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

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Overview

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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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"What a liberating book! Kelly McGonigal explains the scientific reality of willpower, exploding the myths that most of us believe. Stronger willpower-based on inspiring facts, not oppressive nonsense-is finally within everyone's reach." -Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else
From the Publisher

"What a liberating book! Kelly McGonigal explains the scientific reality of willpower, exploding the myths that most of us believe. Stronger willpower-based on inspiring facts, not oppressive nonsense-is finally within everyone's reach." -Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583334386
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/29/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 138,968
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University, and a lecturer and program developer at the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She is also the author of Psychology Today’s Science of Willpower blog and lives in Palo Alto, California.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 13, 2013

    This book is life-changing

    McGonigal nailed!,excellent research, so professional done that makes an easy read for layman`s as well for PH.Ds. To have a much better professional and family life by avoiding following the promise of reward as a guarantee of happiness, and also to stop trying to suppress our negative thoughts, emotions, and cravings. How can we do all that?. Well, Who knew that all we lack in our daily life was/is; a good-night sleep(to be our better selves); a balance diet(free of junk-food and sugar)to provided our brain with the GOOD glucose its needs daily to operate; to exercise (to load us with energy and oxygen); & meditation to quiet our minds and recharge us with a fresh flow of blood to our brain and...bingo...This was the uha moment for me. So simple, so life-changing but yet so hard to achieved, to resist temptation, to stop once and for all self-criticism, to better deal with stress. Our pre-frontal cortex can helps us get there, but it cannot do it alone. To better control our impulses that get us into trouble, we need WILLPOWER! I recommend to complement this book: -Smart Thinking. By Art markman -The power of habit. By Charles Duhigg -Quiet. By Susan Cain

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    A practice, applicable , solidly-researched self help book. NOT

    A practice, applicable , solidly-researched self help book. NOT a antidotal 'feel good' self help book, but a outlined guide to change in a persons life.
    This is how I wish other self-help books were written. Kudos McGonigal!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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