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A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community. Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the oppos A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community. Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the opposite of everything it promises. Now, in 59 Seconds, he fights back, bringing together the diverse scientific advice that can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy. From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, resilience to relationships, Wiseman outlines the research supporting the new science of “rapid change” and, with clarity and infectious enthusiasm, describes how these quirky, sometimes counterintuitive techniques can be effortlessly incorporated into your everyday life. Or, as he likes to say: “Think a little, change a lot.”


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A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community. Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the oppos A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community. Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the opposite of everything it promises. Now, in 59 Seconds, he fights back, bringing together the diverse scientific advice that can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy. From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, resilience to relationships, Wiseman outlines the research supporting the new science of “rapid change” and, with clarity and infectious enthusiasm, describes how these quirky, sometimes counterintuitive techniques can be effortlessly incorporated into your everyday life. Or, as he likes to say: “Think a little, change a lot.”

30 review for 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    (If you want, I'll give you one marshmallow now. If you read through the whole review, however, I'll give you two. Ready? Let's go!) Do you have problems? Of course you have problems. We all have problems. Maybe you want to land a new job, or lose weight or finish a project you're working on. Maybe you find that you procrastinate too much, or you don't get along with people, or you can't be creative. Maybe you just want to be happy, you poor, sad little person. These are the kinds of problems that (If you want, I'll give you one marshmallow now. If you read through the whole review, however, I'll give you two. Ready? Let's go!) Do you have problems? Of course you have problems. We all have problems. Maybe you want to land a new job, or lose weight or finish a project you're working on. Maybe you find that you procrastinate too much, or you don't get along with people, or you can't be creative. Maybe you just want to be happy, you poor, sad little person. These are the kinds of problems that have spawned an entire industry of books - the Self Help genre. Go to your local bookstore and look around. There are countless books that tell you how you can make yourself better through positive thinking, creative visualization, listening to Mozart or joining up with groups. They'll tell you that if you want to find romance, you should look for an opposite, you should play hard to get, or you should plan a perfectly romantic evening. They'll cite ancient wisdom or have countless testimonials from people who have tried their methods, and almost all of them have one thing in common: they don't work. The self-help genre rests on a foundation of common sense ideas, things that sound like they should work, rather than an understanding of how the human mind actually does work. Often, much to our chagrin, our minds don't follow the rules, and we fail. Take positive thinking, for example. The general gist of positive thinking is that you should never allow a negative thought to enter your mind. If one pops up, just push it away and focus on the positive. Quick experiment: I want you, for the next minute, to not - I repeat not - think of a pink hippopotamus. Ready? GO! (Waiting... waiting... waiting...) How'd you do? I don't know about you, but my pink hippo is rather contentedly sitting on my sofa right now. The fact is, the more we try not to think of something, the harder it is to not think about it. You then end up obsessing over the thing you're trying not to think of, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place! It's an idea that sounds like it should work, but it doesn't, and that's what Wiseman has collected in this book. Wiseman is a psychologist from the UK, and he has a particular interest not only in the science of self-help, but also magic, optical illusions and the paranormal. In other words, he's very good at knowing how we humans fool ourselves. And boy, do we know how to fool ourselves. We want to believe that humans are rational creatures, intelligently designed to make the best decisions. We spent years studying the world around us, trying to figure out how to motivate ourselves and others, and operating under the assumption that we know what our brains are doing at any give time. Problem is, we don't. We have no idea what our brains are doing while we're trying to get things done. The good news is that there's are entire branches of psychology that are doing their damndest to figure it out. Wiseman combed through the literature, looking at scientific studies on human psychology and behavior to try and find simple, clear and effective ways of making your life better. The bonus is that many of these things can be done in under a minute. Some of the things he presents are so simple that you don't want to believe they'd work. For example, do you want to be a little more cheerful, to have a brighter outlook on life and be generally more pleasant to be around? Go get a pencil and hold it with your teeth, making sure your lips don't touch the pencil. Your mouth will basically be making a grin, which will have a positive impact on your mood. Seriously. While you're at it, sit up straight, use more expressive gestures when you talk, and try to use a wider range of pitch in your speech. Your body and mind are hooked up in such a way that your body can tell your mind what it's feeling. So if you have a grin on your face, and you're talking in an animated and upbeat way, your brain will think, "Well, these are all physical conditions that are associated with happiness, so... I guess I must be happy." You can use the same trick on a first date. Instead of a nice, placid picnic in the park or a boat ride on the river, go to an amusement park and hit the roller coaster together. The fear and excitement will make your date's heart beat faster, breathe harder, and generally be more excited. These are also physical reactions to being attracted to someone, and your brain really can't tell the difference very well. It feels your heart pounding, your blood rushing, your adrenaline flowing, and it thinks, "Huh. I guess I must really like this person." So, once you get off that ride, you have a little window of opportunity to increase the attraction you have for each other. Now let's say you're angry about something. I mean, you're hitting George Constanza levels here, and all you want to do is just hit something. There is a way of thinking that says you should go hit your pillow. Or go to the gym and do some work on the heavy bag, punching your anger away. If you live far enough away from others, maybe you could do some primal screaming or something. It makes sense, right? You have to let your anger out somewhere, right? Wrong. Studies have shown that kicking and screaming and beating up your pillow will make you more aggressive and irritable, not less. It's like trying to put out a fire with a bucket of gasoline. What you should do, then, is to look for the benefits to your experience. Researchers asked subjects to think about a painful and unpleasant incident in their lives and to focus on their anger. Another group was asked to instead focus on the benefits - they had learned an important lesson, had become an emotionally stronger person, or had otherwise changed for the better. When questioned later, the second group turned out to be much less angry than the first, and to be more likely to forgive the person who had hurt them. Okay, one more - you want to be creative, right? We all want that. So, should you brainstorm with your colleagues? Focus on the creative task at hand? Listen to Mozart? No, no and no, although there's really never any reason not to listen to Mozart. Again, research has shown that people tend to work less hard in groups than they do on their own. Being in a group makes you lazier, so if you want to get good ideas from a whole bunch of people, have them work alone first. You'll get more and better ideas that way. As for focusing on the problem at hand, other studies have shown that the best thing to do is to distract yourself with something totally unrelated so that your unconscious mind can get some work done. Work on a puzzle, draw a picture, think of a hundred ways to use a brick - anything but the problem you're trying to solve. Then, when you come back to the problem, you're more likely to generate better ideas. As for the Mozart, it turns out that listening to Mozart does make you slightly more creative and intelligent.... for about fifteen minutes. Neither you nor your baby will become a genius if you listen to Wolfie's music every day. What's actually more effective is modern art - especially art that breaks our expectations. In one study, two groups were given a creativity task. One was seated in a room with a large print that featured twelve dark green crosses on a light green background. The other had almost an identical picture, except that one of the crosses was yellow, and they came up with the more creative ideas. Why should this be? The idea is that the impression of unconventionality, of a pattern being broken, may be enough to stimulate our own creativity. Now it won't turn you into DaVinci or anything like that, but it should help at least a little. And that's what this book is - lots of little ideas that are designed to help you out. Put a mirror in your kitchen, put a baby photograph in your wallet, buy small gifts for no reason. Put a plant on your desk, start keeping a journal, and don't praise your kids for how clever they are - praise them for the work they've done. Everything Wiseman puts in this book is a small thing, a little effort, but when put together they add up. Even if you don't really need a lot of alteration to your life - maybe you're as happy as happy can be - it's still a fascinating look into how our mids work, and the different ways that they can be hacked. (Good work! Here are your marshmallows!) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Now if you take part in a study and the researchers explain that they need your telephone number in case of a hard-disk failure, they are up to something." - Richard Wiseman, 59 Seconds

