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Maximum Willpower: How to master the new science of self-control Paperback – 5 Jan 2012

32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230761550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230761551
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University. As a health educator for the School of Medicine's Health Improvement Program and co-founder of the Stanford Women’s Wellness Network, she has helped thousands of people make healthy choices and manage stress.

More information about her and her work is available at www.kellymcgonigal.com.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D&D TOP 50 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
Formerly called "The Willpower Instinct", in this book McGonigal brings together the newest insights about self-control from psychology, economics, neuroscience and medicine to build willpower. She is a health psychologist at Stanford School of Medicine where she teaches a course called "The Science of Willpower" that quickly became the most popular classes ever offered by Stanford. Course evaluations call the course "life-changing".

The book's 10 chapters reflect her 10-week course, written in an interesting and easy style, without any "academic pompousness":

1. effective willpower - just noticing what's happening is key
2. the willpower instinct - anything that puts a stress on your mind or body can sabotage self-control but too much willpower is stressful
3. self-control is like a muscle - it gets tired from use but regular exercise makes it stronger
4. why being good encourages bad behaviour - we use past good behaviour to justify indulgences
5. why we mistake wanting for happiness - even false promises of reward make us feel alert and captivated, so we chase satisfaction from things that don't deliver
6. how feeling bad leads to giving in - self-compassion is a far better strategy than beating ourselves up
7. we discount both future rewards and future costs - we consistently act against our own long-term interests and we illogically believe our future selves will (magically) have more willpower
8. why willpower is contagious - humans are hardwired to connect and we mimic and mirror both willpower failures and willpower successes of our social network
9. inner acceptance improves outer control - attempts to fight instincts and desires ironically make them worse
10.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By New Thought on 27 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read various books on improving willpower, and this one is truly outstanding! For me personally, the best part is that she focuses on small changes that make a big difference - whereas other books tend ask you to do difficult or time-consuming things - which isn't easy when willpower is in short supply. For a good overview of the content, search youtube for the "authors at Google" talk she did in January 2012.
Edit: I bought the book on 21-Mar-12, and completed the first reading on 03-Jun-12. I intend to read it several more times. I could name at least five other books on the subject, most of which I didn't complete, none of which helped - and neither did keeping a diary for months. This one has helped - my willpower has increased substantially (admittedly from a low base). If you're a weak-willed person who wants stronger willpower, this book can work where all else has failed.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Harriet Yeo on 29 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Never before have I really been aware of the physiological basis of how stress can affect willpower. This book is extremely liberating, realising that you can actually change your physiology to a state where willpower is more accessible is empowering. This book should be ready by every GP, health care professional and those caring for 'troubled' children, in fact everybody! It wont be the answer to everyones troubles, but it may help them get their physiology ready to receive other help.

The only thing not so good about it is its title, it doesn't show just how full of help the contents are!

READ IT! Worth every penny!!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 30 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this as I wanted to have more willpower when it came to food. I found the book very enlightening and it has helped me understand better why I lack willpower! It has given me a few strategies to improve my willpower and as a result I have resisted some temptations and lost weight. What I have found more surprising is that it has affected other areas of my life in that I am not procrastinating as much; I've tidied out my garage, cleaned my kitchen cupboards and sorted out my wardrobe. I'm certainly pleased I bought this book and strongly recommend it. I would have given it 5 stars but found it a bit long winded in parts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rogue Eyebrow on 2 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So glad I bought this. I'm only halfway through but already I've learned lots of good strategies for improving my willpower (or, more accurately, to avoid having to do the right thing by sheer, brute force of will). Well worth the money.

All of her recommendations are based on results from psychology experiments and there are some fascinating, and very counter-intuitive findings.

It's also very engagely and entertainingly written. Glad to give it five stars.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joe Conrad on 17 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so clear and helpful that I have sent copies as gifts to friends with problems from self-esteem to dieting, as well as simple stress. I bought it to tackle my depression, and found it's working in the underlying areas of procrastination and weight control. Because that's one of the important points: you have to look at the problems behind your problems. The author begins by saying there is no magic bullet, but I've now been following the course for six weeks and I have restored relations with an old friend I thought I was losing, tidied my study, and (drum roll) been able to draw my belt in two notches (cymbals, applause).
One thing: you might think (as I did) that the book is padding around what should be a pamphlet. It isn't. I've gone back to revise the first few chapters, and been surprised by how much deeper my understanding is second time and third time around.
I bought this on Kindle, but because you will need to refer back and forth I recommend the paperback.
Finally, this is a long haul: I accept that changing my life for the better can't be done in the few weeks this course takes. When I've finished it I'm going back to the beginning. This book won't change your life, but if you follow it, it will help you to.
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