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

by Kelly McGonigal

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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101553732
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/29/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 161,281
File size: 804 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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 Joy of MovementThe Upside of Stress, and Yoga for Pain Relief. McGonigal lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Welcome to Willpower 101 1

1 I Will, I Won't, I Want: What Willpower Is, and Why It Matters 9

2 The Willpower Instinct: Your Body Was Born to Resist Cheesecake 30

3 Too Tired to Resist: Why Self-Control Is Like a Muscle 55

4 License to Sin: Why Being Good Gives Us Permission to Be Bad 81

5 The Brain's Big Lie: Why We Mistake Wanting for Happiness 107

6 What the Hell: How Feeling Bad Leads to Giving In 134

7 Putting the Future on Sale: The Economics o Instant Gratification 156

8 Infected! Why Willpower Is Contagious 184

9 Don't Read This Chapter: The Limits of "I Won't" Power 209

10 Final Thoughts 236

Acknowledgments 239

Notes 241

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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