The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

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Avery Publishing Group, 2011 - Psychology - 275 pages
20 Reviews

The first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

After years of watching her students struggling with their choices, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., realized that much of what people believe about willpower is actually sabotaging their success. Committed to sharing what the scientific community already knew about self-control, McGonigal created a course called "The Science of Willpower" for Stanford University's Continuing Studies Program. The course was an instant hit and spawned the hugely successful Psychology Today blog with the same name.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, McGonigal's book explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. Readers will learn:

  • Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
  • People who have better control of their attention, emotions, and actions are healthier, happier, have more satisfying relationships, and make more money.
  • Willpower is not an unlimited resource. Too much self-control can actually be bad for your health.
  • Temptation and stress hijack the brain's systems of self-control, and that the brain can be trained for greater willpower.

    In the groundbreaking tradition of Getting Things Done, The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from a healthier life to more patient parenting, from greater productivity at work to finally finishing the basement.

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Review: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

User Review  - Caroline - Goodreads

This is basically a book for people in the thrall of a compulsion, habit or addiction they wish to change..... Me? I'm on a diet. And in fact much of the book was geared towards people dieting. It's ... Read full review

Review: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

User Review  - Nate Q - Goodreads

Great book with actionable items and some counter-intuitive advice. It applies to so many aspects of our daily lives. Here are my takeaways: 1. People who think they are invincible/impervious are the ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Kelly McGonigal, PH.D., is an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University, as well as a health educator for the School of Medicine's Health Improvement Program. She is also the author of Psychology Today's "Science of Willpower" blog and lives in Palo Alto, California.

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