Freely Determined: What the New Psychology of the Self Teaches Us about How to Live

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Basic Books, 2022 - Philosophy - 272 pages
"For centuries, philosophers have debated the question of free will. Do we make our own choices? Or are we more like rudderless ships drifting on the ocean, buffeted by winds and currents outside ourselves? In TK, research psychologist Ken Sheldon reveals that the way we answer these questions has serious implications for our wellbeing. We may never know for certain whether free will exists, Sheldon argues, but recent studies have found that believing in free will matters-indeed, it's an essential component of psychological health. Freely Determined offers an argument for embracing our capacity to choose our own destiny, and a guide for how we might recognize our freedom and use it wisely. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work on motivation, as well as recent research in personality science and social psychology, Sheldon shows us that far from being in the thrall of animal urges and unconscious biases, we humans are constantly making conscious choices: whether to eat the nachos or the salad, whether to shoot the basketball or pass it to a teammate, whether to take that job or marry that person or write that novella. Indeed, over decades of research, Sheldon has established that seeing ourselves as change-makers in our own lives, and in the world, helps us feel happier and even behave more ethically. By identifying and pursuing our deepest values, he argues, we can set and achieve meaningful goals, ones that will help us and our communities flourish. Offering readers insight into how they can live a more self-directed, satisfying life, Freely Determined demystifies the science of choice and reveals that we are radically free to live with greater purpose"--

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About the author (2022)

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.

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