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.
Penguin Publishing Group; December 2011
- ISBN: 9781101553732
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: The Willpower Instinct
- Author: Kelly McGonigal
In The Press
"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."
"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."
“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.”
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 Upside of Stress and Psychology Today’s Science of Willpower blog. McGonigal lives in Palo Alto and New York City.