This is the final post on the book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. The title says the greatest human strength, but it could be called the greatest human weakness as most of us not only fail to adequately foster willpower, but we also fail to make use of its potential. Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been “Willpower: Discovering the Greatest Human Potential.”
The book also discusses how Eric Clapton and Mary Karr finally managed to stop drinking. The exploits of David Blaine, who is perhaps the most famous current exploiter of willpower are described along with his methods for accomplishing them. However, Henry Morton Stanley makes Blaine look like a wuss when it comes to willpower. Stanley became famous by finding a Scottish Missionary in the deepest parts of Africa and saying, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” Stanley made many trips into the wilds of Africa and encountered conditions that severely challenged his willpower. But he never broke. He said, “Self-control is more indispensable than gunpowder.”
HM’s only complaint with the book is that it does not discuss the relevance of meditation and mindfulness. HM finds meditation to be a good technique for restoring willpower. And mindfulness keeps the objectives of willpower in the mind and assists in monitoring progress. Fortunately, readers of the healthy memory blog have many posts on both meditation and mindfulness.
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