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The Willpower Instinct Audiobook

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

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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

4.3 (4899 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Leslie 10-01-12
    Leslie 10-01-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not My Cup of Tea"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The narration was not my cup of tea. I should have listened to the sample first. The book does not properly flow for an audio book. However I do believe with the proper narration and speaking rhythm the one would better appreciate/grasp the contents.


    What was most disappointing about Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.’s story?

    I very much appreciate research and scientific findings, however excessive amount of scientific stories/findings overtake the main topics. I wish the book was designed to first introduce the topic of the chapter, outline why the topic is relevant to willpower, and lastly add scientific findings and how people overcame/used this information. This book does the opposite and does not draw the listener into the message.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I feel this voice was not appropriate for this book. The voice was an immediate turnoff for me.


    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Melbourne, Australia 07-15-12
    James Melbourne, Australia 07-15-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very enjoyable read!"

    I learnt a lot about myself and why we make the decisions that we do...even to our own detriment. Must read.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare United States 02-06-13
    Clare United States 02-06-13
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    "Great book, lame narration"
    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Walter Dixon?

    Kelly McGonigal! It's a huge opportunity lost to have this fantastic book narrated by Dixon's monotonous drone. This book was written by a brilliant woman, and it would add a lot to have her reading it.


    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill M. Stecher Fullerton, CA USA 10-24-12
    Jill M. Stecher Fullerton, CA USA 10-24-12 Member Since 2016

    jillmo16

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    "Great material- horrible narration."
    What did you love best about The Willpower Instinct?

    This information offered in the book is excellent. Very thought provoking and useful.


    What other book might you compare The Willpower Instinct to and why?

    The Power of Habit-The Power of habit gives lots of information on habits, this book gives you the skills to act on the information.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was slow and annoying. I found myself regularly tuning out and having to go back. If given a do over I would much rather read the book than listen to it. Also, interestingly- the author of the book has a better voice. Not sure why SHE didn't narrate it herself.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No- too much to take in all at once. Best to digest the information and try bit by bit to enact in your own life.


    22 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ethan 01-12-13
    Ethan 01-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ok book, bad narration"

    Several practical ideas. Anecdotes were average. I'd like it better with a different narrator. Walter Dixon sounds boring, stuffy and unenthused. You may want to hold off until using your credit until you have a specific willpower challenge in mind.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 07-31-12
    Lynn 07-31-12
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    "When "Just Do It" Doesn't Do It"

    Just about the time you think that there is nothing in self-help books, a number appear applying current neuroscience research to personal development. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, is a thought provoking and helpful addition to this emerging genre. In The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, she defines willpower and reveals what we are coming to understand about how it works. More importantly, she tells readers how current research can be used to advantage. For example, will power is limited and works best under certain conditions. Feeling bad causes use to give in to circumstances. Inner acceptance improves outer control. Each chapter is complete in itself which is helpful. This is a very informative helpful little book worth the time and effort to complete it. Have a pencil at hand to take notes as you turn the pages. The reading of Walter Dixon is a plus.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ashley Atwood, KS, United States 06-15-16
    ashley Atwood, KS, United States 06-15-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Listen! Scientific and practical"

    For me, the big takeaway is that Will power is like a muscle to be exercised and strengthened. Self control is not only important to have personally, but is also quite contagious (so it's important to have some AND surround yourself with people who have some.)
    The Scientific studies are insightful and the practical application is helpful. I love that this is based on a college course that has been taught several times, so the author knows what is helpful and interesting. The anecdotes about her students add a personal touch that I enjoyed.
    It was very fascinating to hear about all the different reasons we seem to run out of Willpower and the psychology of our justifications.
    I really enjoyed this book. it was easy to follow and fascinating. The information was laid out in an entertaining and insightful manner. The narrator was great. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 01-13-16
    Simone 01-13-16 Member Since 2016

    Follow me on Goodreads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Practical"

    This book was recommended to me by a friend after I told him how I’m very good at not buying junk food when grocery shopping, but when I throw a party I go nuts and pig out … especially on chips!! In fact, I use the excuse of the party to buy a separate bag just for me!!

    Ok, I can see how that would appear to be a lack of willpower… but I maintain that it’s not! I think it’s a less than monthly reward for showing all that willpower at the grocery store on a weekly basis.

    I decided to get the book anyway because I really believe that even if you are not looking for self-improvement, a nugget of good advice can come from anywhere and make a positive difference in your life. As predicted, the book was essentially all about identifying your triggers and understanding your motives; but not solely… I especially enjoyed learning about how I am being socially engineered into making choices that I think I am making of my own free will.

    I found some of the tricks and hints practical, but I still maintain that abstaining from a bag of delicious Wavy Lay’s except for when I am throwing a party fits in perfectly with the demonstrated strategies.

    It’s a good book to have as a resource if I ever really do feel like I am struggling with willpower. If my chips turn into a weekly irresistible indulgence, this book will most definitely come in handy!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 08-06-12
    Andy 08-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Follow your instinct, avoid this book."

