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Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength [Kindle Edition]

Roy F. Baumeister , John Tierney
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Can you resist everything except temptation? In a hedonistic age full of distractions, it's hard to possess willpower - or in fact even understand why we should need it. Yet it's actually the most important factor in achieving success and a happy life, shown to be more significant than money, looks, background or intelligence. This book reveals the secrets of self-control.



For years the old-fashioned, even Victorian, value of willpower has been disparaged by psychologists who argued that we're largely driven by unconscious forces beyond our control. Here Roy Baumeister, one of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists, and journalist John Tierney, turn this notion on its head. They show us that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. The latest laboratory work shows that self-control has a physical basis to it and so is dramatically affected by simple things such as eating and sleeping - to the extent that a life-changing decision may go in different directions depending on whether it's made before or after lunch. You will discover how babies can be taught willpower, the joys of the to-don't list, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, the pointlessness of diets and the secrets to David Blaine's stunts. There are also fascinating personal stories, from explorers, students, soldiers, ex-addicts and parents.



Based on years of psychological research and filled with practical advice, this book will teach you how to gain from self-control without pain, and discover the very real power in willpower. The results are nothing short of life-changing.


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Review

Willpower (the thing) lies at the curious intersection of science and behavior. Willpower (the book) lies at the intersection of Roy Baumeister, an extraordinarily creative scientist, and John Tierney, a phenomenally perceptive journalist. Ignore it at your peril (Stephen J. Dubner, Coauthor Of 'freakonomics' And 'superfreakonomics' )

[An] instant classic...[Willpower shows how]...recent research can help people lead better lives - be better parents, stay organized, and lose weight more wisely...[A] brilliant book (Jamie Holmes Daily Beast )

An immensely rewarding book, filled with ingenious research, wise advice and insightful reflections on the human condition (Steven Pinker New York Times Book Review )

An accessible, empirically grounded guide to willpower and how best to deploy it to overcome temptation...Should one need a more practical sales pitch for the importance of willpower, Messrs. Baumeister and Tierney point to ... its over-riding importance for academic, personal, career and financial success... Willpower offers no shortage of helpful strategies to compensate for weakness of will (Cordelia Fine Wall Street Journal )

Willpower affects almost every aspect of our lives...Tierney and Baumeister have given us a wonderful book in which they not only share fascinating research on the subject but also provide simple tricks to help us tap into this important quality (Dan Ariely, Duke University, Author Of 'predictably Irrational' )

Willpower is sinfully delicious -- once you start reading, you won't be able to stop. A fascinating account of the exciting new science of self-control (Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University, Author Of 'stumbling On Happiness' )

As wonderfully entertaining as it is enlightening! Tierney and Baumeister have produced a highly intelligent work full of fascinating information (and great advice) about a core element of modern living. Bravo (David Allen, Author Of 'getting Things Done And Making It All Work' )

This little masterpiece is a must read for all of us who want to exercise, diet, manage our time, be thrifty, and resist temptation (Martin Seligman, University Of Pennsylvania, Former President Of American Psychological Association, Author Of 'authentic Happiness And Flourish' )

This is a manual from heaven for anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, work more efficiently and more intelligently. An astonishingly good -- and accessible -- inquiry into one of the more elusive areas of human psychology (Christopher Buckley, Author 'thank You For Smoking' And 'losing Mum And Pup' )

Deep and provocative analysis of people's battle with temptation and masterful insights into understanding willpower: why we have it, why we don't, and how to build it. A terrific read (Ravi Dhar, Yale School Of Management, Director Of Center For Customer Insights )

A Guardian 2012 Literary Highlight (Guardian )

Willpower rather than self-esteem is the essential ingredient for a successful life...The good news, according to the authors, is that willpower, unlike intelligence, is a muscle that can be exercised and encouraged to grow...The book's success in America underlines its timeliness...I suspect that all the politicians currently talking about "alarm-clock Britain" will be studying this book closely...people could benefit from reading this book (Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times )

