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

by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.

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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.

Customer Reviews

Book is wonderful, but audiobook has NO chapters!

I bought this to listen to while I exercise and work, but there are no chapter markers! Every time I charge my iPod I have to start all over again at chapter 1. It is SO annoying. I am forced to listen to it on my laptop where I can scroll through the chapters I have already listened to.

That said, the book is extremely helpful. Unlike a lot of self help books, it doesn't tell you to just do this and that, it actually tells you HOW to do this and that, and gives you little practice things to build up willpower. I highly recommend it!

Just don't buy the audio version until they get chapter markers put in.


I have not purchase this audio book but I have read the book. It was very practical and insightful. I highly recommend this book if you want to build your will-power.

You will find there is no scientific jargon and it is easy to understand. It was written for the layperson in mind in my opinion.

I would have prefer a female voice for this audiobook, but that is my bias. I hope you will enjoy this book.

Self-help book meets scientific research & practicality

I listened to this book on my commute and found myself looking forward to my drive each do to listen. Though the book is somewhat meant to be digested a chapter and a week at a time, I found I could listen and pull out what I needed in a couple of weeks.

I purchased the book after following Kelly on Twitter, and figured if her tweets were this entertaining, her book must be good too. I found myself beginning to look at my own actions/thoughts/and desires differently after first hearing about the research, and then applying it to my own life. My knowledge of dopamine's true affect on the brain was discovered along with research backing up her claims.

Her grasp of science, will-power, and ability to write to an audience looking for help with their own will-power struggles were evident throughout. From simple tips like waiting 10 minutes before indulging in another piece of chocolate cake to more challenging tasks like getting to meet and think about your "future self" are introduced as ways to help you get your long-term ambitions to take president over your short-term impulses.

A marvelous read that I can't wait to introduce to my wife, and as I'm finding everyone else I talk about.

Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It  (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $20.95
  • Narrator: Walter Dixon
  • Published: 2012
  • Category: Science
  • Provider: Gildan Media, LLC
  • Presented by

Customer Ratings