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WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY: Self-Control in an Age of Excess ~Daniel Akst

We Have Met The Enemy

I want to tell you everything about this book.  Since that is not possible in a blogging post, I need to figure out a way to get your attention focused on reading this book yourself.  On recommendation of the TLC online book tours group, Penguin Books sent me a copy of this book to read.  When I saw the donut bomb on the front cover I thought, “Oh no way! I am reading about weight loss and health at this time of the year.”

I put the book aside until after the holidays.  Actually, I did just what the book said I would do and I went for the immediate pleasure of company and connection and dis-credited the future amount of time I would have to read this book. After all, it was just a non-fiction book and probably just a variation on a self help book.

The book includes weight issues as a form of slow suicide but it is about self-control.     I enjoyed reading this book so much, reading it a second time in the allotted time frame was no problem, it was pure pleasure.

Daniel Akst is a journalist who is conscientious and leads a “regular” life.  He is a gifted writer and his ability to piece together facts and history assists in making this an amazing read.  He covers Democracy, economics, health, inventions, marketing, media, mental health, medical studies, prosperity, psychology, relationships, social change, sociology, crime and the issues of self-control by including interesting literature, history, psychology, governing actions, desires, outcomes and amazingly captivating research.   As an author, he is fascinated with the issue of procrastination and as a parent he includes good intentions and childrearing supports.

Daniel Akst is a very witty writer.   I had to read the book a second time to catch so many of his funnies I missed the first time through.

Self-control is quite a tricky wicket and I am happy to say that all throughout the book there are suggestions about how to get your self-control maximized to line up with your personality; creating your success.  There are tried and true ways to guide children to maximize their growth, learning and self-control.  The future and the rewards are going to go to those who can use their own self-control to their best advantage and learn how to offer correction and rewards to the masses that will not be taught how to attain self-control.

Self-control is nearly impossible in an AGE of Excess.  The ability to delay gratification is a huge tool for success.

Self – Control is a learned skill and habit and it takes practice, practice, and more practice.   Sometimes it takes a paid specialist ( most of the wealthy folks have accountants handling their funds and estates for them and the tales of what professional writers had to do to complete their writing and works is most enlightening.)

“We are what we repeatedly do, Will Durant wrote in summarizing Aristotle on this score.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

I find it hard to have a deep thoughtful discussion with people these days. Students in classes do not want to discuss material and I keep hearing folks blame the teachers, “Oh I know of teachers who get lots and lots of discussion, it is just those who don’t know how, that are boring who complain.”  This book would say otherwise, the teacher getting the most discussion is the one who has the best sound bites, entertainment style and can key emotions – instant gratification specialists.   One is hard pressed to find someone trained in research, debate, and an excellent communicator who has the habit of thinking.  Then again you will find most of the thinker’s writing so that people will understand what they are trying to say.

Did I tell you how witty Daniel Akst is as an author?   The book is very entertaining.

Picture of all the post-it-notes I stuck in this book

Picture of all the post-it-notes I stuck in this book

Definitely a 5 Ladybug rating5 Ladybugs
This book was sponsored by TLC book tour: tlc logo

More about Daniel Akst: author

I received no compensation for doing this book review, just a copy of the book from Penguin Press. If you purchase this book from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

The Publisher is offering a free copy to any US or Canadian Commenter on this post and the drawing will be on February 1

Related Reading:
Inner Productivity
Moyers on Democracy
The Wisdom To Know the Difference

What inspires you to read a book about change, history, current events?  Looking forward to your comments.

22 Responses to “WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY: Self-Control in an Age of Excess ~Daniel Akst”

  1. Talon Says:

    Not only an age of excess, but an age of soundbytes. It seems the attention spans of everyone is so little these days. This sounds like a great read, Patricia. Thanks for recommending it!
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Broken Skins =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    This is a great read – I truly had a hard time putting it down and wished I had known so much of this information as I raised my children. Powerful work.

  2. J.D. Meier Says:

    I think the premise is powerful.

    I remember seeing some research where the key to success in life is delayed gratification. It’s the key to all our long-term achievements.

