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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2014
 Mark Dickson from facebook.com/beefybattlesthebulge reviews Dr Kelly McGonigal's book, The Willpower Instinct. He discusses the reasons behind his 5 star review, and explains how both the paperback and audio versions have helped him lose of 5 stone in weight.
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on 9 January 2014
I think this is easy too read for me as English is not my original language. I watched Kelly's TED talk and loved the way she linked science to real life. This book has very practical tips encouraging you to start making changes and stick with it. It's like she's talking to me in person. Definitely recommend it.
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on 13 January 2012
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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on 8 July 2012
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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on 29 October 2014
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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on 17 February 2016
I am a great fan of Kelly McGonigal and have her other books. I was therefore disappointed to find that this is an EXACT copy of her previous book Maximum Willpower.

I feel that this rip-off by the publishers in simply renaming an existing book (without mentioning it in the description) does a great disservice to Kelly and her work. Otherwise, the content of either this book or Maximum Willpower (of which it is a direct copy) would be worth 5 stars.
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on 30 April 2013
This book outlines the course Dr McGonigal runs at her University to help people increase their willpower. All her advice is evidence based, easy to follow, practical and realistic. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to quit a bad habit or start a good one.
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on 8 June 2014
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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on 9 March 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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on 8 May 2014
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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