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Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Paperback – August 28, 2012
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“An accessible, empirically grounded guide to willpower and how best to deploy it to overcome temptation. ‘Willpower’ offers no shortage of helpful strategies to compensate for weakness of will” — WALL STREET JOURNAL
— THE DAILY BEAST
“Baumeister and Tierney use their appealingly upbeat voice to explain the intricate call-and-response between the failure of self-control and its problematical results.”— KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Willpower (the thing) lies at the curious intersection of science and behavior. Willpower (the book) lies at the intersection of Roy Baumeister, an extraordinarily creative scientist, and John Tierney, a phenomenally perceptive journalist. Ignore it at your peril.”- — Stephen J Dubner, author of FREAKONOMICS
About the Author
JOHN TIERNEY writes the “Findings” science column for the New York Times. His writing has won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics. This is his third book.
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Top Customer Reviews
As one of the reviewers pointed out, there is a multitude of different pop sci books out there. Some are written by the researchers themselves and others by journalists who digest and interpret the information second-hand. In my experience, there is a clear distinction in style between someone who is a primary subject matter expert and someone who is just synthesizing secondary information. The researcher-authors tend to focus more on the actual experiments, strike a decent balance between pop and hard science, do a much better job explaining the meaning of the findings, and are usually pretty cautious about overly extrapolating the results. Journalist-authors tend to err much more on the side of watering down the science (perhaps because they have an incomplete understanding themselves) and generally strike a "let me explain this to an idiot" type of tone.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that this book is co-authored with the primary researcher, it really falls into the "journalist-author" bucket. I get a distinct impression that John Tierny was responsible for most of the writing, where Roy Baumeister is cited as an author only because the book is mostly based on his research. I think Tierny tries way too hard to oversimplify the science and calls on very extensive celebrity examples to illustrate some of the findings.Read more ›
As a scientist, I am impressed with how the authors stay close to the science.
As a reader, I relish the smooth writing style.
As someone who wants to be entertained, I appreciate the great storytelling ability. For this reason, the ideas in this book are sticky.
Honestly, I find it difficult to imagine an audience that would not benefit from reading this book. Educators. Policy makers. Parents. Self-help book fanatics. Therapists and coaches. People interested in why human beings do the things they do (that is, fans of psychology). If you disagree, let me know. Roy Baumeister is one of the most important psychologists alive and he is not afraid of taking risks and delving into what matters- sex, death, love, happiness, suicide, and even UFO abductions. Its about time people outside of science get a taste of his excellent contributions.
I couldn't recommend this more strongly.
Perhaps one of the most interesting (and in the field of psychology, controversial) Baumeister and Tierney detail several studies that have subjects to some hard decision making tasks, and move on to other moderate decision making tasks. The results: those who engaged in hard decision making tasks gave up quicker on the next round of tasks (as opposed to the control group who were given easier tasks first). Another interesting finding is that glucose increases one's self-control abilities, as evidenced by studies where some groups were giving a sugary soft-drink before engaging in self-control tasks (while others weren't) and, as a consequence, were better able to exercise self-control. (The authors are quick to tell us that they aren't endorsing large sugar intakes to increase self-control, but that protein consumption can also do the trick.)
Later chapters focus on the idea that willpower works best when others are holding us accountable. There is a chapter detailing several websites that help people achieve their goals by either posting results (budgetary, weight loss, etc) on a public space, or having us assign a friend or colleague to monitor our progress (and give rewards).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book gave me some great insights into willpower. It makes sense that we don't have an unlimited supply and that our willpower can be drained. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Kit Carpenter
Excellent read and a must resource for those trying to have a better understanding of ourselves and those around us, giving us the insight and tools to improve our lives by way of... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Horacio Montes
I can't even make it through the book. Maybe there should be a prequel to Willpower to prepare us to have the willpower to finish this book.Published 1 month ago by Fwc
Learned a lot while reading this one. The author presents the information very clear and with lots of background on research. Read morePublished 1 month ago by CesarRQ
Dr. Baumeister and his colleagues have done very innovative research work on self-control. However, there is probably not enough scientific findings yet to fill a book of this... Read morePublished 2 months ago by T. Zhiyan