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    I've read a lot of pop psychology books, but this one is quite different from the rest. Each chapter of this book takes a topic and describes various scientific psychology experiments that have direct bearing on the topic. Many of the experiments came to non-intuitive conclusions about human behavior. Then, the book shows how you, the reader, can take advantage of these conclusions in your everyday life. Scattered throughout the book are short psychological questionnaires that help focus the app I've read a lot of pop psychology books, but this one is quite different from the rest. Each chapter of this book takes a topic and describes various scientific psychology experiments that have direct bearing on the topic. Many of the experiments came to non-intuitive conclusions about human behavior. Then, the book shows how you, the reader, can take advantage of these conclusions in your everyday life. Scattered throughout the book are short psychological questionnaires that help focus the approach on your individual personality. So many myths about human behavior are turned upside down in this book! The myth that brainstorming with a group of people will come up with better ideas is exploded. If you want a "first date" to be successful, take your date to some activity that will get your excitement levels up, that will elevate your heart rates. Praise a child for the effort that he/she showed in some endeavor, rather than praising the child for being "smart" or "fast". If you want a big favor from someone, first ask them for a small, insignificant favor. It is difficult--if not impossible--to detect a liar by his facial expressions, eye contact, fidgety behavior or tone of voice. The best giveaway is actually his choice of words. This is a truly entertaining book. It successfully melds scientific research with advice on handling situations. Highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    I liked it. Speaking as a former cognitive psychologist, I take issue with the interpretation of some of the results. But speaking as a former cognitive psychologist, this is the best self-help book I've read in a long, long time - and I've read a lot of 'em. The suggestions here are backed by research, and are very easy to implement. I might make a goal of focusing on one a month until I become so happy I'm insufferable. I liked it. Speaking as a former cognitive psychologist, I take issue with the interpretation of some of the results. But speaking as a former cognitive psychologist, this is the best self-help book I've read in a long, long time - and I've read a lot of 'em. The suggestions here are backed by research, and are very easy to implement. I might make a goal of focusing on one a month until I become so happy I'm insufferable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Why are all of the really cool people in the world British? Richard Wiseman knocks my socks off every time he publishes. If you're going to read his work, though, I have a couple of caveats for you: 1. His work is non-fiction, of the sort that quotes a LOT of numbers and makes both macro- and micro-adjustments in viewpoint, sometimes within the same paragraph. If you don't read heavy-duty nonfiction well, this is the wrong author for you. 2. He uses his own work as a BASIS for his books. He uses o Why are all of the really cool people in the world British? Richard Wiseman knocks my socks off every time he publishes. If you're going to read his work, though, I have a couple of caveats for you: 1. His work is non-fiction, of the sort that quotes a LOT of numbers and makes both macro- and micro-adjustments in viewpoint, sometimes within the same paragraph. If you don't read heavy-duty nonfiction well, this is the wrong author for you. 2. He uses his own work as a BASIS for his books. He uses other people's work (sometimes fifteen or twenty examples of other people's work) to back up the results his work shows. Does this mean his work is useless, or that he shouldn't write a book until he can FILL a book? Heck no! It means that he's showing you that not only are his results valid, he can show you ten other studies that support the validity. 59 seconds is cool, in that it focuses on research-proven ways that you can change your life, starting with your basic attitude (positive or negative). Everything in the book takes less than a minute to do. The first section of the book even goes so far as to disprove (in several different ways) all the bunk published in self-help books. Interspersed with the life-changing stuff are tidbits about human behavior, which is the part I find fascinating. For example, did you know that trying to forget something (an argument, a phone number, anything!) actually makes your brain try to reset itself by going over and over the item you're trying to forget? You're better off spending ONE MINUTE writing down your problem (resetting your brain), then ONE MINUTE making a list of several specific things for which you are grateful. Doing these two exercises not only improves your mood for three months (!), it improves your general outlook about life. Like Wiseman's other book, Quirkology, I recommend this book for anyone who wonders why people do what they do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    Professor Richard Wiseman has long been dubious about the self-help industry, feeling that many of the popular books promoting techniques for personal change have at best no evidence to support them and at worst can actually make you to feel bad about yourself when following their instructions fails to produce the promised results. Over lunch with a friend who had just bought one of these kinds of books, he got to thinking about what the research actually says are effective ways to create person Professor Richard Wiseman has long been dubious about the self-help industry, feeling that many of the popular books promoting techniques for personal change have at best no evidence to support them and at worst can actually make you to feel bad about yourself when following their instructions fails to produce the promised results. Over lunch with a friend who had just bought one of these kinds of books, he got to thinking about what the research actually says are effective ways to create personal change in a short period of time. This book attempts to bring together the best of that research in a way that's actually useful for laypeople. The topics covered include happiness, persuasion, motivation, creativity, attraction, stress, relationships, decision making, parenting and personality. Each section begins with a discussion of the relevant research into the subject at hand and ends with practical suggestions for how to make use of the findings to improve your own life. Though each section is well-grounded in some very interesting psychological and sociological research, not all of it is necessarily cutting edge. In fact, the book got off to a bit of a slow start for me as I had already read about many of the studies in the opening chapter in other books. As I got further into it, however, I learned quite a few things I didn’t know and came to appreciate Wiseman's odd sense of humor. So if you are looking to find out what science says is the best way to think more creatively, encourage your children, get your lost wallet returned, make a good decision or find out which sport is the most likely to make you attractive to the opposite sex (hint: it’s not golf) you'll find a lot of value in this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erika RS

