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The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It | [Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.]

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

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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, listeners 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 listeners with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.

©2011 Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"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 best-selling Brain Lock)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2087 )
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  •  
    E. Heard Greensboro, NC 08-13-12
    E. Heard Greensboro, NC 08-13-12 Member Since 2011

    Mom of Twins

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You'll learn a little more about yourself"
    If you could sum up The Willpower Instinct in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, illuminating, useful


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning how willpower can be strengthened and why it fails me around chocolate.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Walter Dixon?

    Yes--my 3 stars were because Kelly Mcgonigal is female. It bugged me that a man read it, not a woman.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Why your willpower fails you and how to fix it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart auckland, New Zealand 08-13-12
    Stuart auckland, New Zealand 08-13-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Suprisingly good read."
    Would you listen to The Willpower Instinct again? Why?

    I'm not a big one for self help type books anymore, so started this with some apprehension, but I couldn't find anything else, and I needed to download it quick to start a car journey. I was surprised and pleased! The book takes a much more scientific approach with frequent reference back to results of studies. I enjoyed the format which repeated each chapter, and found out something new (and somewhat surprising) in nearly every chapter.

    This triggered several conversaions with other people afterwards, and healthy discussion - that's always a good sign. It makes you think.

    Well worth the read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cory Beeville, TX, United States 08-13-12
    Cory Beeville, TX, United States 08-13-12 Member Since 2006

    I'm a 36 yr. old master of no paticular trade, but currently working in the oil patch. I'm not very critical and love to consume audiobooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you're reading this headline then buy the book"

    This book has the power to radically change lives. At worst it will help you to understand the do nothing instinct that rules our lives. It is by far and away the most transformative book I've read. Please don't pass it by.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shelley watford city, ND, United States 08-11-12
    shelley watford city, ND, United States 08-11-12
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    "very enlightening"
    Where does The Willpower Instinct rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This had been as interesting as the power of habit, slightly more interesting because of thr personal challenges along the way


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Learning how science can prove how you can improve your will power, actually changing your brain was amazing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Auckland, New Zealand 08-10-12
    Sarah Auckland, New Zealand 08-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "OMG, a self help book that actually works"
    Would you listen to The Willpower Instinct again? Why?

    I'll be listening to it regularly to get a top up of the logic about why will power is hard and how to outthink your internal saboteur. So easy to digest as an audiobook and so sensible. Has changed my week since I started listening.


    Which character – as performed by Walter Dixon – was your favorite?

    He has a lovely voice and makes the book seem conversational.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 08-06-12
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2011

    I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite my short time.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful book!"

    Great book. It grabbed my attention from the start till the end. Easy listening, with great information about will power. I listen to it in 2 days and will listen again.
    Buy this book. I recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Tracy, CA, United States 07-30-12
    Phillip Tracy, CA, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A brain, "how things work" book,"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Willpower Instinct to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, but i can see how the audio version would get you through the beginning which is slow, but necessary.


    What did you like best about this story?

    description in layman's terms of how drive affects our decisions, Thus providing an insight as to what you may "want" is driven artificially by advertising and marketing.giving a conscious changing knowledge that can assist you in everyday life.


    What does Walter Dixon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I think it enhances the examples and assists in interpreting the the story by providing emphasis through energy delivery.


    Any additional comments?

    A must read for us that are driven by our instincts, having an understanding of those instincts can help to develop new ones than can help you meet your goals. Providing the tools to recognize what is manipulating you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tedd United States 07-29-12
    Tedd United States 07-29-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Game Changer"
    Where does The Willpower Instinct rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Blends cutting-edge research with timely, humanistic, and frequently humorous narrating to make one of the top "must reads" of the past two decades. A truly important book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-20-12
    Tanya Vancouver, BC, Canada 07-20-12

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Great Tips"

    Overall enjoyed this book, and some of the willpower tips in it. I took notes on ideas that resonated with me and have applied a few, and already I feel they are making a difference. If you genuinely want to increase your willpower the tools provided here are simple and seem to be effective. I am very happy to have them in my 'arsenal' and I dont hesitate to recommend a buy on this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renata Montreal, QC, Canada 07-12-12
    Renata Montreal, QC, Canada 07-12-12
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    "Great insights. Thought-provoking content."
    Would you listen to The Willpower Instinct again? Why?

    I already am listening to it again! The information in the Willpower Instinct is helping me understand my habits and how to do some creative work arounds for the ones I'd like to get rid of. It's also well written and entertaining.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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