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Publisher's Summary

For years, our concept of the self and well-being has been dominated by the notion of self-esteem, while the old fashioned value of willpower has been disparaged by psychologists who argued that we’re largely driven by unconscious forces beyond our control. In Willpower Baumeister and Tierney turn this misinformation on its head to reveal self-control as arguably the single most powerful indicator of success.
Baumeister discovered that willpower actually has a physical basis to it: it is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice, and fatigued from overuse. That’s why eating and sleeping - and especially failing to do either of those - have such dramatic effects on self-control.
Yet, while self-control is biologically rooted, we have the capacity to manipulate our nature. Willpower features personal stories from entrepreneurs, executives, parents and children who have managed to do just that. The characters range from Victorian explorers to modern homemakers, from college students pulling all nighters to entertainers. The practical lessons in self-control conditioning they provide are nothing short of life changing.
Combining the best of modern social science with the practical wisdom of David Allen, Ben Franklin, and others, Baumeister and Tierney here share the definitive compendium of modern lessons in willpower.
©2011 Roy Bauemeister and John Tierney. (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Arken on 09-12-11

Self-help without the hooey

I listened to this book because of a positive review I read, and I am glad I did. I am always skeptical of the "7 Habits" kind of stuff about making improvements, so I was a little concerned about where this book might be going. But the authors aren't really pretending to change your life with extravagant claims. They lay out some of the science behind how self-control works in human beings in an accessible but not fluffy way, and they make a few practical suggestions about how you might make use of that knowledge. You could change your life considerably, but it is mostly up to you. This was an entertaining, practical look at something we all have experience with but about which most of us (until now) haven't understood very much.

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36 of 36 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Erick on 07-13-12

The Holy Grail

Okay, there is no Holy Grail!

I know that I find value in an audiobook when I have listened to it several times. This is one of a couple that fall in that category.

I've had a recent explosion in my life. I'm happier, more positive, I'm doing better, I'm getting things done, I'm more confident, and as I alluded to in a previous review, I kid you not, I've had more smiles thrown my way than in my lifetime! Yes, I've shed a few pounds, but I think there is a little positive aura following me instead of that dark cloud.

In fairness, It's not just one book. In fact, the initial spark was me needing change. I was at one of those points in life where I needed to be more productive, happier, etc. Point is, I needed to go somewhere - I just didn't know where or how, and a few books are helping me pave a path.

I got sick of listening to "rah, rah" books, instead searching for books that provide scientific proof of why I act in certain manners, many times contrary to my goals. This is one of several books that are relevant in my recent successes: Positive Intelligence, Positivity, Getting Things Done and The Power of Habit are others. These books have provided me with serious fuel, instead of just a momentary spike in motivation.

The nice thing about enjoying a book is that the author often turns you on to one or two books - Willpower made reference to Getting Things Done - that book as been good for me as well. It works for me, and that's important.

Willpower led me to change a few bad habits. It has taught me, as has The Power of Habit, that I can replace bad habits - and do so with baby steps - something that had a negative connotation in my life before for whatever reason. By performing what seem like insignificant good little habits, we start tweaking our brains and then, intelligently, ask ourselves after spotting a not-so-good habit, "Gee, why do I do this?" I've just never made this kind of progress and I feel great about it. I dislike reviewing books after just reading it because it will be more positive than the results. I'm cautious, but I've turned a corner boys and girls, and these books are helping. I plan on making some serious dents to my saboteurs. Trust me, I've had an army of them, and they've been disguised very well.

As a side note, I have found that listening to the audiobooks repeatedly helps not only my comprehension, but it's kind of like a mental workout - I'll show up where I need to with a stronger, active, positive, curious brain instead of the ol' reptile brain.


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63 of 66 people found this review helpful

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