Book Review – The Willpower Instinct

I was asked by to be part of a book club a few weeks ago. With this I must review books for compensation. All reviews are my honest opinion about the works  I have read.

This time around I was asked to read “The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It” by Kelly McGonigal, PhD.

I have to admit that when I first received this book, I read the sleeve and was turned off; not because I didn’t like what it said or because it was a bad summary, but because I knew this book would call for change in my own life. And, I was right. McGonigal does a magnificant job of offering up her advice and wisdom in a way that makes the reader WANT to change. This isn’t a “do this, and this will happen” kind of read, this is an honest explaination of why we struggle with things like self-control and willpower. My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 5 The Brain’s Big Lie: Why We Mistake Wanting for Happiness. This chapter focuses on how our brains mistake the idea of reward for possible happiness, thus causing us to most want the things that don’t always offer what we think they will.

One of my favorite quotes in the book is:

“Your willpower challenge could be something you’ve been avoiding (what we’ll call an “I will” power challenge) or a habit you want to break (an “I won’t” power challenge). You could also choose an important goal in your life that you’d like to give more energy and focus to (an “I want” power challenge”) — whether it’s improving your health, managing stress, honing your parenting skill, or furthering your career. Because distraction, temptation, impulse control, and procrastination are such universal human challenges, the strategies in this book will be helpful for any goal you choose.”

This book has an amazing way of allowing the reader to better understand how to recognize times in which they might be chasing something they shouldn’t. The book might come across as clinical for some readers. McGonigal is a doctor, so of course she focuses on the clinical aspects of her ideas in the book; however, she does so in a way that inspires the reader to learn more. As a psychology student, most of the terms in the book were familiar to me, but I think that readers of all levels and types will gain something from this book. I would recommend this book to any of my readers.

Check out Kelly McGonigal’s website, twitter, and facebook pages at the links below.  Twitter (  Facebook (

Learn more about the Willpower instinct at’s discussion forum


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