I have been reading some non-fiction books lately – which might also be considered self-help books – due to that maker of infinite to-be-read piles, also known as GoodReads. I listened to The power of habit (review) and since then, GR has been recommending to me other books related to that one and I’ve tried some of them. Let’s see:
The power of habit talked a little about willpower, and that was a topic I had never thought about before, so I picked up this one in order to know more.
The book talks about what makes us have more or less willpower, how to exercise and increase it, and compares this concept with other aspects like self-control, self-esteem, etc. It’s really interesting, seriously, and it provides lots of examples about how our willpower works in real life.
Baumeister, in Willpower, mentions this other book, Getting things done. I know it was a bestseller some years ago and everybody knows about it, but this was the first time I heard of it, so I also picked it up, expecting some king of encouragement and positive thoughts for me to start doing the things I have to do. I was wrong.
David Allen has developed a whole system based on the fact that our brains are constantly thinking about the things we have to catch up with, even when we are actually doing other things, so it prevents you from being calm and productive in the current task. Seriously, that is exactly what happens to me all the time: when I’m studying I think about housework and when I’m ironing I think about things I have to do at the office, and so on.
Allen has created a way to have all your thoughts written down and organized, and claims that if you have a system that you trust (but not your brain), you can just work on one task without feeling overwhelmed for the others that you are not doing at that moment (wouldn’t that be WONDERFUL?).
You can get an idea of the process in this summary, but if you are interested, I recommend reading the book. You can also watch this video of the author talking about the concepts explained the main concepts of the book.
What makes me recalcitrant is that I don’t know how to apply it to my studies. I have to think deeply about it, because it talks about projects, and I think I can consider, for example, Studying lesson 1 as a project, and then divide it in actions (reading the lessons, underlining important things, writing a summary, etc). It’s a book to read twice in order to do it correctly.
PS: This leaded me to the next question: what if I implement the whole system of Getting things done (which I’m planning to do) and I have everything organized in their places, but I don’t do things? To solve this particular problem I’m reading at the moment a book titled The now habit
This is other book recommended by GoodReads after reading The power of habit, but I didn’t like it that much. It is based on tons of experiments, but in these kinds of books you expect some practical implementations in real life after every experiment, which is missing here.
No doubt that the results of the experiments are quite interesting, but in the end, I got bored of all the data, the little changes they do in the experiments, etc, and I didn’t find it very useful.
And that’s enough self-help for now.
Do you find these kinds of books helpful?