is that it is written in a text book type presentation. Initially willpower is considered in a historical context and then following chapters consider various aspects such as the `to do' list and decision fatigue which could otherwise be described as decision overload.`

As befits what is really quite an academically inclined book, there is a lot of discussion of the various theories and studies which have taken place. These are validated with no less than 16 pages of references to the source material at the end of the book. The final chapter includes a summary of the main lessons learned which is a useful recap for the reader.

Anyone looking for a self help book is probably going to be disappointed. The presentation does not highlight key issues in an easily digestible list form, and there is little in the way of exercises or tests which you would normally find in a self help type manual. There are, however, plenty of examples to consider. Personally I found it the sort of book where I thought it was most useful to zero in on what I considered the most interesting parts rather than reading it cover to cover in the way one would with a novel.

So to summarise, I thought this was an interesting and thought provoking academic consideration of the issue of willpower. I do not find it surprising that at least one of the authors is an academic who has written a number of text books. Potential readers need to be aware that this is really a much drier presentation of the subject than perhaps is suggested by the title but none the less a worthy study.
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on April 6, 2013
Some principles about willpower and how it can help one's life are presented along with easy-to-understand research evidence. They are also tied in with real-life examples which I also found helpful.

What I didn't find so helpful was the last chapter. I felt the author could have done a better job in how one could go about applying these principles.

All in all though, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who are looking to improve their life and productivity.
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When during the day do judges grant the most paroles? Who reports their eating habits more accurately, dieters or non-dieters? How does someone train to hold his breath for 17 minutes (and why would anyone want to)? What defines self-control? In the fascinating and relevant "Willpower," psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and New York Times science columnist John Tierney elucidate new research on fighting seemingly uncontrollable urges.

Together with intelligence, self-control emerges as the best predictor of a successful and satisfying life. But the authors neither advocate for resisting temptation by sheer force of will nor condemn those who give in as morally irresolute. Rather, they explain that willpower consists of circuitry in the brain that runs on glucose, has a limited capacity and operates by rules that scientists can reverse-engineer, thus compensating for its shortcomings. Examining case studies such as Eric Clapton, a former drug and alcohol abuser, and Oprah Winfrey, the quintessential yo-yo dieter, and citing numerous laboratory experiments, "Willpower" offers a plethora of advice: don't try to tame more than one bad habit at a time, watch for symptoms of "ego fatigue," don't diet, block out temptation as much as possible.

The authors largely appeal to evolutionary biology to explain their findings; neuroscience and economics take a back seat to human interest. Thus, the book contains no discussion of elements such as likelihood of success, temporality and evolutionary impact, which all affect goal-setting and the degree of gratification following achievement of said goals. Nevertheless, "Willpower" provides a rewarding read filled with insightful reflections on the human condition.
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on October 19, 2014
Good easy to read and good tips for everyday usage
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on October 19, 2011
Interesting read, covering a large area of research, but perhaps a little less deep than I was hoping to see.
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on July 6, 2015
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