The good news about human willpower: a new book by John Tierney


Human willpower doesn’t have the best relationship with Christianity. Human will has been described as rebellion against God, and pastors throughout history have spoken of willpower’s inadequacy for obtaining salvation.

All that is true enough in Christian theology. However, much of what’s expected of me on a daily basis — care for my own health, care for my family, care for the necessary material blessings of this life, care for the duties of my job — require a willpower available to all people at all times through common grace. 

In this video interview with Reason magazine, New York Times science columnist John Tierney talks about the recently released book he wrote with psychologist Roy Baumeister (Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength). Tierney talks about changes in the self-help movement in recent decades and goes on to say that a child’s achievement later in life can be predicted based on his or her demonstrated — or parentally developed — willpower.  

Perhaps we could say the problem is not willpower, but what we hope and expect to accomplish with it.

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