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Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Hardcover – September 1, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
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"An accessible, empirically grounded guide to willpower and how best to deploy it to overcome temptation." — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Willpower is sure to inspire further groundbreaking research into the mechanics of willpower. One implication is already apparent. Since repeated behaviors eventually turn into habits, improving willpower long term requires a unique strategy-a habit of changing habits, of continually expanding our zones of comfort. One such practice, it seems, is the 'routine' of learning. That's a habit that this brilliant book will certainly nourish." — THE DAILY BEAST
"Willpower affects almost every aspect of our lives. From procrastination, to saving for retirement to exercising, Tierney and Baumeister have given us a wonderful book in which they not only share fascinating research on the subject but also provide simple tricks to help us tap into this important quality." — Dan Ariely, Duke University, author of PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL
"Willpower is sinfully delicious - once you start reading, you won't be able to stop. A fascinating account of the exciting new science of self-control, told by the scientist who made it happen and the journalist who made it news." — Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University, author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS
"Who knew that a book about such a daunting topic could be as wonderfully entertaining as it is enlightening! Tierney and Baumeister have produced a highly intelligent work full of fascinating information (and great advice) about a core element of modern living. Bravo." — David Allen, author of GETTING THINGS DONE and MAKING IT WORK
"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, coauthor of FREAKONOMICS and SUPERFREAKONOMICS
"Will, willpower, and mental energy have been shunned by modern psychology. Roy Baumeister, the most distinguished experimental social psychologist in the world, and John Tierney, a renowned journalist, have teamed up to put Will back into its rightful center stage place. This little masterpiece is a must read for all of us who want to exercise, diet, manage our time, be thrifty, and resist temptation." — Martin Seligman, former president of American Psychological Association
"This is a manual from heaven for anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, work more efficiently and more intelligently. An astonishingly good - and accessible - inquiry into one of the more elusive areas of human psychology: why we go on thwarting ourselves when we really know better. On top of that, Willpower is a vastly entertaining book, full of fascinating stories about the complexities of our evolutionarily-wired brains. A brilliant accomplishment, at every level." — Christopher Buckley, author of THANK YOU FOR SMOKING
"Deep and provocative analysis of people's battle with temptation and masterful insights into understanding willpower: why we have it, why we don't, and how to build it. A terrific read." — Ravi Dhar, Yale School of Management, Director of Center for Customer Insights
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.
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
The writing style reminds me greatly of The Power of Habit in that the vast majority of the book is anecdotal and case study summation. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Weston Winn
This is the real deal for self improvement. It isn't a magic elixir. It returns us to character values that our grandparents knew about but which modernity managed to dismiss. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Martin Fierro
This book is REALLY good. I love all the case studies, and I do believe a lot of the data and theories provided are consistent with other scientific research I've read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by jdw
2 thing scientist have been able to agree upon on attributes that have a big correlation when it comes to success. Intelligence and Willpower. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Some interesting studies discussed but no real advice or steps apart from don't do shopping marathons and being low in glucose reduces willpower. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Geraldine