Daniel Akst

Books Sloan Harris, +1 212 556 5600 Email Sloan Harris

We Have Met the Enemy

book | Non-Fiction | 2011
US → Penguin (Ed. Ginny Smith)
ANZ → Scribe
Self Control in an Age of Excess.

An intelligent and irreverent investigation into the age-old problem of self-control finds that, in the modern world, solving it is the most important thing we can do.

More calories, sex, and intoxicants are more readily and privately available than at any time in memory.Pornography and gambling are now instantly and anonymously accessible to anyone with an Internet-connected computer. Trying to work? If so, chances are you’re also struggling to resist the siren call of the Internet, to say nothing of the snack machine. As America’s bulging waistlines can attest, mealtime is no longer a discrete part of the day, and our struggles with weight have never been more desperate. We Have Met The Enemy examines overeating, overspending, procrastination, wayward sexual attraction, and other everyday transgressions that bedevil modern society.

While temptations have multiplied, many of the longstanding social constraints on behavior have eroded. Tradition, ideology, and religion have lost their grip on many of us, while commonly accepted standards of attire, speech, and comportment in the public sphere have largely dissolved. Financial constraints, once a ready substitute for willpower, were swept away by surging affluence and the remarkable open-handedness of lenders. (And, we all know what happened then.) A remarkable confluence of freedom, affluence, and technology are sorely testing the limits of human willpower.

The conundrum of self-control has occupied thinkers since the time of Socrates. Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and lately economists have wrestled with the question of how it is possible for us to act against our own best interest, but the issue has never been more urgent than it is today. For affluent societies, the struggle for self-mastery is the preeminent challenge of our times. In essence, willpower is the ballgame.

If our humanity hinges on anything, it’s our ability as individuals to guide our behavior according to our own judgment of what is best. Self control is what makes you a mensch. Using self-control as a lens rather than a cudgel, Akst combines social insight with history, literature, psychology, and economics to alarm, teach, and empower us.

We Have Met The Enemy is a call to arms for each of us to exercise more control over our own destiny — and thereby to be happier, healthier, and ultimately more fully human.

Audio Rights


Sophie Baker manages the translation rights for We Have Met the Enemy


Translation Rights Sold

Chinese Simple
Mainland China
CITIC Publishing Group
Mondadori Arnoldo
NTT Shuppan
Minumsa Publishing Co
We Have Met the Enemy
We Have Met the Enemy

Essential for all people concerned with their own overindulgences and with the future of society in general.
Library Journal
Full Review

A good book. Macy Halford
The New Yorker
Full Review

An elegantly written and useful book.
USA Today
Full Review

A very thought-provoking and colorfully written book.
Full Review

Sloan Harris
+1 212 556 5600
Email Sloan Harris
Translation Rights
Sophie Baker
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Sophie Baker