David Stuart 23 January 2012 - 3:37pm
We live in a world filled with temptations and distractions, and all too often we surrender to them.
The dessert trolley takes precedence over the salad bar; the company report is sidelined in favour of updating our Twitter status; and we put off until tomorrow what we could do today. What we could all do with more of is willpower – that Victorian notion of inner strength that we can draw upon to resist temptations, overcome obstacles, and spend our time more productively. Luckily, after being out of favour for a number of years, willpower has made a comeback, and Roy F. Baumeister (a psychologist) and John Tierney (a science writer) have collaborated to write an extremely accessible book on the subject.
Willpower is important, not only because it is a trait that is regularly found to correlate with a person’s success in life, but it is an area that can be worked at and improved. Combining the latest social science research with real life examples (from David Blaine to Henry Morton Stanley) the authors make clear how willpower works. Explaining how if we use it up in one area there will be nothing left in another, and equally how improving willpower within one area of your life inevitably leads to improved willpower in other areas.
It is a popular science book rather than a self help manual, but the work will nonetheless provide the interested reader with many ideas that they can apply to their own lives.