Self-Control is the Key to Success: John Tierney and Roy Baumeister on Willpower

How to make good on your New Year's resolutions.


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"There are two qualities that correlate with success," says New York Times journalist John Tierney. "One of them is intelligence and the other is self-control. And so far researchers haven't figured out what to do about intelligence, but they have rediscovered how to improve self-control."

Tierney spoke at an event sponsored by the Reason Foundation on January 28, 2014 at New York City's Museum of Sex. He was joined by Roy Baumeister, the Francis Epps Eminent Scholar in psychology at Florida State University, and the co-author with Tierney of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Baumeister and Tierney discussed the importance of willpower in determing our success in life and offered tips for improving our self-control. The conversation touched on laboratory experiments that show how willpower can be depleted (6:20); the effect of glucose levels on self-control (10:15); how to make good on your New Year's resolutions (16:30); why dieting undermines self-control (20:45); how to make an effective to do list (22:30); Tierney and Baumeister's experience meeting David Allen, author of Getting Things Done (24:30); why it's a good idea to weigh yourself every day if you're trying to shed pounds (25:30); the role of genetics in determining a person's willpower (31:00); why self-help literature rarely emphasizes willpower (33:00); the victim mentality and Alcoholics Anonymous (35:20); willpower and crime (38:50); procrastination as a tool for getting things done (47:20); and willpower and evolution (51:45)

About 1 hour and 2 minutes.

Shot and edited by Jim Epstein.

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