Formerly called "The Willpower Instinct" by McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford School of Medicine where she teaches a course called "The Science of Willpower" that quickly became the most popular classes ever offered by Stanford. Course evaluations call the course "life-changing". She brings together the newest insights about self-control from psychology, economics, neuroscience and medicine to build willpower.
The book's 10 chapters reflect her 10-week course, written in an interesting and easy style, without any "academic pompousness":
1. effective willpower - just noticing what's happening is key
2. the willpower instinct - anything that puts a stress on your mind or body can sabotage self-control but too much willpower is stressful
3. self-control is like a muscle - it gets tired from use but regular exercise makes it stronger
4. why being good encourages bad behavior - we use past good behavior to justify indulgences
5. why we mistake wanting for happiness - even false promises of reward make us feel alert and captivated, so we chase satisfaction from things that don't deliver
6. how feeling bad leads to giving in - self-compassion is a far better strategy than beating ourselves up
7. we discount both future rewards and future costs - we consistently act against our own long-term interests and we illogically believe our future selves will (magically) have more willpower
8. why willpower is contagious - humans are hardwired to connect and we mimic and mirror both willpower failures and willpower successes of our social network
9. inner acceptance improves outer control - attempts to fight instincts and desires ironically make them worse
10. final thoughts - the aha moment
Each chapter makes use of fascinating paradoxes to dispel common misconceptions about self-control. While I preferred the deeper "Willpower" by Tierney and Baumeister (who has studied contradictory human behavior for decades), this book is way ahead of any others I've read on the subject, for its wide range of down-to-earth and practical strategies for greater success. Another excellent book is "Willpower: The Owner's Manual - 12 Tools for Doing the Right Thing" by Frank Martela PhD.