    Finished 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman (3/5). Books in the self help genre tend to promise quick fixes grounded in little evidence (and, not uncommonly, contradicting actual evidence). Psychological literature sometimes has validated advice, but much of it, not surprisingly, requires a large investment of time and effort. Wiseman wanted to share the scientifically validated but easy to apply tips that people could use to improve their lives. The number of quick tips w Finished 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman (3/5). Books in the self help genre tend to promise quick fixes grounded in little evidence (and, not uncommonly, contradicting actual evidence). Psychological literature sometimes has validated advice, but much of it, not surprisingly, requires a large investment of time and effort. Wiseman wanted to share the scientifically validated but easy to apply tips that people could use to improve their lives. The number of quick tips which have evidence behind them are few and lack the miraculous impact self help books promise. In this single volume, Wiseman covers many of the stable topic of self help -- happiness, persuasion, motivation, creativity, attraction, stress, relationships, decision making, parenting, and personality. It works out to only about 30 pages per topic (compare that to the shelves of self help books on each topic). You can read the book if you want more background, but here's a taste[1]: - Listing things you are grateful for or things that have gone well increases happiness - Acts of kindness, even small ones, increase happiness. Donate, give blood, buy a surprise gift. - Placing a mirror in front of people when they are choosing food reduces consumption of unhealthy food - Plants in the office seem to boost creativity. Possibly by reducing stress and improving moods - Write about your deepest feelings about your relationships to increase the odds of the relationship lasting. Writing tends to remind people of all the good things about the relationship. - People lie less over recorded communication media (like email). - When speaking, liars tend to have less detail, use more ummms and aaahs, and use less self reference words (I, me, my) - Praise a child's effort, not their ability. - Visualize yourself working through the process of achieving your goal rather than the actual success. Visualization from a third person perspective seems to be more effective. Some criticisms: The first is specific to the quality of this as an audio book. Many of the "In 59 seconds" summaries at the end of each chapter involve forms or checklists. These make for tedious listening, and it's not very useful to just have them in audio. It would have been nice for the audio book to come with supplementary material for all of these forms. I don't know if it's the author or the research community, but the chapters on relationships and attraction seem to exude a subtle sexism. Almost all of the tips and studies mentioned describe men as active agents and woman as passive agents. This active/passive division was not the conclusion of some study (and, therefore, worth considering even if I don't like the result). Rather, they were baked into the setup of the studies. For example, a couple of studies focused on how various factors such as a man's confidence or a woman's breast size affected behavior in a night club (results were not surprising). In each of these studies, regardless of what was being varied, the researchers decided to use a setup where men were always the approachers and woman the approached. This was, to put it mildly, annoying. Finally, this is a book that you should read for its content, not the quality of its writing. It's not bad, but it can be formulaic. Since I tend to prefer books categorized as "psychology" over those categorized as "self help", many of these tips were not new to me. However, if you want a concise look at the science of improving your life, this book fulfills that goal. [1] Dear Amazon/Audible, when I buy the audio version of a book, it would be really nice if I were allowed full text capabilities on the Search Inside version when it exists. Pretty please?