Review

Willpower (the thing) lies at the curious intersection of science and behavior. Willpower (the book) lies at the intersection of Roy Baumeister, an extraordinarily creative scientist, and John Tierney, a phenomenally perceptive journalist. Ignore it at your peril -- Stephen J. Dubner, Coauthor Of 'freakonomics' And 'superfreakonomics' [An] instant classic...[Willpower shows how]...recent research can help people lead better lives - be better parents, stay organized, and lose weight more wisely...[A] brilliant book -- Jamie Holmes Daily Beast An immensely rewarding book, filled with ingenious research, wise advice and insightful reflections on the human condition -- Steven Pinker New York Times Book Review An accessible, empirically grounded guide to willpower and how best to deploy it to overcome temptation...Should one need a more practical sales pitch for the importance of willpower, Messrs. Baumeister and Tierney point to ... its over-riding importance for academic, personal, career and financial success... Willpower offers no shortage of helpful strategies to compensate for weakness of will -- Cordelia Fine Wall Street Journal Willpower affects almost every aspect of our lives...Tierney and Baumeister have given us a wonderful book in which they not only share fascinating research on the subject but also provide simple tricks to help us tap into this important quality -- Dan Ariely, Duke University, Author Of 'predictably Irrational' Willpower is sinfully delicious -- once you start reading, you won't be able to stop. A fascinating account of the exciting new science of self-control -- Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University, Author Of 'stumbling On Happiness' As wonderfully entertaining as it is enlightening! Tierney and Baumeister have produced a highly intelligent work full of fascinating information (and great advice) about a core element of modern living. Bravo -- David Allen, Author Of 'getting Things Done And Making It All Work' This little masterpiece is a must read for all of us who want to exercise, diet, manage our time, be thrifty, and resist temptation -- Martin Seligman, University Of Pennsylvania, Former President Of American Psychological Association, Author Of 'authentic Happiness And Flourish' This is a manual from heaven for anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, work more efficiently and more intelligently. An astonishingly good -- and accessible -- inquiry into one of the more elusive areas of human psychology -- Christopher Buckley, Author 'thank You For Smoking' And 'losing Mum And Pup' Deep and provocative analysis of people's battle with temptation and masterful insights into understanding willpower: why we have it, why we don't, and how to build it. A terrific read -- Ravi Dhar, Yale School Of Management, Director Of Center For Customer Insights

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 925 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (13 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TIVK7A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,200 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 21 Feb. 2013
By M. Hadfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really wanted to know about willpower. In my work as a therapist I often find that willpower is something elusive that frequently fails to support us in getting what we really want.

What I discovered in this book was absolutely fascinating.

One of the most amazing things this book revealed to me was that willpower is very much like physical energy. When you do a lot of work your muscles get tired. When you make a lot of decisions your willpower decreases. So if, say, you were trying to lose weight, then what happens is that the more times you resist a piece of tempting food, then the more difficult it becomes to resist the next time. So failure is inevitable and absolutely nothing to do with self-sabotage.

Sticking with this food theme, it seems that what is happening is this. Brain fuel is glucose. Every time you make a choice, your brain uses up some of its available glucose. So every time you make a choice you are depleting your supplies of glucose. Now since food is the source of glucose then craving for sweet food increases every time you choose something. So if you want to lose weight - don't make any decisions. But, paradoxically, if you eat a little, that helps you to resist food.

Another piece of fascinating research showed that Stanford University students could either get their assignments done on time or change their socks every day - but not both. This and other research suggests that exams are at the wrong end of the term. By the time exams are reached the students have used up so much brain energy for study that they have no time to make choices about anything else so things like healthy eating and simple hygiene just go out of the window.

This book is full of details of interesting and unusual research that give powerful insights into mind, and thought processes.

One of the best books I've read in a while.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a test of willpower 15 Mar. 2012
By J. Charlesworth VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really wanted to like this book. It's a popular science book about research into the concept of will-power -apparently an idea which fell out of favour among psychologists for ages, but is now coming back into favour. I'd heard of Roy Bauermeister's research and know that he's a groundbreaking expert in the field. Similarly, I've read articles by James Tierney which I've enjoyed.

But somehow this collaborative effort fell flat for me. I think I'd read too many of the stories before, so it didn't hold my attention. Quite a few of Bauermeister's experiments are described in Steven Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature, which I read immediately prior to this book. Pinker is hard to equal as a writer, so maybe I was spoiled.

