One of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists,
Roy F. Baumeister, teams with "New York Times" science writer John
Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master
In "Willpower," the pioneering researcher Roy F. Baumeister
collaborates with renowned "New York Times" science writer John
Tierney to revolutionize our understanding of the most coveted
human virtue: self-control.
In what became one of the most cited papers in social science
literature, Baumeister discovered that willpower actually operates
like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by
overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered
simply by replenishing the brain's store of fuel. That's why eating
and sleeping- and especially failing to do either of those-have
such dramatic effects on self-control (and why dieters have such a
hard time resisting temptation).
Baumeister's latest research shows that we typically spend four
hours every day resisting temptation. No wonder people around the
world rank a lack of self-control as their biggest weakness.
"Willpower" looks to the lives of entrepreneurs, parents,
entertainers, and artists-including David Blaine, Eric Clapton, and
others-who have flourished by improving their self-control.
The lessons from their stories and psychologists' experiments
can help anyone. You learn not only how to build willpower but also
how to conserve it for crucial moments by setting the right goals
and using the best new techniques for monitoring your progress.
Once you master these techniques and establish the right habits,
willpower gets easier: you'll need less conscious mental energy to
avoid temptation. That's neither magic nor empty self-help
sloganeering, but rather a solid path to a better life.
Combining the best of modern social science with practical
wisdom, Baumeister and Tierney here share the definitive compendium
of modern lessons in willpower. As our society has moved away from
the virtues of thrift and self-denial, it often feels helpless
because we face more temptations than ever. But we also have more
knowledge and better tools for taking control of our lives. However
we define happiness-a close- knit family, a satisfying career,
financial security-we won't reach it without mastering
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