A reading club with a view to the future

023 Benjamin Hardy: Willpower does not work

Willpower is a limited resource; focus instead on designing your environment and building habits that support your goals.



Willpower is not enough to achieve long-term success. In this book, Benjamin Hardy explains that willpower is a finite resource and that focusing on designing your environment and building supportive habits is a much more effective approach. He provides practical strategies for creating an environment that supports your goals and developing habits that help you achieve success.


Title: Willpower Doesn't Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success

Author: Benjamin Hardy

Publishing Year: 2018

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Length in hours: 5 hours and 35 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Willpower is not enough to achieve your goals.
  2. Your environment and habits play a significant role in your success.
  3. You need to design your environment to support your goals.
  4. You need to build habits that support your goals.
  5. You need to continuously make small changes to improve your environment and habits.

5 funny quotes

  1. “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
  2. “Writing a book is a terrible and exhausting experience. I love it.”
  3. “The worst thing about procrastination is that it gets in the way of taking procrastination as a serious profession.”
  4. “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”
  5. “I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right.”

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. “You’re capable of 10 times more than you think.”
  2. “To really change your life, you need to change your identity.”
  3. “To achieve what you really want, be willing to make more mistakes.”
  4. “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”
  5. “Success is not an event, it is a process.”

5 dilemmas

  1. Is willpower really the key to success, or are there other factors at play?
  2. Can you truly change your identity, or is it set in stone?
  3. How can you balance the need for discipline and routine with the need for creativity and spontaneity?
  4. Can you still achieve your goals even if you make a lot of mistakes along the way?
  5. Is clarity really achieved through engagement, or can you also find it through reflection and introspection?

5 examples

  1. Benjamin Hardy’s personal transformation through environmental design, routine and habits.
  2. How Stephen King overcame his addiction to alcohol and drugs to become a successful author.
  3. The success of Arnold Schwarzenegger in becoming a bodybuilder, actor, and politician through his determination.
  4. The story of how Muhammad Ali became a world champion boxer.
  5. The habits and routines of successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates.

Referenced books

  1. "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg
  2. "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear
  3. "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy

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“To achieve what you really want, be willing to make more mistakes.”

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