The Marshmallow Test

  • by Walter Mischel
  • Narrated by Alan Alda
  • 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Renowned psychologist Walter Mischel, designer of the famous Marshmallow Test, explains what self-control is and how to master it.
A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behavior later in life?
The world's leading expert on self-control, Walter Mischel has proven that the ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life, predicting higher SAT scores, better social and cognitive functioning, a healthier lifestyle and a greater sense of self-worth. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught?
In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life - from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way you think about who we are and what we can be.


Audible Editor Reviews

Self-control is a vital skill and in his latest audiobook The Marshmallow Test, world-renown American psychologist and author Walter Mischel, describes exactly how to master it. With an expert narration by award-winning American actor Alan Alda, listeners are taken through the background of why people lack self-control and come to a deeper understanding of just how important it is for a healthy, balanced life. Hear the steps of how to gain this essential skill and apply it to any area of your life – from curing your bad habits to achieving your goals without distraction. Available now from Audible.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Like Thinking Fast and Slow, this book examines how the two layers of the brain - system 1 and system 2, or the limbic system and pre-frontal cortex, or as Mishel generally prefers to say, the 'hot' system and the 'cool' one - muddle along together to run our lives for better or worse. Despite discussing largely the same topic, Mishel manages to take a completely fresh view from Kahneman (i.e. practically no direct overlap). Michel is also a more pithy writer, respecting the reader's intelligence, whereas Kahneman tends to be bit longwinded, a bit of an old woman, spelling out his ideas when you've already got the point.

I came across the Marshmallow Test originally in research for my own book about controlling obesity, through the (surprising) finding that the BMI of 40 year olds (in the US) correlated significantly with their ability to defer rewards at age 4, as measured by the Marshmallow Test in the 1960’s. This finding is mentioned, but Mishel ranges far wider - try this:

Brain imaging established that the same areas of the brain lit up when people felt physical pain (in fact, heat on forearm) as when they suffered the pain of emotional rejection (in fact, playing a video game and getting left out by the other two players). So this raised the question, ‘Could you take paracetamol to numb the pain of rejection?' And it turns out (at least under experimental conditions and for video games) that paracetamol does indeed protect people to some extent from emotional upset. (Which may shed some light on why people get addicted to painkillers.)

Mishel offers lots of implications for education, and even explains why people tend to boast so much - I'm always getting sat next self aggrandising idiots at parties - look out for the episode about Jake. The explanation is more subtle than you might guess.

Narration: good and natural, by which I mean totally unobtrusive - it was the voice I would imagine for Walter Mishel, but a professional performer.
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- Judy Corstjens

"I think therefore I can change what I am"

The book goes way beyond what the title and 'byline' indicates. An educational look into the basis of human behaviors. It caused me to take a look at my up bringing and childhood and pin point the causal factors for all of my negative behaviors. It's helped me form new foundations to change my thinking and work ethics as well any destructive behaviors I might have.

This is a cliché but it really is a must read.
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- joseph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-09-2014
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio