The book's 12 chapters are organized into three parts. Part 1, "Breakdowns of Will: The Puzzle of Akrasia," begins with a review of the conundrum of self-defeating behavior, from the views of early theologians and Greek rationalists through the evolution of the concept of will. Ainslie dissects the limitations of present-day utility and cognitive psychology models in explaining irrational choices and puts forth his alternative, namely, hyperbolic theory, which holds that we employ temporary preferences in valuing or discounting future events and their associated rewards, depending on their temporal distance, their magnitude, and their duration. Present decisions are made against what we expect our future selves to want, with complex, if not fully conscious, personal valuations on a time scale underpinning those decisions. If plotted, these time-scale valuations would assume the shape of a hyperbolic curve —hence the name of Ainslie's theory. The result is an elegant model in which the mind works like a population of conflicting interests bargaining in a marketplace.