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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. A great great book I highly recommend to realise why you may lack willpower when dealing with life and career is, Whats Stopping You by Robert Kelsey. This book addresses the faulty thinking that depletes your energy and willpower and is simply brilliant. I think that the authors have confused willpower with fatigue and or problems associated with fears of failure and low self esteem.....all of which can deplete energy.

This book is worth reading and has some good ideas on goal setting/attaining and checking your progress towards success. I think the discussion about willpower and what depletes it, needs some serious widening to encompass other areas of mind dynamics, which also deplete energy and willpower. I do not agree with some of the authors presumptions. It should therefore also be read in conjunction with books that offer a broader analysis of why some people have issues with willpower, such as the one mentioned.

I like some of the ideas, but it lacks a wider analysis of the subject. Interesting as far as it goes.

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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Author's Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney have a wonderful way with words and can make 291 pages on one subject, Willpower, seem like a five minute read, at least, that's how it felt because I enjoyed it so much and read it very fast. Despite its 17 page introduction.

From the first chapter, "Is Willpower More than a Metaphor?" where we are encourged to think about lessons of perserverance and ego-depletion studies, we move to an interesting question, "Where does the Power in Willpower Come from?" a detailed look into what helps us to keep going to keep our self-control from weakening or making bad decisions. Is it in our genes? Or could it be the food we eat and the amount of sleep we get each night?

We also learn about the to-do list in "A Brief History of the To-Do List, from God to Dew Carey" , which explains how to-do lists are just another way to set clear guidelines if done correctly. We also meet the "Getting Things Done; The Art of Stress Free Productivity" guru, David Allen to find out what he would do to save time and energy. In the "Decision Fatigue" it's all about making the right decisions at the right time for the best results.

In chapter 5, "Where have all the Dollars Gone? The Quantified Self Knows" what is it in our brains that makes us a spendthrift or a penny-pinching tightwad?

This is followed by "Can willpower be strengthened? (Preferably without feeling David Baines's Pain)", is it a muscle that can be controlled and strengthened? and "Outsmarting Yourself in the Heart of Darkness" A reference to Joseph Conrad's book and the connections the authors make. What mental tricks to conserve willpower does David Blaine know that we don't?

In Chapter 8 we investigate " Did a Higher Power Help Eric Clapton and Mary Karr Stop Drinking?" or was willpower enough?

"Raising Strong Children; Self-Esteem versus Self-Control" is chapter nine's baby proving that despite claims, self-control is far more appropriate in raising strong children.

Finally, the chapter everyone was waiting for, "The Perfect Storm of Dieting". Exactly what is it that makes some people do well when losing weight, and others fail?

Closing with the conclusion "The Future of Willpower, More Gain, Less Strain, (as long as you don't procrastinate!) Saving time without missing out on fun, and the real affects of those with stronger willpower is brought to life. A treat for tired minds!
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VINE VOICEon 19 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was intrugued with the title. It suggested a return to good old-fashioned Willpower. Further reading about the book revealed it would be revisiting will-power with a fresh perspective and some good experiments on people's willpower.

I finished the book in 4 days. Recently I've stuggled to find a book in the self-help field to grip me long enough to complete. This book was just what I needed.

I will say upfront this is not a spoon-feeding book. It lays out the experiments, the findings and some observations. Any inquisitive adult will be able to piece together the value of the findings.

One of the most important findings in the book is willpower requires energy. Its all very well writing out a book about change this, create to do lists, focus on one thing etc but if you've run out of willpower-fuel its just going to crash and burn.

Our fuel for our bodies is essential to keep going. Making some shifts that are not ingrained in us requires extra energy to make the shift. If we overload ourselves with too many changes we burn out and then no change is made at all.

The key is to manage our energy source. Its also to be very aware of how much it takes out of us to make changes. If we burn a lot of fuel in other areas of our lives, just from day to day living, we have to understand that progress is going to slow down.

Each chapter shows how we tick as humans and how our brains function. It shows when we are vunerable to weakness and how to avoid it. Most experiments show the optimum way to operate in a given situation. But also at times there is more of a combination that works.