  7. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    It is another self help book telling you why all "other" self-help books seem to have got it wrong while he is just so smart and got it all right, and in 59 seconds. You can't beat that! It is the quick fix book in 59 seconds. He even criticized visualization when it is proven to be working medically. Just go to google and type "cancer visualization" and you will be grateful for the power of visualization. Not everything have to be really philosophized; some things we just take in simplicity and It is another self help book telling you why all "other" self-help books seem to have got it wrong while he is just so smart and got it all right, and in 59 seconds. You can't beat that! It is the quick fix book in 59 seconds. He even criticized visualization when it is proven to be working medically. Just go to google and type "cancer visualization" and you will be grateful for the power of visualization. Not everything have to be really philosophized; some things we just take in simplicity and they work magic!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Michetti

    I'm giving this 5 stars because: a) this book reveals fascinating insight about, research into and strategies to cultivate happiness, be more persuasive, have lasting relationships, be a better parent, and more b) it is VERY well researched and referenced, with many pathways to choose afterward for reading in areas of continued interest c) it is extremely relevant to any and every human being on the planet. Basically, if you are a human, you can benefit from this book. d) it is organized in a way t I'm giving this 5 stars because: a) this book reveals fascinating insight about, research into and strategies to cultivate happiness, be more persuasive, have lasting relationships, be a better parent, and more b) it is VERY well researched and referenced, with many pathways to choose afterward for reading in areas of continued interest c) it is extremely relevant to any and every human being on the planet. Basically, if you are a human, you can benefit from this book. d) it is organized in a way that you can use, meaning it's very practical and has tips that can change your life pretty much starting now. I would like to give it 4.5 stars rather than 5 because: a) a small handful of the research has gender, sexual orientation, and cultural (Western cultural) bias -- all of which the author acknowledges but he doesn't offer much in terms of alternative ways of approaching the areas where research is lacking b) a couple of the sections -- namely persuasion and relationships -- lack an approach from a woman's point of view. For example, Wiseman seemed to be focused more on "How can a man persuade a woman to go out with him?" and "How can a woman get a man to stay in a relationship?" rather than "How can people be happy in a relationship?" Even if the research focused only on hetero couples, that would be okay by me (if clarified and acknowledged), but in this section, the scales seemed heavily tipped toward what men can do to "get" women, and what women can do to "keep" men. That the author chose to perpetuate this stereotype rubbed me the wrong way, but it's such a small section of the book that I've decided it's not worth NOT reading just because of this. Rather, it's just something to be aware of as a reader. ...but 4.5 stars isn't an option and I'm giving Wiseman the benefit of the doubt. I can safely say that this is the kind of book that I will keep at hand all the time. Similar to "Growth Mindset," it's a book I will approach and re-visit when I need a reminder about what to consider when applying for a new job, playing with a baby, or leading a team discussion at work. The book's title is based on a conversation the author had with a friend about the abundance of pop-psychology self-help myths out there and how many of them, despite being popular and well-known, are utterly wrong and not backed by research of any kind. His friend, a busy lawyer, told him that as much as she wanted to use "real research-based things that work" for her own self-growth, she really only had a minute each day to learn about them and make changes in her life. Wiseman took that as a challenge, and he has, in my opinion, done an excellent job. Each section has a list of tips and techniques at the back, that anyone -- even the busiest of the busy -- can do "In 59 Seconds." I've bookmarked them all and have already started with some of them. Short, sweet, to-the-point, and incredibly useful. This book is worth your time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mag

    Many people are attracted to self-improvement and self- development, but don’t have a lot of time to devote to elaborate and time-consuming techniques. This book is about how to change in 59 seconds with psychologically proven quick and dirty strategies that won’t take a lot of time to implement. Wiseman deals with almost everything under the sun found in the self-help section- from improving goal setting, through getting better at lateral thinking to good selling and dating techniques. And, he Many people are attracted to self-improvement and self- development, but don’t have a lot of time to devote to elaborate and time-consuming techniques. This book is about how to change in 59 seconds with psychologically proven quick and dirty strategies that won’t take a lot of time to implement. Wiseman deals with almost everything under the sun found in the self-help section- from improving goal setting, through getting better at lateral thinking to good selling and dating techniques. And, he promises they are all based on the solid scientific research. Here are the highlights of what interested me: Techniques that work: • Write things out – both when you’re unhappy and when you’re happy. If you want to be happier, write what you are thankful for for a few minutes every day. • Write if you want to change– set your goals and keep a journal • Go for experiences (and share them with many others) but not for possessions. (Unless they are books, of course :) • Give and help people and ask them to help you! • If you’re prone to losing wallets, put a picture of a smiling baby behind the plastic cover. 35% of those wallets were returned beating the wallets with a happy family, a puppy and an elderly couple respectively. Techniques that don’t work: • Visualization may backfire since we may get frustrated with a huge discrepancy of the ideal we want to attain and the reality • Positive thinking- does not lead to solving problems • Trying not to think about something (As Dostoyevski observed in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions , ‘Try to pose yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you’ll see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute) • More money- people whose life basic needs are covered, don’t get happier with more money. • Gossiping about others- in a funny psychological paradox people will assign the traits you’re criticizing to you, so say positive things about other people.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A brilliant collection of evidence-based tips on how to do everything better, from being happy to having better relationships and coming up with better ideas at work to living longer. There are too many pseudo-science 'self-help' guides out there, and unfortunately too many people falling for their mumbo-jumbo made-up guidance. This book plugs the gap in the market for those of us who recognise the value of self-improvement but demand 'how do you know?' of all those peddlers of advice who seem to A brilliant collection of evidence-based tips on how to do everything better, from being happy to having better relationships and coming up with better ideas at work to living longer. There are too many pseudo-science 'self-help' guides out there, and unfortunately too many people falling for their mumbo-jumbo made-up guidance. This book plugs the gap in the market for those of us who recognise the value of self-improvement but demand 'how do you know?' of all those peddlers of advice who seem too often to have plucked their guidance from thin air. If you happen to have studied psychology, or be thinking of studying it, the book also serves as a useful review or introduction to a wide range of social and cognitive research (though of course it's quite light - it's definitely not an academic text, though the references are there if you want to delve deeper). It's almost 10 years since I was a psychology undergraduate and revisiting the names and ideas that fascinated me back then added significantly to my experience of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Strange