    Patricia Reply:

    delayed gratification is KEY KEY mix that with being able to think, another skill not taught much any more, then add integrate ideas ( now there is a long lost key) and finally to problem – solving…but not delaying gratification is making insurance and banking industries wealthy wealthy… and marketing people truly don’t want one to know this and please do not teach your children.

  3. Mandy Allen Says:

    You write such interesting reviews, Patricia, I want to read everything you recommend!

    Enjoy the journey.

    .-= Mandy Allen´s last blog ..Don’t over commit =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you. This was a review for a book that was being promoted, I loved it! I was surprised by it and I think it is very worthwhile.

    Since it is my blog, I do not write about books that I truly do not like – though I did several weeks ago, because I think the author is a very talented writer and we are going to see some great work in the future – I just thought her treatment of women was overdone and using poor taste.

  4. Winnie Says:

    Great review! Sounds like a very interesting and entertaining read.

    Patricia Reply:

    Welcome and I think this is a worthwhile read – very funny and the information powerful – not so relaxing a read. Reading whole books keeps the mind in shape for those thinking needs of the future and problem-solving. thank you for the kind words, I did very much enjoy this book.

  5. Arts Web Show Says:

    I rarely read books anymore.
    I should though, i used to find it relaxing. lol

    Patricia Reply:

    I think this book could assist you with your poetry and characterizations –

    Reading just helps the mind work at optimum . It used to be that folks had to read at an 8th grade level here to graduate. Now it is down to 5th grade, because they have made life too easy to opt out of being responsible and capable of thinking and problem solving…

    When my job was to teach college students how to integrate ideas and think and they started just giving me sound bites and not discussion, I started assigning books to read.

  6. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I try to teach my kids that they can’t get everything they want. I think it starts at childhood.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..No Poo No Thanks Or- How I Went 10 Days Without Shampooing =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes, I think it starts at childhood too and it is a taught skill.

    I think putting your children in private school and having them read is also a way to continue that progress towards thinking and learning, but still the vast majority of people do not do private school or teach non-instant gratification and Your children are going to have to learn how to appease, praise and discipline those who are not learning self-control…

    It is already a huge problem and getting worse all the time, because lots of folks are making big money off these folks.

    It is a very fun read this book, Thanks for coming by and commenting.

  7. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Gosh your book with all the sticky tabs looks like every book on my desk! haha! This is a delightful review and I sure will get this one! Thanks!

  8. Patricia Says:

    I think this will truly help you get the word out about your efforts and work and changing diets. Huge piece of work and very fun read

    I need to go to bed, will be over tomorrow to check out your new post – sound excellent

  9. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. gosh I’m glad you’ve got a book recommendation tab .. I’ll be back to pick the details up, when I have time to read. This sounds fascinating .. cheers Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Food- Food- Glorious food and memories and- and Part 1 ! =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    This book is fascinating and I just wanted to tell everyone everything in it – better to get folks to read it because it is good research and telling.

    Sorry I can not put you in the book draw. I need to work at updating my book list, I have some duplicates and most of 2010 are not in there YET…

  10. Patricia Says:

    or an auditory look at this book with a specific speech…on one topic


  11. Davina Haisell Says:


    I appreciate how committed you are to doing these book reviews. Books that have been written by authors who employ wit makes the reading more entertaining and for me personally, I take more of it in.

    Great pic on the cover of this book, too.

    Patricia Reply:

    It is a great cover Davina, and it is not a book about dieting. I wish I could have told everyone everything, because this is a book most of us need to read to be informed – excellent research and wit here.

    I love to read and getting great books to read and share like this one is just a piece of the best pie in town!

    Thank you for coming on by and welcome back after your break

  12. Jannie Funster Says:

    Oh, that poor little innocent maligned donut. :)

    yes, self control is worth reaching for. Not easy to do most times, but sure pays off. Discipline and self control, I could do with more in some areas, managing time better some days.

    Loving your review and post-it’s! Sounds like a real treasure of a book.


    Patricia Reply:

    This book is a gem and a fun read…I am passing it on to Library Girl…and tonight picking the book winner – You made it just in time for entree.

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