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Customer Review

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 review is from: Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Feb 2012 10:16:05 GMT
I really enjoyed your review, you have condensed the book perfectly. Well Done!

I am at present summoning up the willpower to write my own review and prevaricating by reading other people's. Off for a bag of sweets...

Posted on 5 Mar 2012 22:53:14 GMT
G-witch says:
Mmmmmm....sweets...
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