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Breakdown of Will

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Ainslie argues that our responses to the threat of our own inconsistency determine the basic fabric of human culture. He suggests that individuals are more like populations of bargaining agents than like the hierarchical command structures envisaged by cognitive psychologists. This perspective helps us understand so much that is puzzling in human action and interaction: fr ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 7th 2001 by Cambridge University Press (first published 2001)
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Richard Wu
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wonder sometimes if a sufficiently advanced art critic may by the cover of a book determine its contents, which would be all the more impressive if the cover were in no way inspired by material it covered. Fortunately, our task is not so difficult. From an ocean of violet smoke is inscribed a glowing rectangle with sharp boundaries, framing a portrait of, presumably, our beloved psychologist in his younger days. His mouth is open and his teeth are faintly clenched. He stares at us, brow furrow ...more
Mark Moon
Packed with insight into the human condition. The phenomenon of hyperbolic discounting and the concept of intertemporal bargaining have enormous explanatory power, which Ainslie leverages effectively and concisely to obtain insights into psychological phenomena including willpower, pain, legalism, and empathy.
Laurie B
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A textbook-type deconstruction of the role of will, or willpower, in our decision-making processes. More specifically, whether one’s will can circumvent self-destructive behaviors. I won’t give away the punchline, but will suggest that an appropriate add-on to this book might be “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick“ by Wendy Wood. I’ve not read it yet, but plan on doing so soon!
AMS
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had high hopes but............

The book at the start was amazing and seemed to tackle all the feelings and dilemmas that an addict goes through.
But then from chapter 4 or so onwards, the book became too detailed, technical, complicated, and simply unhelpful.
I was hoping the book will get to providing a clear strategy for the addict to overcome his addiction, but this never came in the book, which was a big disappointment.

Maybe someone can come along and summarise this book in the for of an inf
...more
David Hunter
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science
A great exploration of the ideas that humans use hyperbolic discounting utility curves, and that the unitary "self" is much more like a community of drives and processes forced to share the same apparatus. Recommended for anyone interested in will power, Dan Dennett's theory of consciousness, or recent discoveries in psychology. ...more
James Kozubek
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is heady. I like it.
R
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The assumption of human rationality may be one of the most flawed assumptions in the domain of decision science. Once critique for this assumption comes from George Ainslie. George Ainslie in this book explains that our decisions are influenced by different zones of preference that exist in our behavior. He lists the following 5 zones of temporal preferences - Optimal, Compulsions, Addictions, Itches and Pains.

He argues that interests in one range of these temporal zones conflict with the inter
...more
Balaji
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The right direction in understanding self regulation.
Alex
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
The book is not altogether right, but it is hugely interesting. ...a very inspiring read.
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