Human Motivation

This week's review looks at what makes New Year's resolutions so difficult to keep: motivation (or lack thereof)

The Oxford handbook of human motivation 2nd ed

ed. by Richard M. Ryan Oxford, 2019
544p bibl index, 9780190666453 $150.00, 9780190666484

Ryan (Australian Catholic Univ.) is the perfect candidate to edit this work, now in its second edition. The updated volume continues the tradition of excellence established by the first edition, while adding new chapters covering “cross-cultural perspectives, neuropsychology, and applications of motivation science.” An impressive array of more than 65 contributors provide 28 chapters advancing from general theories of motivation to specific applied areas in which understanding of motivation can have its greatest impact, such as relationships and goal fulfillment. Each chapter is thoroughly researched, up-to-date, and self-contained, including its own list of pertinent references. More importantly, chapters do not shy away from controversies in the literature–such as the contested robustness of the ego-depletion effect–and address such issues with balance and support from the literature. Section 7, entitled “Motivation in Application,” comprises an excellent set of chapters to highlight how research on motivation can best be applied in practical areas that truly matter. The reader will emerge not only well informed about this powerful area of research but also with new insight about how critically important such understanding is for solving real-world problems. All libraries supporting graduate programs in psychology should own this work.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty.
Reviewer: R. E. Osborne, Texas State University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Psychology
Choice Issue: Feb 2020