One of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists, Roy F. Baumeister, teams with New York Times science writer John Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master it.
"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
Pioneering research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister collaborates with New York Times science writer John Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted human virtue: self-control. Drawing on cutting-edge research and the wisdom of real-life experts, Willpower shares lessons on how to focus our strength, resist temptation, and redirect our lives. It shows readers how to be realistic when setting goals, monitor their progress, and how to keep faith when they falter. By blending practical wisdom with the best of recent research science, Willpower makes it clear that whatever we seek—from happiness to good health to financial security—we won’t reach our goals without first learning to harness self-control.
Willpower, or self-control, is one of the keys to success, says Baumeister (director of Florida State University's social psychology program) and New York Times science writer Tierney. They review the latest research to report key findings on willpower: for instance, each of us has a finite supply of it and deplete it whenever we draw on it, whether at work or at home, but it can be developed and strengthened. Further, decision making in particular saps that supply, but it's possible to do willpower exercises to gain self-control over all sorts of bad behavior, from overeating to physical violence; willpower exercises have been shown to work with domestic abusers, for example. At several points throughout the book, and in a concluding chapter, the authors offer practical advice for increasing willpower, not much of which is new (for instance, setting realistic goals in dieting), but all of which bears repeating. Baumeister and Tierney have produced a very fine work clear and succinct, based on solid research, and with good anecdotal material about magician/performance artist David Blaine, singer Eric Clapton, and writers Anthony Trollope and Raymond Chandler, among others. This should prove helpful for those who are trying to make and keep resolutions.
A wealth of information
This is not a self help book in the traditional sense. It is not a quick fix book either. It is an exploration if willpower and it's effects on nearly every part of our life. You, however, must summarize this for yourself and pick which knowledge is most applicable to your life.
Self Regulation through Internal Promises
I bought this ebook as a side thought before heading to Florida for a small vacation. I am currently an EMBA student at Purdue University and have also battled episodes of binge drinking. I attended some AA meetings and was put off by the whole higher power outsourcing idea.
I had no idea what the book was about and assumed it was some author babbling about his made-up theories on controlling behavior. I was immediately optimistic when real psychological research verified the true nature of how willpower works.
I recall some of my own tests after reading the insights on David Blain's abilities. I later pre-committed to run (no walking) a half marathon after only training up to 3 miles at a time. I could not walk for a day after but I beat my best time with a 2:07. It worked and I honestly felt that I can now start willing offensive strategies in other areas of my life such as learning and simply enjoying time with others without the need to distract myself with vices like alcohol or checking my phone.
The piece on dieting made perfect sense and then when I thought a little more, it related closely to alcohol binging. I have come to understand that my personal issues are between my ears and I am thankful that I now have ways to counter them as described in this book. Thank you for the great professional insight and fact based examples.
I've read plenty self-help books and this is the first one I plan to reread.