Periodically, it's refreshing to have someone wag their finger at you and scowl, "Focus! Be disciplined! Work harder!" This book is good for that. It sobers you up. Unfortunately, telling me over and over that it takes "tremendous discipline and willpower" to do X, and that I'll be happier if I exert tremendous discipline, doesn't help me understand why some areas of my life (like working out) require little self-discipline, while other areas (like financial planning) are excruciating. I think the book simplistically assumes that the reasoning mind governs actions, and that if you're just disciplined enough, you can do anything. True enough, but the reason you even need to employ discipline in the first place is because you have a natural aversion to the thing that needs to be done. The shortcoming of the book is that does not attempt to understand or address this struggle.
The book made me feel guilty for not being more machine-like. It made me want to apologize for needing nightly sleep. On the other hand, it also made me want to up my game, if for no other reason than the process and exertion of self-discipline is inherently rewarding.
After almost every story, I had the same thought: why was this story even accepted for publication? The stories are, for the most part, about mildly interesting people in in mildly interesting situations. The story about the pregnant woman is a perfect example - woman is a few weeks from giving birth, woman has minor birthing complications in the hospital, baby is born fine, end of story. Nothing particularly gripping, nothing particularly insightful. So it goes, for the most part, with this entire collection.
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