Books, Professional Development

Book 277: The Willpower Instinct – Kelly McGonigal

McGonigal, Kelly - The Willpower InstinctThis wasn’t one of the original self-help books I set out to read this year, but one that I randomly found on the library shelf while looking for another book and I’m glad I snagged it. In case you missed it, I’ve just wrapped up a 10 week project following this book’s program and you can check it out here. I’ve also linked to each of the individual posts at the end of this post.

The book started out slower than I thought it would, but as I followed her instructions and spread it out over the ten weeks, a week per chapter, I found that it was laid out perfectly. Even though I struggled with how slow the implementation of the first bit was, it seriously helped lay the foundations for the later chapters. McGonigal clearly knows her subject matter and set it up in a way to slowly build on every thing until you were ready to tackle the more philosophical/psychological aspects.

Where McGonigal works best is in her tips and tricks for applying what you learn throughout the book. I thought they were a little too dumbed-down, but I realized in over-simplifying them she kept any distractions/unknown from entering into the equation. By saying do this and not this, she gave you specific parameters to test for your “experiments” which were excellent!

My one complaint about the book is that I would liked to have followed one person through an entire project, similar to what I did. She offered many examples, which I actually appreciated to show the breadth of what you can use these techniques for, but there was never really a this is a step-by-step guide—which less face it I would’ve complained about too! So really, there weren’t any major drawbacks to the book just a couple of things left to be desired, but she can’t do it all for us, we have to do a lot of it for ourselves!

Recommendation: I’d definitely recommend checking out this book, but I would recommend reading through it completely once and then picking out the chapters you think you need the most help with and focusing on those challenges and steps!

Opening Line: “Whenever I teach a course on willpower, the nearly universal response is, ‘Oh, that’s what I need.'”

Closing Line: “With all our human quirks and modern temptations, this is the best we can do—but when we do it with an attitude of curiosity and self-compassion, it is more than enough.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)

Check out previous weeks’ posts below:


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