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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars practical, research-based solutions for improving self-control
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...
Published on 23 Mar 2012 by D&D

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Will power INSTINCT is a good book. You need some patience to read this book.
Published 3 months ago by Farrukh I.


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars practical, research-based solutions for improving self-control, 23 Mar 2012
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Hardcover)
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. final thoughts - the aha moment

Each chapter makes use of fascinating paradoxes to dispell common misconceptions about self-control. While I preferred the deeper "Willpower" by Tierney and Baumeister (who has studied contradictory human behaviour for decades), this book is way ahead of any others I've read on the subject, for its wide range of down-to-earth and practical strategies for greater success. Another excellent book is "Willpower: The Owner's Manual - 12 Tools for Doing the Right Thing" by Frank Martela PhD.

(Oddly, the paperback and kindle versions are called "Maximum Willpower".)
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent combination of science-based views and handy tips, 13 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Hardcover)
A superb summary of the latest research findings in neurophysiology and social psychology for regular people. Presented in ten chapters/lectures with real-life examples, jokes and practical tips and exercises in the end of each chapter. The book focuses on willpower, motivation, how to stay on track and not get distracted, how our choices and decisions are made through interaction of our different multiple selves. The concept of our "two brains" - one, impulsive "fight-flight" and "grab what you can", shaped by survival of our wild ancestors, and another, social, goal-oriented, analythical, Homo sapiens' latest acquisition, can explain a lot in behaviour of oneself and people around.

The book makes you think and, in addition, is a pleasure to read. I could do with fewer examples on excessive shopping (this is an American book, after all), but the author also examines the other problems, addictions and distractions (excessive eating, smoking, internet), and one can easily apply the workings to anything one would like to take control of.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nuanced science & surgical insights, 8 July 2012
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This review is from: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Hardcover)
I wanted to start with "Rarely, if ever..." but quite a few of the books I've read lately do a very good job of explicating the science & tie it to specific actions we can take in the light of that science. And this book is no less rewarding if such is your expectation.

In my mind, the greatest value of this book, to start with, is in the mere recognition of willpower problems. For example, during my long (Ok, longish...) runs, I've often given in to a 30 to 60 sec temptation of walking a little. I'd never have thought that this was a willpower challnge & always thought of this as "not pushing too hard, should a injury happen" but this book made me realize if there was cash prize at the end, I could easily push myself to do it. So the question was never really about fatigue, it was about motivation. Similarly, in recognizing the continuous challenges of willpower - from that of indulging while feeling bad or while feeling good, to the futile chases after "happiness", or our mistaken notion of happiness - lies the many tactical takeaways for its readers.

Its made better by the science behind. At least, for those of us that are interested. I'd say here that if you're pursuing a good general & holistic appreciation of the brain's working, this is not the best book (for example, there is no content on memory & how cortisol overdose can lead to chronic stress) but the science is just enough to understand isolated concepts pertaining to the willpower challenge at hand. So if that kind of thing interests you, then you can dig deeper for the actual neurological workings (this book has a great bibliography) after understanding the basics from reading this.

And thirdly, just the plain & simple knowledge of the case studies is empowering. It is a great help to know that these challenges have been isoloated, experimented with & eventually overcome by deploying certain strategies. Just the knowledge of something is "do-able" was very empowering for me.

McGonigal writes with clarity & plentiful humour. The book is structured very well, & the chapter summaries help a lot in quick refreshes - I'd say this book was one of my best science reads this year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, full of actually useful advice and tips for improving your willpower., 9 Mar 2014
I very rarely write amazon reviews, but this book is truly excellent. It provides an interesting and fundamentally enjoyable read while also relying on proven science and giving you willpower advice that actually just works.

I think the key point that I took away is that a lot of what I assumed about willpower, and about desire and my ability to improve my life, was misconceived, or even flawed.

Taking a fresh look at these areas has inspired me to improve, and more importantly, given me useful tools to do so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is worth the time reading, 8 May 2014
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One of the few good self-improvement books. I learned quite a few interesting things about myself :) It has a lot of useful science info on willpower which otherwise would be difficult to find.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful addition to my increasing library of books which help ..., 25 July 2014
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This review is from: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Hardcover)
A useful addition to my increasing library of books which help me understand why i do the things i do. Based on neuroscience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book it is filled with a huge amount ..., 29 Oct 2014
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I love this book it is filled with a huge amount of practical information and it references many very interesting studies.
I find it easy to read which is important to me as a dyslexic. It has changed the way I think of willpower in a way that has been useful.
I believe that the information and techniques will continue to be of benefit through my life, in other words BUY IT
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic book - entertaining and insightful, 31 July 2014
By 
M. Dickson "Beefy" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Absolutely fantastic book - entertaining and insightful. I bought both the audio book (with my Audible free trial) and then bought paperback too so that I could highlight, make notes and thoroughly digest the info. It is packed out with lots of 'OH YEAH!' moments and has a ton of practical strategies you can experiment with. Definitely worth buying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rally Good, 14 Jun 2014
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This book worth it the price. I recommended everyone which one want to go up to the hill.Many thanks for quickly service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring science, 8 Jun 2014
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Lots of studies on the subject of willpower are explained in a friendly and easy to understand manner by Kelly McGonigal. The book works well as a self-help manual for building up willpower and overcoming our worst habits and self-defeating behaviours.There are some really surprising and thought-provoking findings which I'm starting to put into use to work on my own problems with procrastination and making bad food choices.
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