Your audiobook is waiting…

The Willpower Instinct

How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
Narrated by: Walter Dixon
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

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 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 (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"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, MD, co-author of You Are Not Your Brain and author of best-selling Brain Lock)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Most People Use the Opposite Method than Effective

I love this book. I noticed Kelly McGonigal a few years ago, noting just how normal she makes neuroscience, and how easy it is to understand it when she talks about it. Reading this book first on paper, and now returning to it with a good narrator, I started thinking of willpower as a muscle. In her usual manner, Kelly McGonigal pairs science with easy to understand examples. I love her idea that there is both "will power"; and "won't power"; and her facts about limits to both, and ways to exercise and build these muscles.

In my memory, success in willpower is quite counterintuitive for most. The best way to improve self control is to know how and why you lose your control, and furthermore, if you are kind with yourself in a change, you actually do better! I love the paradox in this!

In this book, Kelly McGonigal follows a course that she taught at Stanford, I think, on the subject of Willpower. So this is definitely applied science, in that she has had numerous students try out her method.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator sounds like a robot

Kelly should have narrated this herself. The narrator sounds like a robot and it is distracting and takes away from the book's content.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • NM
  • 06-17-19

Very insightful

I usually struggle finding things I feel apply to myself or my habits. This book is spot on for certain situations that break will power and I bet it will be for you too. download it, listen, and apply it.