    When I first picked up this book I didn't want to read it. It looked like it was another "self help" book of the type Oprah promotes. It is, but it isn't. The author wrote it in response to that kind of book. It does give myriads of processes for improving your life, from how to be happy, how to praise children to get the most positive results, to how best to find out if you're more feminine or masculine--but everything in it is research based. This VERY readable (and amusing) book takes one top When I first picked up this book I didn't want to read it. It looked like it was another "self help" book of the type Oprah promotes. It is, but it isn't. The author wrote it in response to that kind of book. It does give myriads of processes for improving your life, from how to be happy, how to praise children to get the most positive results, to how best to find out if you're more feminine or masculine--but everything in it is research based. This VERY readable (and amusing) book takes one topic after another, tells the reader the results of the very interesting scientific studies on the topic, many of which contradict the conventional wisdom and self help guru advice, then gives the "59 second" summary of science's findings.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirtan

    All in all I found it to be a very boring book. Also the author starts out the book by saying that social experiments conducted to build the self-help myths are often incorrect in their premises or conclusions. But the whole book itself is filled with justifications based on experiments conducted by scientists. The details of some of the experiments are also sketchy. So ultimately the author is contradicting himself in pointing out the invalidity of scientific experiments but using it as the bas All in all I found it to be a very boring book. Also the author starts out the book by saying that social experiments conducted to build the self-help myths are often incorrect in their premises or conclusions. But the whole book itself is filled with justifications based on experiments conducted by scientists. The details of some of the experiments are also sketchy. So ultimately the author is contradicting himself in pointing out the invalidity of scientific experiments but using it as the base to list out the tips and tricks. One good thing about the book is the 59 second parts which come up regularly in the book. For someone who doesn't want to read the whole book, these parts can be a quick refresher for the whole book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katy Noyes

    Designed to give bite-sized chunks of pop psychology on topics from parenting to making decisions, this is a very useful book with small tips for anyone interested in doing better in interviews, learning a out other people's personalities, how to tell when someone is lying. It's not an academic text. But from someone who has a Psychology degree, it's very enjoyable and just right for a person interested in the basics and may lead you to read related books if it catches your fancy. I liked the layo Designed to give bite-sized chunks of pop psychology on topics from parenting to making decisions, this is a very useful book with small tips for anyone interested in doing better in interviews, learning a out other people's personalities, how to tell when someone is lying. It's not an academic text. But from someone who has a Psychology degree, it's very enjoyable and just right for a person interested in the basics and may lead you to read related books if it catches your fancy. I liked the layout - lots of studies interspersed with facts and summarised tips for your digestion. There are a few tests as well. personality etc that are fun to try. A good book to try if psychology interests you but you don't want anything too dry or long.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Derek Bridge

    This was not what I'd expected. The blurb from the usually excellent Simon Singh on the rear cover led me to expect a debunking of self-help manuals and armchair psychology similar to Singh's own debunking of alternative medicines (Trick or Treatment by Singh & Ernst). There was a little of this, and some of it was fun and interesting. But all too often the debunking relied on experiments that seemed equally suspect (riddled with assumptions, speculation and small sample sizes). On these flimsy This was not what I'd expected. The blurb from the usually excellent Simon Singh on the rear cover led me to expect a debunking of self-help manuals and armchair psychology similar to Singh's own debunking of alternative medicines (Trick or Treatment by Singh & Ernst). There was a little of this, and some of it was fun and interesting. But all too often the debunking relied on experiments that seemed equally suspect (riddled with assumptions, speculation and small sample sizes). On these flimsy foundations was then built yet another self-help manual, only a little less trite than those it dismisses. A disappointment.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sana 240505

    This book is interesting because it has a fascinating research and it encourages people to improve their lives by changing the way they think and behave. I like the book because it helps people to be happy, perform better at interview, improve their relationship, reduce stress and to be a better person. I would love to recommend this book because it actually helped me to be happier and to have 59 seconds to think before i talk; also to change the negative energy into a positive.

