Willpower Doesn't Work Book Summary - Willpower Doesn't Work Book explained in key points
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Willpower Doesn't Work summary

Benjamin Hardy

Discover the Hidden Keys to Success

4.3 (375 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

In "Willpower Doesn't Work" by Benjamin Hardy, the author debunks the concept of relying on willpower to achieve success. He argues that the environment is the key factor to our success and offers tips on how to create one that fosters growth and success.

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    Willpower Doesn't Work
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    When trying to achieve your goals, willpower is less important than your environment.

    People often say that willpower is like a muscle; the more you use it, the more you tire it out. And like any other muscle, you can strengthen your willpower over time – so exerting self-control today will make it a bit easier tomorrow.

    So self-improvement is easy, right? To change our lives, we need to push ourselves a little bit harder every day – and before long, we’ll be ready to take on the world! Well, not exactly.

    The problem with willpower is that it’s a pretty weak muscle. Our powers of self-control are almost always exhausted these days, but that’s not our fault.

    The key message here is: When trying to achieve your goals, willpower is less important than your environment.

    Let’s consider the obesity epidemic. The facts are pretty stark: by 2025, it’s predicted that most people in the world will be overweight or obese. Is this down to a failure of willpower? Was it greater self-control that kept our ancestors skinny?

    Of course not. In the past, people didn’t need to rely on willpower to stay slim. What’s changed since then is our environment. These days, rather than working outdoors, most of us work sedentary jobs and sit at our desks all day. And the nourishment we rely on is often unhealthy food from a package.

    As the author puts it, our environment has encouraged our weight gain. But thankfully, the power of your environment can also be a force for good. How so? Consider Darwin’s distinction between natural evolution and domesticated evolution

    In natural evolution, organisms adapt to whatever situation they find themselves in. So if it’s helpful to be smaller, a species may start to shrink. Essentially, they’re forced to adapt to their environment.

    Contrast that with domesticated evolution, the evolution of animals and plants under human direction. Because we control these organisms’ environments, we can produce desirable traits that wouldn’t occur in the wild – like bigger fruits and fatter livestock. 

    When it comes to people, many of us are like animals in the wild undergoing natural evolution. We’re often unable to change our environments, so we adapt to them instead – regardless of whether this benefits us in the long run. Others do the opposite. Similar to how we treat the animals we domesticate, they design their environments so that any adaptation is actually an improvement, bringing them one step closer to their goals. 

    The trick is to design an environment that leaves you no choice but to “adapt” into your ideal self. In the blinks that follow, we’ll look at some ways to do just this.

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    What is Willpower Doesn't Work about?

    Willpower Doesn't Work (2018) sets itself firmly against orthodox opinion in the fields of productivity and self-help. Drawing on a wide range of psychological theories, as well as the stories of successful entrepreneurs, these blinks argue that when it comes to changing your life, willpower simply isn’t the answer.

    Willpower Doesn't Work Review

    Willpower Doesn't Work (2018) examines the concept of willpower and offers alternative strategies for achieving our goals. Here's why you should give this book a chance:

    • It challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding willpower and provides practical alternatives that are more effective for achieving lasting change.
    • By combining scientific research, real-life stories, and personal experiences, the book provides a compelling and relatable exploration of the topic.
    • The author's engaging writing style keeps the reader captivated throughout, ensuring that the book is both informative and enjoyable.

    Best quote from Willpower Doesn't Work

    You can adapt to whatever environment you choose.

    —Benjamin Hardy
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    Who should read Willpower Doesn't Work?

    • Master procrastinators trying to turn over a new leaf
    • Entrepreneurs trying to reach their full potential
    • Organizational leaders interested in the psychology of productivity

    About the Author

    Benjamin Hardy is a best-selling author and organizational psychologist with a PhD from Clemson University. His work has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, and Psychology Today. He is also the author of Personality Isn't Permanent.

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    Willpower Doesn't Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Willpower Doesn't Work?

    The main message of Willpower Doesn't Work is that relying on willpower alone is ineffective for achieving lasting change.

    How long does it take to read Willpower Doesn't Work?

    The reading time for Willpower Doesn't Work varies, but to get a quick understanding, you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is Willpower Doesn't Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Willpower Doesn't Work is definitely worth reading. It provides valuable insights and practical strategies for making lasting changes in your life.

    Who is the author of Willpower Doesn't Work?

    The author of Willpower Doesn't Work is Benjamin Hardy.

    What to read after Willpower Doesn't Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Willpower Doesn't Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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