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Freely Determined: What the New Psychology of the Self Teaches Us About How to Live (Hardcover)
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A renowned psychologist argues that free will is not only real but essential to our well-being
It’s become fashionable to argue that free will is a fiction: that we humans are in the thrall of animal urges and unconscious biases and only think that we are choosing freely. In Freely Determined, research psychologist Kennon Sheldon argues that this perception is not only wrong but also dangerous. Drawing on decades of his own groundbreaking empirical research into motivation and goal setting, Sheldon shows us that embracing the ability to choose our path in life makes us happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. He also shows that this insight can help us choose better goals—ones that are concordant with our values and that, critically, we’re more likely to actually see through.
Providing readers insight into how they can live a more self-directed, satisfying life, Freely Determined offers an essential guide for how we might recognize our freedom and use it wisely.
About the Author
Kennon M. Sheldon is professor of psychology at the University of Missouri. He is one of the founding researchers of positive psychology, a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a recipient of the Templeton Foundation Positive Psychology Prize. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.
“Fascinating… a compelling and clear introduction to what [Self-Determination Theory] teaches us about nurturing a sense of autonomy… Readers will get a lot out of his book.”—Wall Street Journal
“A moving, persuasive, beautifully-written book that tackles a basic and central aspect of the human mind. Sheldon brings to bear personal wisdom, abundant research evidence, warmth, and wit on the grand question of whether human beings are autonomous agents or merely robots programmed by genes and environment.”
—Roy Baumeister, New York Times–bestselling author of Willpower
“Utterly fascinating. Sheldon draws on decades of research to answer some of the most important questions of all: what is the ‘self’? How can we lead meaningful lives? A beautiful and coherent defense of free will, this book will leave readers with a deeper sense of who they are and how to take control of their lives.”—Emily Esfahani Smith, bestselling author of The Power of Meaning
“One of the premier thinkers in psychology today combines philosophical insights with empirical knowledge to suggest that free will is possible—and that seizing it is critical for a fulfilling life. Lucidly written, Freely Determined will delight and enlighten in equal measure.”—Constantine Sedikides, University of Southampton