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Renowned psychologist Walter Mischel, designer of the famous Marshmallow Test, explains what self-control is and how to master it.
A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behavior later in life?
The world's leading expert on self-control, Walter Mischel has proven that the ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life, predicting higher SAT scores, better social and cognitive functioning, a healthier lifestyle and a greater sense of self-worth. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught?
In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life -- from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way you think about who we are and what we can be.
Mischel, the renowned psychologist behind the now-famous marshmallow tests of the 1960s, shares the culmination of over 50 years of research on willpower and self-control in this expansive, eye-opening book. The test was simple (a choice of one marshmallow now or two later on provided the means to quantify willpower), yet the results predicted future successes and failures, such that those with self-control as children displayed similar restraint as adults. In addition to an overview of the original longitudinal study, we are given insight into the history and physiology of self-control, its manifestations and its mastery. But, somewhat surprisingly, this book is largely about the ways in which self-control can be learned at any stage in life. Indeed "marshmallows" can take on many forms, as Mischel demonstrates through case studies and more contemporary tests. All of the anecdotes here, not to mention the entire chapter on practical applications, provide insight into how we can maximize our willpower without overextending its potential. Mischel's expansive scope makes the title somewhat of a misnomer, as the book covers more than a matter of his initial experiments. To be human is to grapple with the will: this stimulating book encourages us to make mindful decisions.