I didn't find any chapter boring. I didn't find the book too long either. I totally enjoyed the book. I love it because it connected with my inner sense of logic and I feel the experiments shown in the book make the findings more accurate.

There is a very interesting chapter on how to develop your willpower. Although developing willpower in one area will give you the strength to develop in another area, without a goal in mind things won't happen by themselves. A chapter on David Blaine's Houdini-like discipline and willpower shows that even with superhuman willpower you won't send the necessary documentation to claim you world record unless you have the discipline of completing your paperwork... I found this very true really. All goals need to be clearly defined and agreed upon in the first place.

There is a great chapter on dieting. How most people have great willpower even when overweight. All they need to do is understand how to avoid temptation and stay on a good path of gaining results week by week.

Once new habits have bedded in, they require very little energy to maintain. So there is the initial graft to bed them, but after that they are running themselves.

I decided to make a list of habits I'd like to ingrain. One of them is to keep my whole interior of my car clean. My business and my personal training means I usually keep more stuff in my car than most. Nothing expensive, just stuff like cardboard for wrapping parcels, parcel tape, gym accessories, spare towel, a few car cleaning items, yoga mat etc but my boot has until recently been a complete jumble of stuff. The same was inside the main area. So my new goal after spending two hours cleaning it, was zero tolerance of leaving stuff on the car seats, organising proper boxes in the boot. Its a work in progress but it feels great knowing anyone can just jump in and sense the car owner takes a bit of self-pride.

But the book explains why this behaviour exists. Using a study on students and their limited energy resources. There is a limited resource of energy to do things that are very difficult, like study. So tidy rooms is regarded as a unnecessary drain on energy.

The way out of the behaviour is to bed in new routines, a few at a time and then they don't drain the energy. They run themselves effortlessly.

There are some review comments about the explorer Morgan Stanley from the 19th century. I felt it demonstrated the use of a lot of the techniques in this book to keep up the momentum of exploring a very treacherous Africa at that time for years.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While I didn't find much that was new within this book it was nonetheless an absorbing read. A lot of anecdotal evidence is given to show how willpower has been used to achieve things from the mundane to the spectacular. At the mundane end of the scale was advice on using willpower to help with problems such as over-eating, don't get too excited, apparently the key to this is to remove temptations from sight so that you trick your mind into not thinking about food! At the other end of the scale were insights into how David Blaine trains himself for some of the spectacular stunts that he performs.

The authors have pulled together a lot of very interesting material in this book - amongst the many subjects that are touched upon are psychology, history, medicine and finance. I do feel that some of the assertions are a bit questionable though - like the studies referred to that show a link between low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) and poor self-control, and that go on to suggest that this condition is prevalent amongst the criminal classes - does this mean that once diagnosed as a diabetic you are more likely to become a criminal ?

I found the case of Henry Stanley (he of "Dr Livingstone, I presume" fame) very interesting, if only because I learnt some history that I was previously unaware of. But, in the end, I feel that the basic message of this book is much the same as many others - developing particular skills takes time, patience and plenty of practice. If you're looking for a short cut to improve your willpower don't bother reading this. However, if you're looking for a good read with lots of interesting facts etc. thrown in then this could be the book for you.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2012
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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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As someone who believes that self-control is the ultimate virtue, I was pleased to read this volume on willpower. The authors raise some relevant questions and do try to stimulate thought in the reader.

This book is worth reading just to familiarise yourself with such terms as `hyperbolic discounting' and `the quantified self'. The Dieters Catch-22 is also one to look out for.

This book will give you more questions than answers, but will definitely make you think about the evils of procrastination and the real value of deciding to do something and actually following through.

In parts the writing drifts a little and this is probably not a book to read when you are sleepy. All in all a worthwhile contribution to one's own self-analysis and quite rightly a good reminder to practice willpower and self-control.