  16. 5 out of 5

    سلطان الشريف

    As the title of the book says it is 59 seconds, it is an approach to change that is aimed to help people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes. I like the structure of this book, it covers many aspects of life and the author provides a lot of studies that support his techniques. The author start the book with a story between him and his friend Sophie regarding his opinion in specific topic and his explanation took so long at the end his friend Sophie asked him: are there any scientifically As the title of the book says it is 59 seconds, it is an approach to change that is aimed to help people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes. I like the structure of this book, it covers many aspects of life and the author provides a lot of studies that support his techniques. The author start the book with a story between him and his friend Sophie regarding his opinion in specific topic and his explanation took so long at the end his friend Sophie asked him: are there any scientifically-supported techniques that could help improve people lives in less than a minute?. That is why the author tried in this book to provide a description for all ten aspects in a minute. The book covers the following topics: 1- Happiness: Develop the gratitude attitude by having people list three things that they are grateful for in life. 2- Persuasion: place a picture of a baby in your wallet which will increase the chance of the wallet being returned if lost. 3- Motivation: Hang a mirror in your kitchen which will lead to a reduction in your consumption of unhealthy food. 4- Creativity: Buy a pot plant for the office which could increase the number of creative ideas and reduce stress. 5- Attraction: touch people lightly on the upper arm increase the chance of agreeing to a request. 6- Stress: how to reduce resentment in seconds. 7- Relationships: write about your relationship. 8- Decision making: why two heads are no better than one. 9- Parenting: Praise children’s effort over ability 10- Personality: how to gain an apparently magical insight into other people personality. Note: Some of the topics discussed in this book have some great exercises, I have tried it and It is fun, enjoyable and beneficial. Quotes from the book: - “Happiness doesn't just flow from success; it actually causes it.” - “Visualize Yourself Doing, Not Achieving”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rob Thompson

    About the book: 59 seconds (2010) lays out some handy tips and insights backed by scientific research. Apply them today, and experience the change you want in your life. About the author: Described by one of Scientific American’s columnists as “the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today,” psychologist and professor Richard Wiseman has given keynotes for the likes of Amazon and Google, and has written several bestselling books, including The Luck Factor and Qu About the book: 59 seconds (2010) lays out some handy tips and insights backed by scientific research. Apply them today, and experience the change you want in your life. About the author: Described by one of Scientific American’s columnists as “the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today,” psychologist and professor Richard Wiseman has given keynotes for the likes of Amazon and Google, and has written several bestselling books, including The Luck Factor and Quirkology. The key message in this book: Many people are interested in self-help because it offers quick and easy solutions to various issues in their lives. The problem is most self-help techniques are ineffective. The most effective techniques come straight from the scientific community. You can significantly improve aspects of your life without much time or effort. The techniques in this book show you how to make quick and easy changes that enhance your creativity, likability, relationships and more. My highlights: Nail that interview by being more likable. ... there is one factor that trumps all others when it comes to landing a job: Likability There were a few things that made them likeable: some spoke about interesting topics that were unrelated to the job, others maintained a genuine smile and some spoke highly of the organization they were applying to. Another way to gain someone’s favor in an interview is to reveal your weaknesses right off the bat. save your positive aspects until the end of the interview. By doing so, it appears that you prefer letting your strong points come up naturally in conversation, which makes you more likable. Occasional mistakes and avoiding gossip will make you more sympathetic. competent people actually appear more attractive and likable when they falter, rather than when they try to be perfect. another thing that’ll make you more likable – avoid gossip. So, if you want to be seen positively, simply say positive things about others. Motivate yourself without useless fantasies. visualization isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. what does work to effect positive change? Creating a plan. The best way to plan is to break down your goals into subgoals, and create a step-by-step process. With these less-intimidating steps, you’ll feel less fear and hesitation. Stimulate creativity by skipping brainstorming. when we work in groups, responsibility becomes diffused. When we’re alone, however, our success or failure is ours alone. when you need to solve a problem, turn your attention to a puzzle or something that’ll distract your mind from the issue at hand. Your unconscious mind will work away on the problem in the background and you’ll have a greater chance of finding a solution. Inspire creative thoughts by priming your mind and surrounding yourself with greenery. Our environment shapes our mind, which in turn influences our reactions. Being shaped by our environment is called priming, and it happens even when you’re not consciously aware of it.So, for example, if you add a subtle scent of cleaning spray to the air, people in that atmosphere are primed to clean up more carefully. You can use this knowledge by taking a few moments to describe a musician or artist. List their behavior, lifestyle and appearance. Entering that mindset will pave the way for your own creativity. Another quick way to foster creativity is to add plants and flowers to your surroundings. These reduce stress and induce good moods, thereby enhancing your creativity. Focusing on benefits can make you happier. try to single out positive aspects of the hurtful event. It’s a quick method that has been shown to help people in even extremely trying circumstances. those who focused on what they gained from their experience were better equipped to cope with their anger and unhappiness. Improve your relationships by watching your words. for a couple to live happily ever after, positive comments must outnumber negative comments by around five to one! what else can keep your relationships healthy? Try writing about your thoughts and feelings. Here’s one final way to enhance your relationship: use the word “but.” the successful relationships were those where the partners tended to qualify any criticism. Use psychology to spot a lie. A liar is likely to seem like he’s thinking too hard for no good reason. Liars also adopt an impersonal tone and try to evade questions. To lie, you need to keep in mind what other people already know, what they could discover, what is plausible and what matches what you’ve already said. when you lie, your physiology responds in the same way it does when you think about a problem. Often this means that, when lying, people don’t gesticulate as much, they take longer to answer and they pause and hesitate more often. Furthermore, they attempt to distance themselves from the lie by avoiding words like “I,” “me” and “mine.”Finally, liars tend to avoid answering questions about the issue and try to deflect attention from them by asking questions themselves. Actionable advice: Write your own eulogy. To help identify your long-term goals and progress toward making them happen, try an exercise where you write your own eulogy. Scientists believe that thinking about how you would like to be remembered after your death can reveal your true life-goals. Trap liars by asking for emails. If you want to minimize the risk of someone lying to you, interact over email.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    The only self-help book you need. Seriously. In each of the various areas covered (anything from stress management to developing creativity to improving your relationships to parenting), this book gives several 1 minute science-backed tips. Most authors write an entire book about one or two of these tips and still get it wrong. This book also debunks urban myths (such as the Mozart effect) and replaces it with tips that are backed by plenty of research. Throw away all your self-help books and rea The only self-help book you need. Seriously. In each of the various areas covered (anything from stress management to developing creativity to improving your relationships to parenting), this book gives several 1 minute science-backed tips. Most authors write an entire book about one or two of these tips and still get it wrong. This book also debunks urban myths (such as the Mozart effect) and replaces it with tips that are backed by plenty of research. Throw away all your self-help books and read this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emma French