    I teach behavior change so I read books like this. This one was painfully slow even using the faster feature on the iPod. It was also generally useless.
    The amazing info revealed is that it's good to relax, and sleep, and be healthy, and maybe meditate, etc. There are better books available to explore those obvious topics.
    It eventually got into some interesting psych studies with counterintuitive findings but these were not Earth-shattering or terribly practical, and they contradicted each other: willpower is like a muscle, so if you're trying to lose weight, you should put a bowl of candies on your desk at work to challenge yourself----but wait--- willpower is like a gas tank you don't want to deplete, so if you want to lose weight, you should keep candies hidden so they are harder to get at.
    Brilliant!
    I guess the author didn't have the willpower to read her own book.

    20 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ,Louis-Philippe NOTRE-DAME-DU-PORTAGE, QC, Canada 04-09-12
    ,Louis-Philippe NOTRE-DAME-DU-PORTAGE, QC, Canada 04-09-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A few good tricks"
    What did you like best about The Willpower Instinct? What did you like least?

    The distinction between pleasure itself and the


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    Easy to follow, with weekly assignments.


    What three words best describe Walter Dixon’s voice?

    Encouraging, paternal, sounds like a good patient teacher


    Did The Willpower Instinct inspire you to do anything?

    It helped me with my weight loss but I'm getting ready for the REAL challenge: stopping cigarettes!


    Any additional comments?

    I want to go back to it for a re-listen,

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
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  • SaiKiran
    1/21/16
    Overall
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    Story
    "life changing when these principles are applied! ."

    it's so good and intense that I bought both audio and kindle version to make it a serious study.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • B3rn41987
    uk
    12/12/15
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    "Must read"

    I have bought this audio book some time ago but began listening only two weeks ago. Since then I listened it 5 times! Some of the subject is not knew. Many of us either read or heard it, but the best part of this book is the mini assignments where you can test yourself! Also the book not only teaches but gives you the scientific research behind the taught subject. Finally the narrator is definitely contributing! His cool and soft narration makes this brilliantly written book to be a must listened book!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • john allen
    9/15/15
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    "Really enjoyed"

    a new take on willpower . willpower explained in a psychological way . A must read for people who want more willpower

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    9/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Lots of Great Strategies For Getting Stuff Done"

    I was quite skeptical about this book as I am of all self-help books. It does have a couple of the classic "self-help" mumbo-jumbo pitfalls, but it really does seem to be a genuine how-to guide for applying the experimental work in behavioural psychology to self-control challenges. I found the writing to be good, the experiments interesting and well explained, and the conclusions to be clever and applicable.

    I think an example is best. One chapter is about how people tend to overestimate their abilities in the future - e.g. I can smoke a cigarette now because tomorrow I will quit. This is in comparison to the fact that people tend to be the same over time (and will tend to continue to smoke!). So how to deal with this excuse making? The method suggested in this book is instead of trying to stop doing something, or start doing something, you should try and reduce the variability of something. For example, agree with yourself that if you smoke ten cigarettes today, then you will also smoke ten tomorrow and the next day etc. In this way you don't let yourself lie and say tomorrow I'll be better, you are forcing yourself to be as bad tomorrow as you are today. It's a simple trick, but one that I've already used to improve on something I'd been stuck on.

    The book is like this - a facet of human self-control, experiments examining behaviour and suggested ways to use these experiments to improve your self-control. It is interesting, well written and full of good ideas. Well worth listening if you have self-control issues like me!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mervyn
    3/28/15
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    Story
    "Will Power Is Powerful!"

    Kelly McGonigal has broken down this subject into manageable pieces of information. The book is brilliantly presented and the ideas are strung together in an extremely logical and clear way. The idea that Will is not just Will, but Won't and Want is Awesome! Thank you, but Professor McGonigal! A fantastic "read" Mervyn Barrett

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Buyer
    5/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So much more than the title"
    If you could sum up The Willpower Instinct in three words, what would they be?

    Illuminating and Informative


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a very thorough book and touches on many relevant subjects, all to do with our brains and how they work.


    What about Walter Dixon’s performance did you like?

    Walter Dixon's performance was just right - soft and understated, allowing the words to speak for themselves


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Victims of our own mentality . . . .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Enjoyable Read!"

    I really enjoyed the Willpower Instinct. It is definitely one of those books or audiobooks in this case that you want to listen to again and again. Her writing style is easy and enjoyable to follow and keeps you wanting more and the research she has performed is really incredible. A must read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Blackburn, United Kingdom
    5/31/12
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    Fantastically helpful book-easy to listen to and has homework activities that you can apply between chapters to see if her evidence based suggestions work.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Master
    London, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Marvelously effective!"

    This is a great read. After reading just the title and synopsis on the cover it gave me the belief and will that I need not listen to the book at all.



    Marvelously effective!

    0 of 8 people found this review helpful

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