Mischel’s The Marshmallow Test

The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success
Walter Mischel

You probably know the Marshmallow test. Young children are offered a marshmallow. They can eat it right now. But if they wait, they can get two marshmallows. The children were then tracked through to adulthood and by and large, the children who could wait did better by almost every outcome of success – health, stable relationships, income, etc.

The test is famous, and every yuppie Brooklyn parent I know references it constantly. This is a book written by the dude who designed and implemented the test. You’d think it would be revelatory in its insights into how we can develop the mindset and skills needed to lead a fulfilling life. If you’re a normal person, who doesn’t read self-improvement books all the time or await the new David Epstein or Cal Newport book with bated breath, then their might be a lot here for you. But if you’re me, someone who follows the science of this stuff relatively closely, this is, frankly all old hat. There is interesting anecdotes, for sure. On how they developed the test, more on who the kids were and what became of them, and interesting additional experiments – all of which I’d already heard of. I enjoyed it well enough, but it wasn’t worth my time. Your mileage may vary.

Recommended for the (budding) enthusiast.

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