    Distils a large number of studies around happiness, relationships, stress - all sorts - into bite-sized 59 second excerpts. Well written, informative and entertaining, I learnt a few tips. If I touch you at the top of the arm when asking you to do something, I'm seeing if what I've read has worked! Distils a large number of studies around happiness, relationships, stress - all sorts - into bite-sized 59 second excerpts. Well written, informative and entertaining, I learnt a few tips. If I touch you at the top of the arm when asking you to do something, I'm seeing if what I've read has worked!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bianca Sy

    As a psychology student, I completely enjoyed this book! - FRTC

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jien

    I was so disappointed by this book. I hoped it would be better than the countless self help books that use small and often methodologically weak studies and extrapolate huge generalizations from them, but it wasn’t. Wiseman may have looked at thousands of articles, but it is clear that he didn’t look closely. Some sections of this book have well researched debunkings of popular ideas in the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM). Sometimes he presents a strong, well researched, case for a pa I was so disappointed by this book. I hoped it would be better than the countless self help books that use small and often methodologically weak studies and extrapolate huge generalizations from them, but it wasn’t. Wiseman may have looked at thousands of articles, but it is clear that he didn’t look closely. Some sections of this book have well researched debunkings of popular ideas in the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM). Sometimes he presents a strong, well researched, case for a particular phenomenon. Unfortunately, the majority of his advice is based on very weak evidence. He primarily cites studies with very small and non-randomized sample sizes, no replication, and often no controls for other potential confounding variables. He, and the authors of the studies, sometimes confuse correlation with causation. This was extremely disappointing, considering he even mentioned that correlation shouldn’t be confused with causation. Here’s an example, in the stress chapter he talks about a study involving giving people fake alcohol and then measuring how “drunk” they acted. He attributed the results to a placebo effect, ignoring other powerful factors in human behavior (which he brought up throughout the book, even in the following chapter!) which could have caused the effects. Specifically, the multitudes of biases that affect human behavior in groups. As Wiseman noted numerous times, people subconsciously look to others to determine how to behave. Non-drinkers, in the presence of drunken people, may indeed lose some inhibitions. Instead of assuming a magical placebo, it could simply be the matter of the brain subconsciously assessing the situation and rationalizing “Others are acting like this, so I will too” or “I don’t need to worry about presenting my best self because no one cares or no one will remember.” The point at which I truly gave up on this book was when Wiseman talked about the study with housekeepers and exercising. Either he didn’t read the actual study or didn’t think about it at all, because there’s no way to see the ludicrously bad methodology of that study and come away thinking that a magical placebo exercise effect is the probably cause of the housekeepers’ improved fitness. (Hint: read the actual study, no one assessed what the housekeepers were actually doing, at all. The researchers just asked the managers if they thought their workload was the same. Housekeepers could have started taking the stairs all the time and the researchers wouldn’t have noticed. The researchers didn’t check any of their behaviors before or after.) Other problems crept up throughout the book. Here is a typical recommendation: put a baby picture in your wallet to increase chances of having it returned. He bases this recommendation on a study he did, in one location, involving just 40 wallets in the baby group. None of the wallets had money or credit cards, like a real one would. Race is not considered, even though it could make a huge difference (like a cute Mexican baby in a wallet dropped in Arizona, or a black baby in a wallet lost in the southern US). Apparently, this single study is enough evidence for him. Not for me. If I dug down and read every study he cites, how many would turn out like the uncontrolled housekeeper one? Or turn out to be of a few dozen WASP college students? How many have been strongly replicated and properly isolated their variables? I was a huge fan of Wiseman and had looked forward to this book. I am just so disappointed. One last dig... in all the talk of romance and relationships, spanning several chapters, he exclusively considers heterosexual couplings. There’s not a complete lack of psychological research on LGBT relationships, he just ignores it altogether.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Vallely

