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Extended Audio Sample Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, 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, Denis O’Hare Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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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.” 


  • New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Vicki | 1/30/2014

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

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