Customer Review

14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, disappointing, standard format self-help book, 15 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I'd read an enthusiastic review of it in The Guardian newspaper, which made it sound different and interesting. I could not have been more disappointed.

It is a fairly standard American self-help book, written in a chatty colloquial style, which most British readers will find irritating. First there's the "Science has proved that..." stuff related in a folksy anecdotal way: "Baumeister tried to be optimistic. Maybe the study wasn't a failure". Second there are the stories of how minor celebrities, you've never heard of, used the authors recommended techniques to improve their life: "Until that point Carey was a fairly typical victim of information overload, if a celebrity can ever be called typical". That's a guy called Drew Carey, not Jim. Finally there are lots of quotes from sources that Americans will have heard of and esteem, such as the Bible, Benjamin Franklin, or St Augustine.

The only way in which it varies from the standard format is that it is mercifully short on anecdotes about ordinary Americans of the "Dale, an auto-parts salesman from Dullsville Alabama, could never understand why his inbox was so full." variety.

At the end of the day it all pads out a few well-known truths that you could read for free on the pages of a calender or as cracker mottos.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Eat a good breakfast. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Plan ahead. Etcetera, etcetera.

At least the cover hype for the book doesn't make the standard claim that it will change your life.

Finishing the book was a test of my willpower, and I failed it.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Feb 2012 14:55:23 GMT
BenF says:
Tedious (not to mention pompous) anti-americanism has obviously distorted this reviewers judgement. I don't know which British readers he's speaking for - but not me.
Ludicrous to give it one star.
Great book.

Posted on 17 Mar 2012 16:30:47 GMT
 says:
Good review! I don't think I will bother to order it.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Nov 2012 20:56:51 GMT
H. Maestro says:
This is hardly a self help book. Every time I flick through it I fall asleep reading sentences like -"A survey was done".. an experiment.. blah blah blah, GET TO THE POINT!!! At least self help books get to the point. it's hard to find the willpower to read this book. But I disagree with your review I don't see much self help here, which is why I bought it in the first place.
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