Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: The Willpower Instinct

Here's something interesting about me: I used to have so much willpower that I would get a stick of rock candy (BEST. TREAT. EVER.) and make it last for over a MONTH. Seriously. I would take one tiny little crystal, eat it, savor it, and put the stick back in its baggy until I could enjoy a piece the next day. My mom would find Halloween candy a few days before the NEXT Halloween and make me throw it out if I wanted to trick-or-treat for more.


Now, so help me if a block of cheese enters this house, because it will be gone muy rapido.

The BlogHer Book Club offered me a copy of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More if It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., to review, and after being wildly offended (Me? Why do you think I need to work on my willpower?) I agreed, because ... well, you heard about the cheese.

Now, I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of self-help books, mostly because of the defensiveness I already mentioned, but I'm also just not much of a fan of non-fiction these days as I used to be. So, if a "self-help" book can get me interested enough to actually describe it as a page-turner, I'd say we have a winner.

I'm not going to outline any of the specific information or strategies that the author offers*, because that seems mean to give away the reason people would have to buy and read the book, but I will tell you that what she offers is fascinating -- all the information on how the brain works, why we feel what we do, and how to shift that thinking -- I really enjoyed it all. One of my favorite features was an end-of-chapter recap: The main idea and willpower challenges to try. it makes it easy to flip back to all the main points, remind you what the chapters were about, and get it all fresh in your head again. She also mentions that the book is written to be read over the course of ten weeks, as if you were taking her course on willpower, reading one chapter a week Since I didn't have ten weeks to read the book before I reviewed it, I didn't, but I certainly intend to. I think it will be a great experiment for the new year to go back through and re-read it over ten weeks and really focus on that week's challenge. I'll let you know in ten weeks how things are going. :)

*Okay, maybe just one -- I love that she reiterates what many before her have said -- dieting is bad for you! She does a great job of explaining why restricting leads to failure in most cases, but she also goes on to give you strategies to use instead (so I can't just say "dieting doesn't work! Suck on that!" and eat whatever I want). 

Overall, it is a book I recommend, and I already have pages folded over so I can share information with specific people who will find it as interesting as I do. 

I was compensated for this review by the BlogHer Book Club, but all opinions are my own.

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