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Microsoft Research Video 153981: Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

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Popular Psychology Zoom Zoom. Baumeister Author , John Tierney Author. Availability Special Order item not currently available. We'll try and order for you. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Share. This book reveals the secrets of self-control. Here Roy Baumeister, one of the world's most esteemed and influential psychologists, and journalist John Tierney, turn this notion on its head.

Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength (Book Summary) by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney

They show us that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. The latest laboratory work shows that self-control has a physical basis to it and so is dramatically affected by simple things such as eating and sleeping - to the extent that a life-changing decision may go in different directions depending on whether it's made before or after lunch.


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  • Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength (Book Summary) by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney.

Based on years of psychological research and filled with practical advice, this book will teach you how to gain from self-control without pain, and discover the very real power in willpower. The results are nothing short of life-changing. Your Name. S o, I could write this review.

Or then again, I could clean the kitchen cupboards, or not deal with my tax bill, or stare blankly into space. Or, you know, google some more. Because where, I ask, does one find the willpower to deal with not one but two new books on willpower?

It's a procrastinator's recipe for disaster. You wait forever for a book to tell you how to exercise more, and drink less, and develop an iron self-control and God-like levels of self-discipline, and then two come along at once. So how do you choose between them? In McGonigal's corner is the fact that her book claims a can-do, change-your-life sort of attitude.

Roy F Baumeister and John Tierney, meanwhile, offer the insights of a psychologist who's done some of the leading research into the field Baumeister , alongside a New York Times science columnist Tierney who can presumably spot a lucrative gap in the publishing market for well-written pop science with attitude, particularly that aimed at the new-year, new-you crowd.

Or could staring into space actually be the wisest option? Possibly, according to Baumeister.

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Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength by Roy F. Baumeister - ISBN: (Penguin)

Having too many choices, and being forced to make too many decisions, can seriously dent your willpower, a process Baumeister calls "ego depletion", a factor, the authors suggest, in the lack of self-control demonstrated by "deciders" such as Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton. Choosing gifts for their wedding registry, for example, made women's self-control fall through the floor. In an experiment conducted in Baumeister's lab, being forced to decide between different sheets and toasters led to a wholesale collapse of the will.

In a standard willpower test keeping your hand immersed in ice cold water , these women cracked long before the non-choosing control group. The grandaddy of willpower science is the "marshmallow experiment". Devised by Walter Mischel in , it's a classic of social psychology and the bedrock for all later research on willpower and self-control.

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In it, researchers left four-year-olds alone in a room with a marshmallow and told them that if they could wait until the experimenter returned they'd get two. If you watch the footage on YouTube of this, you'll see the extreme toll this takes on some of the children although you can't help but admire the boy who picks up his marshmallow, licks it and then replaces it , but it's what happened next that gave researchers a new insight into the workings of character. Baumeister and Tierney tell the story of how this happened.

The children happened to attend the same school as Mischel's daughters and he began hearing stories about them and happened to notice that the children who'd eaten the marshmallow seemed to get into more trouble. He and his researchers tracked them over years and discovered that the children who held out the longest in the test did better academically, earned more, weighed less, had more successful relationships and were less likely to have problems with drug abuse.