Temptation : Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-12-27
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
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" This elegantly written and useful book . . . describes how, for millennia, human beings have struggled to rein in desire." -USA Today At a time when the fallout from reckless spending and unrestrained consumption is fueling a national malaise, Daniel Akst delivers a witty and comprehensive investigation of the central problem of our time: how to save ourselves from what we want. Temptationreminds us that while more calories, sex, and intoxicants are readily available than ever before, crucial social constraints have eroded, creating a world that sorely tests the limits of human willpower. Referencing history, literature, psychology, philosophy, and economics, Akst draws a vivid picture of the many-sided problem of desire-and delivers a blueprint for how we can steer shrewdly away from a campaign of self-destruction.

Author Biography

A native New Yorker, Daniel Akst is a well-known journalist who has worked at the LA Times and Wall Street Journal and now writes a monthly column in the Sunday New York Times. He also writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal culture pages, and has appeared in many other publications, including American Heritage, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, Civilization, Technology Review, the Washington Monthly, and on both public radio and television. His first book, Wonder Boy (Scribners), chronicled the eye-popping ZZZZ Best fraud perpetrated by teenage entrepreneur Barry Minkow, and was named one of the 10 best of 1990 by Business Week. He is also the author of The Webster Chronicle published by BlueHen in October 2001.

Akst is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who spent 13 years in Los Angeles before moving to the Hudson Valley, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
A Democracy of Excessp. 1
Sickening Excessp. 17
On Having Yourself Committedp. 32
The Cost of Good Inventionsp. 45
The Perils of Prosperityp. 55
Self-control and Social Changep. 70
The Greek Wayp. 81
The Marshmallow Testp. 96
The Seesaw Strugglep. 110
Let My People Gop. 121
The Intimate Contestp. 132
The Mind-Body Problemp. 146
Self-control, Free Will, and Other Oxymoronsp. 161
Odysseus and the Pigeonsp. 175
Crimes of Passionp. 192
Addiction, Compulsion, and Choicep. 203
Tomorrow Is Another Dayp. 212
Cutting Loosep. 227
Government and Self-governmentp. 239
Being Your Own Godfatherp. 251
Carpe Diemp. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 277
Notesp. 279
Indexp. 293
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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