Have you ever wondered… If you’re imprisoned in an Israeli prison, when is the best time to speak to a judge regarding your parole? Have you ever wondered… How to hold your breath for eight minutes under water or stay frozen in a block of ice for a day? Have you ever wondered… If you’re diabetic, how blood sugar affects your decision-making? Have you ever wondered… Why it’s so hard to lose weight?  Well, this book has all these answers – and more.

Baumeister and Tierney explore the sources of willpower, (also called self-discipline, self-control, or the delay of gratification) in this well researched, fun-to-read book.  If you are the kind of person who doesn’t feel like he has willpower, this book will teach you how to build it. Baumeister and Tierney say there are two reliable and consistent factors for success in life.  The first is intelligence.  There is not much you can do about that.  Intelligence is largely inherited and there is an upper limit on how much you can modify it.  The second is willpower.  Willpower is like a muscle.  The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Baumeister and Tierney give great evidence for how you can build your willpower muscle.  But like a muscle, it can become fatigued (called ego depletion). Baumeister and Tierney give advice on when to recognize that your willpower muscle is being fatigued.

I love this book for all of those reasons but one more. Baumeister and Tierney take a baseball bat to the intellectually bankrupt concept of self-esteem. Self-esteem is the popular notion that children have to feel good about themselves for no particular reason.  Any book that takes that silly idea out back and gives it a thorough beating, is automatically a favorite. Baumeister and Tierney give excellent evidence on how, through the self-esteem movement, we have created a generation (or two) of self-entitled narcissists.  Further, they give great evidence on why practical success depends on feeling good about accomplishments.

I recommend it thoroughly, you will enjoy it and your life will be better.

Quibble – none.