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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, a really worthwhile read
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...
Published on 7 Mar 2012 by C. M. Cotton

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a test of willpower
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...
Published on 15 Mar 2012 by J. Charlesworth


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8 of 8 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 (Lewes, E. Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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38 of 42 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 "Chris Cotton" (Europe and USA) - See all my reviews
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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.

Recommended.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give into temptation- read this book, 24 Jan 2012
By 
Dr. Nicholas P. G. Davies (Halifax, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a well written and useful book. It brings together many ideas and shows how they apply in specific examples, and the scientific experiments that back them up. It is well referenced, and generous in acknowledging the contributions of others.

It's main theme is how we get things done, and what helps us to stick to a task, and what attracts us into distractions. We each seem to have a certain finite capacity for making active decisions and choices each day. Once we are exahusted by the effort involved we easily succumb to temptation and distraction. I dread to think what quality my (medical)decisions have at the end of my day at work- there's a good story about judges and their parole decisions- and how these depend as much on the time of the day and the judge's physiological reserves for decision making, as they do on the facts of the case. As it says on p98, "Decision making depletes your willpower, and once your willpower is depleted, you're less able to make decisions. If your work requires you to make hard decisions all day long, at some point you're going to be depleted and start looking for ways to conserve energy."

The differences between those who go for immediate gratification and those who can hold out for delayed gratification are deep and significant. This book is very helpful at explaining these and showing how you can alter your habits towards longer term success- the first habit is to have a plan for the long term, and make sure your long term is over an hour ahead.

This book will be helpful to those of us who have long term plans- and want to increase our chances of achieving them. Order it now.

And for parents it has some smart hints about what kinds of rewards will motivate children well.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars distinctly interesting - but no masterpiece, 3 Feb 2012
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This book is coauthored by a scientist and a science writer and its content is corresponding hybrid. Some chapters major on 'what Baumeister learnd' through his experiments. Others focus more on 'what we can learn from the life of Eric Clapton, or as the case may be, Henry Stanley'. While the largely anecdotal material holds the attention, the real gems are the experimental findings.

The book starts on a high, with measurements of what Germans want to resist (desires to eat, sleep, for taking a break from work, sexual impulses etc) and succeed in resisting (sleep, sex and the urge to spend money). And moves on to questions such as 'is there such a thing as willpower?' (answer: yes and it is limited in quantity and can be depleted through use) and 'what does it feed on?' (answer: glucose - no glucose no willpower but best not to get the glucose through sugar).

Then the book becomes less focused with a study of 'to do lists' (that does make the interesting point that you have to complete an uncompleted experience through detailed planning, or else your mind won't let it alone), the use of external observation to boost willpower, the training of willpower (possible, say the authors - do things like practice sitting up straight and it will generally improve - but their argument that this is like stengthening a muscle seems odd - it's surely just a matter of something becoming habitual and ceasing to use willpower), what to do if you have the problems of Henry Stanley or Eric Clapton (just what they did), raising children (concentrate on willpower by promising rewards for effort; forget about self-esteem as the key to achievement) and dieting (this one's very difficult, they say).

A final chapter sets out some conclusions - not least, try to avoid needing to use willpower, as that's what the most self-controlled people do...Why do things look better in the morning, by the way - it's because the ego is less depleted in the morning (you haven't started exhausting your stock of willpower for the day!)>>>
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MY GRANNY TOLD ME THAT, 14 April 2012
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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. I often think that there is more to be learned about human psychology in reading the 37 plays of Shakespeare than in the entire library of the Psych faculty.

Towards the end of the book, the authors provide some suggestions as to how to improve one's exercise of willpower- pretty thin soup compared to the shelves of self-help books to be found in airport bookstores.

I was annoyed at myself for finishing the book rather than spending the time more fruitfully, but somehow I just couldn't get around to abandoning it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible book about willpower, 29 Oct 2013
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I am generally skeptical of self-help books, but this book is written by a psychologist who has researched the topic. The content of the book is credible and based on facts. English is not my native language, but the book is easy to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 21 Feb 2013
By 
M. Hadfield "Ammonite" (Runcorn, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rigorous, 26 Jan 2013
By 
HeavyMetalMonty (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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(Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength) By Roy F. Baumeister (Author) Hardcover on (Jan , 2012) may sound like yet another self-help book promising health and happiness. Far from it, though. John Tierney presents the results of co-author Roy Baumeister's decades of scientific research into the phenomenon of willpower, delivering the information with his engaging writing style. Should they choose to, readers can use Baumeister's findings to their benefit by implementing changes that will boost their willpower and lead to greater success. Or, as a learning tool, the book is a font of often-surprising knowledge.

Well written, rigorously researched and eye-opening, this book will improve your life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars disturbing for readers who can't get around to opening the book, 24 Mar 2012
By 
Mr. Stephen Redman (York England) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Willpower - something you can exercise, 23 Feb 2012
I think this book is great. I'm trying to loose some weight and generally make my life healthier. I have found this book really interesting and learnt lots about myself. I'm not cured yet but then you do have to exercise willpower to change your habits!!!
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