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Publisher's Summary

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.

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 listeners 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.

©2011 Roy F. Baumeister (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The psychologist Roy F. Baumeister has shown that the force metaphor has a kernel of neurobiological reality. In Willpower, he has teamed up with the irreverent New York Times science columnist John Tierney to explain this ingenious research and show how it can enhance our lives.... Willpower is an immensely rewarding book, filled with ingenious research, wise advice and insightful reflections on the human condition." (Steven Pinker, The New York Times Book Review

"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)

What listeners say about Willpower

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    4 out of 5 stars

excellent documentation

wish the authors had more faith in religion, but the empirical results of their studies are undeniable. love the approach and helps so much to know the background.

8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic Content Applicable to Everyone

This book itself is not exciting; however, the positive effect that this information can have on your life is cause for excitement. Baumeister explains how every day we have a limited amount of willpower and gives us tips and tricks to make the most of it, along with how to strengthen willpower over time. This book has helped and will continue to help me make the most of my willpower as I implement recommended practices into my life.

6 people found this helpful

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Awesome

This book sets the gold standard for books on improving one’s life and is highly recommended by someone who very rarely writes reviews

4 people found this helpful

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Really solid and enlightening book

It has changed the way I percieve will power, and modern life. Instead of seeing will power (and the lack of it) as a question of guilt and character defects, it shows a nuanced picture with lots of surprising facts

4 people found this helpful

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  • 10-17-21

A lot of rambling fluff with some very usable tips.

To not be hypocritical, I will not ramble on here in this review but you can basically read the last chapter and get everything you need from the book and save yourself a lot of time. If you want to save time and money just do some basic Google searches and find tips online. This book doesn’t really help a whole lot but it’s not completely bad as there are some useful tips but it does feel like it never reaches any concrete solutions.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Advise (sometimes) but Bad Research and Psych

Tl;Dr: Don't pick up the latest fad diet but rather just maintain a good healthy rate of eating is generally good advice. But don't buy the pop psychology of this book and the phenomenon of "Good People doing Bad Things" can't be all explained by "they got a little stressed out"

Overall I thought the advice was sound enough with that often starvation diets don't work in terms of that it depletes willpower in every other field like being a good parent or doing well in the office and that they often encourage those who partake in them to flip to even more heavy overeating when the diet is done due to the brain sending hormones across the body to bulk up. Since the brain is used to food being rare instead of the first world where food is available in large amounts even to the poorest of society. So generally to lose weight one should slowly edge of heavy eating rather than diving head first into a starvation diet.

But generally what I found troubling and something not talked about in many of the reviews is that the experiments are poorly done and the author's attempt to answer the age old question, why do good people do bad things. Almost all the experiments done in the book are done with college students, which have a series of compounding variables, like usually growing up in relative comfort and generally being harder workers and etc, which is never acknowledged in the entirety of the book. Also that the experiments often have their variables determined by many outside confounding variables like with the cookie and radish experiment.

The book outlines people who didn't eat for a full 24 hours and one group was told to eat radishes and the other group told to eat cookies. Then the cookie and radish groups were told to do a puzzle and timed to see how long they work on the puzzle. The radish people on average gave up sooner than the cookie people therefore starting the author's rise to one of the most prestigious physiologists of all time and eventually to write this book.

The major problem with all this is that it is never asked did the radish people give up sooner because they were more frustrated with the experiment than the cookie people or did the cookie people work for longer since they thought they owed some kind of debt to the author which the radish people didn't think that was the case and I bet you can continue for a good hour punching holes in this experiment if you sat down for a good hour just think about it.

Then the author tries to explain the "Heart of Darkness" style moral downfall of a group of British soldiers told to maintain an outpost in the Congolese jungles in the 1800s. The author never acknowledged the frankly very racist and dehumanizing beliefs that the soldiers would have about the natives instead attributing their evilness to being stressed out. And the debunking point to that whole section is that these soldier only did these evil actions to local natives and never to each other which can be waved away with being stressed out.

2 people found this helpful

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Not worth your time

Don’t waste your time with this book.

Summary: Focus on one goal at a time.

The end.

1 person found this helpful

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A Good read, scientific approach

The book is amazing for it's scientific approach to the problem. So definitely worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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I never give books 5 stars because no book is ...

but this one is close😁

The final chapter really pulled it all together. That said, exert the self control to defer it until you listen to It in it's entirety or you'll rob yourself of that which made it so rewarding for me.

tim #bgreen

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Must Read!!!

Worthwhile, engaging, and life changing. This book uses science, statistics, and personal stories to highlight ideas and help change habits. A true must read.