What I’m Reading: Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy

What I’m Reading: Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy

In my never-ending quest to level up, one weakness I’ve noticed is my lack of motivation to read. One bad habit that slipped into my daily routine last year was binge watching YouTube videos while making coffee. As you can imagine, one video quickly turns into two, and after awhile, I’ve spent an hour our more staring at my phone instead of doing anything productive.

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I have many friends who read a lightning speeds and can crush 100 books or more in a year. That’s not me, so I’ve decided to set myself a reasonable goal of consuming 12 books this year—a pace of just one per month. I’m not limiting myself to one type of book (e.g. non-fiction versus fiction), and I don’t yet have a backlog of books that I plan to get to this year (although I do recognize the benefits of having a good plan).

I’m, somewhat appropriately, starting the challenge off with Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discovery the Hidden Keys to Success by Benjamin Hardy. Each month, when I get started with a new book, I’m going to write a short post that answers three basic questions:

  1. Why did I choose this book (e.g. what’s going on in my life that made this book the right choice)?
  2. What do I hope to get out of reading it?
  3. What’s something insightful or impactful I’ve already read or learned from the book?

So, let’s get started.

Why did I choose to read Willpower Doesn’t Work?

The simple answer is that this book was immediately available at my library. I’ve always had a hard time finding the right book that is also available from the library. When I do happen to find a gem, the very first thing I do is use the library’s online catalog system to find other books that are similar in subject matter to whatever I’m reading. In this case, I found an anthology of articles written by Chuck Klosterman, who is a spectacular magazine feature writer (I hope he wouldn’t mind that title). The Hardy book just so happened to pop up in a related search through the library back in December, so I picked it up. I had no other agenda.

What do I hope to get out of reading Willpower Doesn’t Work?

This will definitely sound cliche given it’s the beginning of a new year, but I truly believe that there’s no such thing as a successful resolution, but people can still be successful at changing behaviors, breaking bad habits, and forming positive ones. I’m hoping that Willpower Doesn’t Work will help me get past the negativity I’ve held toward resolutions and give me some tools for following through on the projects I’d like to complete this year, something I’m notoriously poor at.

Anything insightful or impactful yet?

Hardy quotes Charles Darwin in the book’s introduction:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I started an MBA program last fall. Our first class focused on how to build, grow, and sustain innovative organizations, and every class reinforced this exact same lesson. Adaptability is a hallmark of successful leaders and companies. With classes heating up again next week and my second daughter celebrating her first birthday in February, this year will be a case study in how I’m able to be adaptable while asserting some control of the environment around me.

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