Saturday, November 8, 2014

Self-Control Can Be Learned

The Marshmallow Test, created by Mischel in the 1960s, was at the heart of an investigation of the ability of young children to delay gratification. A marshmallow was placed in front of them as they sat alone in a plain room. The child could choose to eat the one treat — or wait about 15 minutes to receive two treats. More monumental findings followed: The psychologist observed that the children who waited for the second treat did better at school, and formal research confirmed this. Those who waited enjoyed better health too. These discoveries prompted further investigation into where the ability to control oneself comes from. This book, a compendium of his life's research, is Mischel's attempt to demonstrate that self-control can be learned. It is published by Little Brown & Co. The book is somewhat light on practical, usable advice. Author Charles Duhigg's 2012 book, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business," is perhaps more useful in this regard.

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