Roy Baumeister and John Tierney:
People with stronger willpower are more altruistic. They’re more likely to donate to charity, to do volunteer work, and to offer their own homes as shelter to someone with no place to go. Willpower evolved because it was crucial for our ancestors to get along with the rest of the clan, and it’s still serving that purpose today. Inner discipline still leads to outer kindness.
I mentioned a few months ago that I was interested in reading this book and, though it’s taken me a while, I finally finished it last night.
Honestly, it’s been one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in quite a while. Each chapter is filled with so many insights on topics ranging from decision making to finances, to parenting and dieting. And, for a book of this type, it’s thoroughly practical too. I can’t remember the last time I found myself highlighting so many sections of a book.
The premise of the book is this: Willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. The latest laboratory work shows that self-control has a physical basis to it and so is dramatically affected by simple things such as eating and sleeping - to the extent that a life-changing decision may go in different directions depending on whether it’s made before or after lunch.
It was intriguing to see, as part of their conclusion, the link between willpower and altruism as quoted above. All in all, the point that the books seems to make is that if we want to have a better life, and if we want to live in a better work, then willpower needs to be a muscle that we take time to develop and build up.
All in all, highly recommended and a definite thumbs up from me.