*This is a compensated review for the BlogHer book club. All opinions expressed are my own.
I'm that person that's always pushing my local book club to read more non-fiction. I also enjoy a little light neuroscience reading from time to time. However, I have to admit, I wasn't really enthused about reading The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. I mean, a self-help book that's probably all about dieting? Sounded a little boring.
My opinion completely changed by the time I was through the first chapter though. This books manages to mix humor and science without sounding forced or giving up ground on facts. It really feels like you're discussing this topic with over dinner with a very well educated, but down to earth and funny friend.
While there is a fair bit of diet talk, there are also a lot of examples about other types of willpower struggles. Things like, oh, I don't know, shutting down facebook and going to bed at a reasonable hour? Handling anxiety rather than feeding it? Instead of giving advice strictly on avoiding or overpowering your challenge, there are explanations of seemingly unrelated factors that decrease or increase your willpower and the science behind why they have an impact on your ability to say "I will..." or "I won't...." The focus is on understanding how your brain works and making it work for you rather than fighting it.
The icing on the cake is the organization of the book. Throughout the chapters, there are "under the microscope" boxes that encourage you to think about how what you just read applies to your own personal willpower challenge. Specific questions lead you to think about what the real causes and solutions are. Each chapter also ends with a chapter summary that gives you a wrap up of the information in the chapter, reminds you of those under the microscope questions to think about and gives you a few willpower experiments to improve your progress on your own challenge. The beginning of the book suggests that you only read one chapter a week so you have time to apply what you've learned and see what works for you and what doesn't. I didn't have time to take that long with the book, but I think it would be very helpful to take the suggestion and go through the book slowly while working on one specific challenge.
Join us for more discussion on the book at BlogHer.com!