Willpower Doesn't Work

Narrated by: Benjamin Hardy
Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,211 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We rely on willpower to create change in our lives...but what if we're thinking about it all wrong? In Willpower Doesn't Work, Benjamin Hardy explains that willpower is nothing more than a dangerous fad - one that is bound to lead to failure. Instead of "white-knuckling" your way to change, you need to instead alter your surroundings to support your goals. This book shows you how.

The world around us is fast-paced, confusing, and full of distractions. It's easy to lose focus on what you want to achieve, and your willpower won't last long if your environment is in conflict with your goals - eventually the environment will win out. Willpower Doesn't Work is the needed guide for today's overstimulating and addicting environment. Willpower Doesn't Work will specifically teach you: 

  • How to make the biggest decisions of your life - and why those decisions must be made in specific settings
  • How to create a daily "sacred" environment to live your life with intention and not get sucked into the cultural addictions
  • How to invest big in yourself to upgrade your environment and mind-set
  • How to put "forcing functions" in your life - so your default behaviors are precisely what you want them to be
  • How to quickly put yourself in proximity to the most successful people in the world - and how to adapt their knowledge and skills to yourself even quicker
  • How to create an environment where endless creativity and boundless productivity is the norm

Benjamin Hardy will show you that nurture is far more powerful than your nature and teach you how to create and control your environment so your environment will not create and control you.

©2018 Benjamin Hardy (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"To get things done, we don't need willpower, only the power to begin doing it. Benjamin Hardy explains that mindfulness of context is more important, and that by consciously shaping your context, you have the greatest opportunity for personal growth." (Ellen Langer, international bestselling author of Mindfulness)

"Uncommonly thoughtful: that's what I think of when I read Benjamin Hardy's work. Get this book and you'll better understand how to be who you truly want to be." (Jimmy Soni, editor at the Observer and author of Rome's Last Citizen)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Scattered advice

I listened to this after having read and enjoyed dozens of Medium articles by Benjamin Hardy. This book has the same kind of content and similar style. It is essentially paragraph after paragraph of life advice, and many of the particular points Hardy makes seem compelling and insightful. Hardy's brand of advice is tuned for the online generation: short, sweeping statements sprinkled with big-name quotes and nods to the latest "science." His method seems to be to read widely and ingest all that he comes across, and then, after hours (!) of digestion, to repeat the most immediately compelling content as a stream of advice. This seems to be a trend among Millennials, and Hardy is one of the trend-setters. (Not to turn this review into a wider criticism of the sub-culture, but isn't this approach why one can't throw a stone online without hitting a 30-year-old who presents himself or herself as a wise sage with profound advice?)

What jumped out at me in the first chapters is the lack of integration, the atomization: it is a disconnected stream, not a theory or a whole. There is no philosophical integration, and, tellingly, when the text does get into philosophical topics it is truly sophomoric. The biggest example of this is Hardy's treatment of free will, which is an apparent attempt to give a theoretical foundation to his theme. Hardy sets up quite the straw man, misconstruing free will as the ability to do or become whatever one wants, whenever one wants -- so of course he ends supporting determinism, including the (obscene) notion that individuals do not alter history because rather events and context determine human action. Incredibly, Hardy claims to not have landed in determinism here, but to have risen above or combined the two alternatives.

The theme of the book is that to truly alter ourselves, we should use our will power (free will!) to alter our environment in ways that will compel us to behave differently. My example: if you want to learn French, don't plan to self-study it each day, because you'll almost definitely give up down the line. "Will power doesn't work." Instead enroll in a class, because just staying in the class, showing up each week and doing the assignments, will "force" you to learn French. (Sounds like the model for college, doesn't it? We could all just buy the textbooks and study them ourselves. Instead we pay tens of thousands of dollars to hire people to tell us to study the textbooks.)

That is indeed a powerful idea. There are other compelling ideas throughout the book, but I can't say that I learned from it anything else that supports the theme.

198 people found this helpful

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Poor execution

I rarely write reviews, but this one needed one because I purchased this book from the positive reviews. There is no possible way the good reviews are not from insiders or friends of the author.

The author should not have narrated his book. He also should have edited out unnecessary sentences and narratives or hired a good editor. Mr Hardy committed almost every logical fallacy trying to support his premise.

The book and his concepts had lots of potential. It was very painful to finish the book.

Save your time.

Book summarized for you.

You are the product of your environment.

266 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Willpower still required

Everything he suggested requires willpower. Change your environment? Yup, willpower still required. Want to become an entrepreneur? Willpower. Want to buy a Tesla? Willpower.

36 people found this helpful

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Redundant

The first time you read that your environment basically controls your actions you can put this book down. The author has interesting anecdotes. However, the content of this book is so repetitive I couldn't even finish it, and that's unusual for me. I'm sure this book was lengthened because that's what publishers seem to like, but in my opinion, it should have been about two chapters.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 01-07-19

Great Content

Not sure why other reviewers seem critical of the author's reading. His enunciation is occasionally odd, but he seemed like a pretty average audible voice performer to me.

In any event, his content makes it well-worth putting up with some minor enunciation issues. Of the 60 odd books I've finished in the last year, this stands out. If I were to choose one book to use in organizing my daily life from those I've read in the last year, this would likely be the one.

9 people found this helpful

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Practical and inspiring book! Nice work

Great book with a lot of practical and often overlooked opportunities to enhance your chances of success however you define that through improving your environment through intentional design!

12 people found this helpful

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Creating an environment for success

How to get past the guilt of failed goals by designing your environment to make them happen. The author shows examples of how we step to a higher level under the right circumstances. He teaches how to build your environment to fulfill your goals and purposes.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Opened up a whole new world.

What if I had been beating myself up for years for no reason? "I' don't have the work ethic." "I'm lazy, undriven." "I don't have the drive." "I don't have what it takes, I'm not good enough". What if It were none of those things? What if I was put into far from optimal, even seriously net negatively productivity environments?
This book changed my life and the way I looked at myself. It caused me to question the deeply rooted shame in myself that caused me to believe I was a hardwired failure. I can't stress enough how important the idea that this book has conveyed to me that helped the way I look at myself. Maybe I'm not inherently a failure and that if I just reshape my habits, my thought process, and my environment, I can become 100x more productive. (Not an exaggeration). Maybe I can go to college, and complete college. Though practical life engineering. By cleaning up my life in a real way.

I've read many self help books and the two great flaws most of them share is this: 1. Filler; Taking a decent idea and stretching it 200 pages (it drags). 2: It's full of guru mumbo jumbo. ("YOU HAVE TO WANT IT AS BAD AS YOU WANT AIR ((What??)))
This book doesn't have either of those problems. It's to the point, backed by science, and has intensely valuable practical application. This book ranks in my top 2, and honestly, it might be number 1.

Thank you for the audiobook, Benjamin Hardy.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator

The book seemed good, but I couldn’t get over the narrator’s voice. I recommend reading this book instead.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

This book have completely shifted my morning routines and redefined how I approach commitment. What an amazing resource! I HIGHLY recommend.

5 people found this helpful