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Extended Audio Sample Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Audiobook, by Roy Baumeister Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,722 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Roy Baumeister, John Tierney Narrator: Denis O’Hare Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781442345676
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For years, our concept of the self and well-being has been dominated by the notion of self-esteem, while the old fashioned value of willpower has been disparaged by psychologists who argued that we’re largely driven by unconscious forces beyond our control. In Willpower Baumeister and Tierney turn this misinformation on its head to reveal self-control as arguably the single most powerful indicator of success.

Baumeister discovered that willpower actually has a physical basis to it: it is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice, and fatigued from overuse. That’s why eating and sleeping - and especially failing to do either of those - have such dramatic effects on self-control.

Yet, while self-control is biologically rooted, we have the capacity to manipulate our nature. Willpower features personal stories from entrepreneurs, executives, parents and children who have managed to do just that. The characters range from Victorian explorers to modern homemakers, from college students pulling all nighters to entertainers. The practical lessons in self-control conditioning they provide are nothing short of life changing.

Combining the best of modern social science with the practical wisdom of David Allen, Ben Franklin, and others, Baumeister and Tierney here share the definitive compendium of modern lessons in willpower.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating account of the exciting new science of self-control, told by the scientist who made it happen and the journalist who made it news. Sinfully delicious—once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.” 

    Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling On Happiness

  • “Baumeister and Tierney have produced a very fine work—clear and succinct, based on solid research, and with good anecdotal material about magician/performance artist David Blaine, singer Eric Clapton, and writers Anthony Trollope and Raymond Chandler, among others. This should prove helpful for those who are trying to make and keep resolutions.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Baumeister and Tierney afford readers numerous paths to put their feet on the higher ground of self-control.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “If the book weren’t so lucid, it would be tempting to dismiss it as hokum. But it’s hard to ignore or ridicule the ideas here. In fact, they seem not just plausible but blindingly obvious.” 

    Booklist

  • New York Times bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janna | 2/14/2014

    " Wow, this book is loaded with information! But that's not all. It's written in a way that presents phenomena rather as something new and interesting than school-like lists of keywords and short descriptions. This is very near to How to -books, but Baumeister's style of giving you the answer on "how to build my willpower-muscle" lies hidden in the researches and short historical stories. Leaves the reader to think about the daily choices and how much energy those take. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Uyanga | 2/13/2014

    " Overall, a great review of interesting studies and findings by Baumeister et al. But the researcher-journalist collaboration in this case did not work as well as it did for Freakonomics, mostly because the researcher's voice is missing. As a result, the writing feels poppy; though the details on specific findings are described well, there is no central thesis; etc. Still, a thoroughly enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/2/2014

    " While it is by no means a self-help book, nor it that the intent, it certainly gives you perspective and scientific credibility without bogging you down on TOO much of the scientific research findings. An interesting commentary not only about why we do the things we do, but how culture and biology influence one another in unforeseen ways. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki | 1/30/2014

    " Not what you would think from the title - I really enjoyed this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine Nelson | 1/6/2014

    " I like what I read, but hilariously enough, I had a hard time getting myself to finish. I think because it touched some raw nerves, and I would've rather been knitting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 11/25/2013

    " Great insights into how we are affected by willpower everyday. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 11/10/2013

    " What do Henry Morton Stanley and Eric Clapton have in common? Willpower! If you have a tendency toward hyperbolic discounting of the future then you may want to learn more about setting bright lines to replace those fuzzy boundaries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raghu | 9/8/2013

    " Willpower made easy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nithin Thompson | 8/10/2013

    " Read this on tape, fantastic research and super practical! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ray | 6/27/2013

    " Interesting and well done. Makes social science experiments interesting and very readable for the non-scientist. Some good recommendations for people trying to improve their self-regulation come near the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Bond | 6/12/2013

    " Fun! Gives a lot of hints about how to trick ourselves into productivity - super useful and told through many different vignettes about how people achieve success. I read this in tandem with my fiance which made it even more fun. Overall, Great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 12/11/2012

    " I didn't anticipate reading this over Thanksgiving break but maybe it helped me from getting that 3rd helping of stuffing. I liked how the authors tied the research into real life scenarios. Of course there were lots of obvious strategies but I picked up a few ideas. I enjoyed this read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gena Divine | 11/20/2012

    " Fascinating! I took notes! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 10/7/2012

    " These dudes are 420-friendly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K8 Rowan | 5/5/2012

    " This book changed my ability to self regulate. It is amazing. It is quite scientific so if you are looking for a self-help book I wouldn't classify this in that genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jide Adefope | 5/2/2012

    " Informative on the importance of will to self-improvement! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/16/2012

    " Found this really interesting and very easy to read. He has a very nice mix of anecdotes, research and implications. It's pretty compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Intan Gustiarti | 11/10/2011

    " This book is very interesting, the most interesting non-fiction book I have ever read. It surely take into practice the very main idea they talking about, willpower. Made me rediscovered my sometimes lost strength, I find this book really makes sense to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/8/2011

    " I was fascinated by this book and the research behind what builds willpower and when & why we cave. I will re-read this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 10/30/2011

    " Far better researched than the average self-help book, and far more readable and useful than the average science book. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand willpower, habit formation, or dieting better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/27/2011

    " Your standard pop psychology, with a heavy Victorian emphasis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sebastian | 10/27/2011

    " I don't think there's much in this book that isn't already in the many NYT book reviews that have already come out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Intan | 10/16/2011

    " This book is very interesting, the most interesting non-fiction book I have ever read. It surely take into practice the very main idea they talking about, willpower. Made me rediscovered my sometimes lost strength, I find this book really makes sense to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 10/14/2011

    " A laymans review of current research into willpower. We only have a finite amount each day so don't use it up for trivial matters, keep some in store for the important decisions. A good sleep and adequate blood glucose are key. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 10/14/2011

    " Concise, well written and researched. Definitely worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melinda | 10/12/2011

    " Interesting. . . I would have kept reading but it was due back at the library. Will reserve again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melody | 10/11/2011

    " Excellent. And unbelievably interesting and useful, considering it's dense with scientific factoids. "

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About the Author

Roy F. Baumeister directs the social psychology program at Florida State University. He is a social psychologist who is known for his work on the self, social rejection, belongingness, sexuality, self-control, self-esteem, self-defeating behaviors, motivation, aggression, consciousness, and free will. He has written for hundreds of scientific publications and consistently ranks among the worlds most frequently cited psychologists.

About the Narrator

Denis O’Hare is one of today’s busiest actors in the film, television, and stage worlds. The Tony Award–winning actor is best known to television viewers for his recent work on True Blood as Russell Edgington, Vampire King of Mississippi.