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

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

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by Kelly McGonigal
     
 

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Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from

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Overview

Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. For example, 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.
  • 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, but the brain can be trained for greater willpower
  • Guilt and shame over your setbacks lead to giving in again, but self-forgiveness and self-compassion boost self-control.
  • Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control.
  • Willpower failures are contagious—you can catch the desire to overspend or overeat from your friends­­—but you can also catch self-control from the right role models.
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 losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What a liberating book! McGonigal explains the scientific reality of willpower, exploding the myths 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

"The Willpower Instinct is a new kind of self-help book. Using science to explain the why and strategies for the how, McGonigal has created a must-read for anyone who wants to change how they live in both small and big ways."
Book Page

"Each chapter could stand on its own as something helpful, but taken as a whole, this book could be downright life-altering. If you are trying to lose weight, become more successful at work, rid yourself of toxic habits...heck, if you're HUMAN, you need to read this book."
Library Thing

“This book has tremendous value for anyone interested in learning how to achieve their goals more effectively. McGonigal clearly breaks down a large body of relevant scientific research and its applications, and shows that awareness of the limits of willpower is crucial to our ability to exercise true self control.”
—Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D., co-author of You Are Not Your Brain and author of bestselling Brain Lock
 
” **** out of four.”
 —USA Today Book Review
 
“A fun and readable survey of the field, bringing willpower wisdom out of the labs.”
TIME magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583335086
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/31/2013
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
49,919
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"What a liberating book! McGonigal explains the scientific reality of willpower, exploding the myths 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

"The Willpower Instinct is a new kind of self-help book. Using science to explain the why and strategies for the how, McGonigal has created a must-read for anyone who wants to change how they live in both small and big ways."
Book Page

"Each chapter could stand on its own as something helpful, but taken as a whole, this book could be downright life-altering. If you are trying to lose weight, become more successful at work, rid yourself of toxic habits...heck, if you're HUMAN, you need to read this book."
Library Thing

“This book has tremendous value for anyone interested in learning how to achieve their goals more effectively. McGonigal clearly breaks down a large body of relevant scientific research and its applications, and shows that awareness of the limits of willpower is crucial to our ability to exercise true self control.”
—Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D., co-author of You Are Not Your Brain and author of bestselling Brain Lock
 
” **** out of four.”
 —USA Today Book Review
 
“A fun and readable survey of the field, bringing willpower wisdom out of the labs.”
TIME magazine

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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 The Upside of Stress and Psychology Today’s Science of Willpower blog. McGonigal lives in Palo Alto and New York City.

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The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
MomtoLab More than 1 year ago
I've just finished reading this and plan to start and read it again because it is chock-full of great info and helpful suggestions. These are "real" suggestions that are doable and backed up by research, not the typical self-help psychobabble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I now have the willpower to now write a review. This book helped me understand why I was failing to reach my goals. So far have lost 6 pounds in 8 days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Change is definitely all in the way you choose to perceive it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very easy to read, with a very good common sense approach.
fjludwig More than 1 year ago
This was much, much better than the typical self-help books I've read in the past.  I heard the author on a local morning radio show and decided to give the book a read--it is a good thing I did.   This book will help you change the way you think about things--especially challenging things you really do not want to do (stop eating sweets for me).  I cannot recommend this one enough if you are trying to stop smoking, lose weight, etc.   It is very good and practical.
Svalladrs More than 1 year ago
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
Ohaeri More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. Convincing, encouraging, easy to understand; entertaining and practical. I recommend this book to anyone who feels like they can't get things done. It will help.
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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!
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