Anyway, this book is short and probably quite interesting and gentle introduction to this topic - if you're a die-hard nerd who's already familiar with the research then the celebrity portraits grate a bit.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, a really worthwhile read 7 Mar. 2012
By C M Cotton TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read 1000's of books on the subject of success, law of attraction, motivation and wealth creation. I have been a business consultant, serial entrepreneur and motivational coach for a number of years. As such I have read many good and extremely poor books on motivation and willpower.

This book falls into the category of well worth reading and is a motivating read. It is 262 pages long with 10 chapters with content ranging from, defining willpower, decision fatigue, can willpower be strengthened, raising strong children and advice against dieting. This makes it a curious mix, looking at virtually all aspects and applications of willpower, within individual and family lives.

The book has three main aspects to it, it looks at why we may not stick to a task, why attractions can be distracting and how therefore to stick to your goals and get things done. From this point of view the book gives you some great tactics to do these things. Where I disagree with the two authors, is in their premise that the longer the day, the less willpower you will have, as your blood sugars are depleted. I am not saying this is wrong, but I have seen in my consultancy business, many many people work long days, in jobs they love and still have the energy to make great decisions.

For me the keys to success in this area of mind dynamics are, understanding what is holding you back....the emotional attachments from the past that deplete energy, identify faulty/victim thinking...which depletes energy, understand that willpower can be gained from mind training and that at the end of the day, if you are doing something you hate doing, your energy will be depleted anyway.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MY GRANNY TOLD ME THAT 14 April 2012
By Diacha
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I felt let down by this book. It was marketed as a scientifically rigorous examination of an important part of our make-up. Instead, it comes across as firmly in the pop science/self help genre, complete with chirpy style and second hand anecdotes (Eliot Spitzer, H.M. Stanley, Oprah). Many people enjoy and even benefit from such books; but it does well to know what one is buying into.

Baumeister and Tierney argue that will power - the definition is vague but we know it when we see it, or perhaps more relevantly, when we fail to exercise it - is like a muscle. It depletes through over use and it may be strengthened through exercise. Within any depletion cycle, it is zero sum: if one uses it up being too effective at work, then one is more likely to be nasty to one's spouse or to take that second scoop of ice-cream after dinner.

There is a catalogue of things that enhance will-power: being Asian American (some evidence for genetics but mainly cultural), being part of a religious organization, being tidy and having good posture, being monitored, committing oneself publicly to a goal, keeping up one's blood sugar level etc. There is also a list of things that erode will power: sparing the rod (or its PC equivalent), alcohol, being hungry, PMS, being stressed or tired etc. In fact, just the things that Grandma told us about.

The authors draw on scientific evidence to back up Granny. There is relatively little discussion of genes and just a bit more on data drawn from brain scans. Most comes from the type of experiment in which a group of student volunteers is sealed in a room with a bowl of M & Ms, shown a depressing Continental movie and asked to stick their hands in ice-water or squeeze a handgrip. Not much chance of cloning a sheep or finding the Higgs Boson here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Popular readable account of a potentially very important series of...
Does what it says it will do.
Published 1 month ago by R. Iain F. Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying
Listen up, if you need a book to teach you how to "rediscover your willpower" then you're doing it wrong, waste of money IMO.
Published 2 months ago by jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely helpful
Wonderful book! I am so grateful that such a book has been written. I have experienced great suffering in the past, travelling or going out with friends or boy-friends who were so... Read more
Published 3 months ago by G. Moreno
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Relatable Book
Great book it's a fantastic read!! Very informative & explained well. The techniques and strategies explained in this book are easy to implement & will make a difference.
Published 6 months ago by Brian Vallois
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fantastic brilliant amazing superb good
Published 6 months ago by S. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Life changing. Reading it all over again
Published 7 months ago by C. lazzarotto
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book - I'm often quoting it - really well written and makes so much sense!
Published 8 months ago by Diana Jane Clappison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Was a very interesting read.
Published 9 months ago by MISBA ISLAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
delighted with purchase and speedy delivery
Published 9 months ago by elizabeth acevedo
5.0 out of 5 stars A great popular science read
A highly readable popular science book. I enjoyed this immensely.
Published 10 months ago by Alex Quigley
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