This is not a great book, but the biggest thing against it is that it addresses a subject that the majority don't wish to believe; that alone means that it is definitely worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I must first of all admit I read this book hoping for some tips on how to increase my own willpower and althought there was some tips this is not really a self help book this book is primarily and indepth annalysis of what willpower is, how it is depleated and when, and more on from that it is full of stories, experiments and tests and there results. I have to say I did learn a lot from this book, some of the basic information like we only have one source of willpower and if we use it up in day to day living (ie supressing the urge to shout at a useless co worker et) then when we get home that slice of chocolate cake is probably doomed. Glucose levels play a major part in willpower and selfcontrol further explained in detail and case in point how a woman craves chocolate when she is due on her cycle because her glucose suply has been re directed to her ovaries and thus depleating her willpower AND making her crave sugary snacks. This book is very very interesting although at times I did find myself having to re read a page becuase it can get a little deep at times. All in all this was not the book I was looking for however the 4 star rating is justified as I did find many of the tests and experiments and subsequently there findings very interesting indeed. If you can stick with this book this is a solid foundation for furhter reading of books that will give you tips, tasks and your own experiments that will help improve your own willpower whereas this books helps you understand the very science behind willpower and self control which lets be honest understanding something is the best chance you have of fixing it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Written in an interesting and amusing style this book may just restore will power and self control to their proper place in the pantheon of accepted virtues. In an age when instant gratification is regarded almost as a right the book provides a timely reminder that self control and willpower have not always been thought of as rather pompous and self righteous qualities only relevant to monks in particularly strict monasteries. Though the book is aimed at the popular end of the market it is not lacking in scientific research and there are a great many references to laboratory experiments carried out to provide information about willpower.

The authors use well known people, both alive and long gone, to demonstrate their conclusions - among them Eric Clapton, Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston, Anthony Trollope, Benjamin Franklin and Henry Morton Stanley. The things I found most interesting and thought provoking are that you can deplete your store of willpower, that using willpower uses up glucose in your body even if you don't move a muscle, that the ability to exercise self control in one sphere does not mean you find it easy to use in other spheres and that dieting and willpower do not go together.

Dieting merits a chapter to itself and it makes some useful points about how dieters set themselves up to fail by aiming for too large a weight loss in too short a time. Much better not to go on a diet as you are likely not to put on as much weight. It's no good telling yourself you will never eat chocolate again - better to tell yourself that you will have some later, just not now.

I found the whole book fascinating reading and I think I shall probably still be dipping into it again for some time to come because there is just so much information in it. It's not designed as a self help book but it does give the reader lots of ideas on how to improve their willpower and self control and thus hopefully improve their lives. The book contains fifteen pages of notes and an index and other books on similar subjects are mentioned in the text.
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VINE VOICEon 28 March 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As someone with the willpower of a wet flip flop, I was encouraged to find out that willpower was a learned skill and my inability to stick with things was a learned behaviour that could be changed and not a sign of moral decrepitude.

Strong willpower is a characteristic that can make or break someone's life - potentially shifting it from a mediocre life to an extraordinary one. Persistence, focus and concentration are all skills that must be used, practiced and maintained to keep them functioning well. Finding and maintaining strong willpower is a gift that will reap huge rewards.

The book is well written and helpful, and I'd highly recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are thousands of books on self-help, but I am averse to the kind of unsubstantiated mantras about thinking yourself into success that so many of them espouse. Baumeister and Teirney's book is different, it is completely evidence based. It cites results that have confounded experimenters and forced them to rethink their current ways of thinking about willpower and self regulation, and so to find new clarity. It speaks about the genetic basis of willpower but also the ways in which we can help ourselves find the ability not to succumb to temptation, be it spending, overeating, or sloth.

The book begins with looking at the Victorian notion of willpower and self denial, and contrasting our current social mores and extremely temptation full modern world. It then moves through experimental evidence about to-do lists, how our willpower is sapped, and, most importantly, how we can conserve it, use it best and what power it has when we instil it in our children (and how to do that!)

Like all really good non-fiction texts, it slotted in with some of what I already understood about my own willpower and those around me, while challenging me, putting a mirror up to some uncomfortable truths and giving me ways to help myself. Cannot recommend highly enough to anyone who has ever suffered with any kind of temptation, from dieting through losing your temper to addiction.
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