Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Willpower

In light of my weakness for marchmallows (I've now consumed 2 bags), I read the new book Willpower - Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. While I enjoyed the book, I don't recommend it. Reason is: most of the message I was looking for was contained in a very small portion of the book. However, I read a lot and I'm sure that many people will enjoy more of the book than I did.

I'm sitting upright as I type this blog entry. More on that later. The book describes research conducted by Baumeister wherein they deduced that willpower / self-control is like a muscle, inasmuch as it can be fatigued from over use. We can exercise our self-control and increase its strength. One such exercise they found to be effective, was practicing the habit of sitting up straight. They also showed that the depleted ego can be energized with a sugary treat. Diet sweeteners did not work.

He devotes chapters to several celebrities who struggle with self-control, including Oprah Winfrey, David Plaine, Drew Carey, and Eliot Spitzer. I mostly enjoyed the first few chapters, before he got into the celebrity case studies.

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