    This book was an easy read and provided a helpful critical look at the self-help industry. There is plenty of nonsense out there, and plenty of self-help authors that feel they are exempt from the scientific method--that anecdotes, intuition, and experience are valid in the area of self-help (which is largely the realm of psychology), when obviously, such evidence is among the weakest available in science, regardless of whether you are concerned with "hard" or "soft" sciences. Each chapter of Wis This book was an easy read and provided a helpful critical look at the self-help industry. There is plenty of nonsense out there, and plenty of self-help authors that feel they are exempt from the scientific method--that anecdotes, intuition, and experience are valid in the area of self-help (which is largely the realm of psychology), when obviously, such evidence is among the weakest available in science, regardless of whether you are concerned with "hard" or "soft" sciences. Each chapter of Wiseman's book addresses a separate realm of self-help, from parenting to relationships to happiness. Each chapter includes some debunking of self-help dogma based on scientific research into the truth of self-help claims. Each chapter also includes several simple ways to achieve positive outcomes in each of the realms (methods that can be applied in less than a minute, or "59 seconds"). The book deals with the underlying research in a somewhat cursory manner, but the book is well foot-noted if one wants to explore the underlying research in more detail. Wiseman in any event is generally a credible relator of the underlying evidence. The only slight criticism of Wiseman's use of the research is that he doesn't discount the effects on efficacy from the self-awareness that one is using a method. Often, in the underlying research, the subjects were not aware of the way in which they were being manipulated, and it is not necessarily obvious that the same benefits will accrue to someone fully aware of what he is doing and why. For example, Wiseman points to research indicating that although happiness causes people to smile, the same effect works in reverse--that smiling can actually cause someone to be happier. Researchers developed an innovative way to test this without the subjects knowing what was going on--they had the subjects hold a pencil in their teeth, which simulates a smile. Those subjects did experience an increase in happiness. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the same effect to the same extent will be experienced by consciously attempting to alter your own mood by smiling. This book does not purport, however, to be a scholarly analysis of psychological research, and Wiseman usually inserts appropriate nuance when research is uncertain on an issue. Overall, this is an easy and helpful read for anyone interested in a critical analysis of the self-help industry and the latest quality research relevant to that industry.

  23. 5 out of 5

    biblio_mom (Aiza)

    "We all get used to what we have very quickly. Buying a new car or bigger house provides a short-term feel-good boost, but we quickly become accustomed to it and sink back to our pre-purchase level of joy. Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday's luxuries can soon become today's Necessities and tomorrow's relics. If money cannot buy happiness, what is the best way of putting a long-term smile on your face?" Consist of 10 chapters, my favourite point would be t "We all get used to what we have very quickly. Buying a new car or bigger house provides a short-term feel-good boost, but we quickly become accustomed to it and sink back to our pre-purchase level of joy. Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday's luxuries can soon become today's Necessities and tomorrow's relics. If money cannot buy happiness, what is the best way of putting a long-term smile on your face?" Consist of 10 chapters, my favourite point would be the first one which is Happiness : Why positive thinking often fails, how the real route to happiness involves a pencil, keeping the perfect diary, small acts of kindness and developing the gratitude attitude. In this particular chapter, I like to quote a passage that is very relatable to me : "Happiness makes people more sociable and altruistic, it increases how much they like themselves and others, it improves their ability to resolve conflict and it strengthens their immune systems". Right after reading the first chapter, I've made the point into my youtube content (Biblio Mom) about the act of hoarding books. In that video, I mentioned that our happiness is fabricated by consuming things and it is temporary. That feeling always ended up being washed away. Its a good read for personal and general growth. According to the title, "Think a little, change a lot", it tells us to get things done rather than just thinking about them all the time. Because actions should speaks louder than words and thoughts. As Malay's saying "Angan-angan Mat Jenin" that mean someoe that has dreams but only live in his dreams without even trying to achieve them. So pick up an insightfull books, read them, and ACT!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    This was such a great read! It came recommended by a friend, and I’m so glad she did because otherwise I would have never picked up something even loosely classified as a self-help book. The truth is, it really isn’t and I surely didn’t treat as one. It’s an easy, engaging and funny collection of examples on how some more or less established psychological phenomenon can help you in everyday life. Whenever you say psychology people tend to think of abnormal psychology, psychotherapy and all that This was such a great read! It came recommended by a friend, and I’m so glad she did because otherwise I would have never picked up something even loosely classified as a self-help book. The truth is, it really isn’t and I surely didn’t treat as one. It’s an easy, engaging and funny collection of examples on how some more or less established psychological phenomenon can help you in everyday life. Whenever you say psychology people tend to think of abnormal psychology, psychotherapy and all that jazz, but these everyday facts are what I absolutely love the most. I highly recommend it to whoever enjoys easy cognitive psychology and is perhaps looking for useful tricks to change small things in their approach to life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anchit

    This is a fantastic book! It's got loads of ideas that are all well-researched. I tried out some of them and they really work. There are 4 points on being happier. It takes a little bit of effort to try out those exercises but if you can manage that it really does improve your perception. (The trick to sitting down and writing is to find an appropriate place after your office gets over). Instead of going home where you'll get stuck into your daily routine it's much easier to go to a different pla This is a fantastic book! It's got loads of ideas that are all well-researched. I tried out some of them and they really work. There are 4 points on being happier. It takes a little bit of effort to try out those exercises but if you can manage that it really does improve your perception. (The trick to sitting down and writing is to find an appropriate place after your office gets over). Instead of going home where you'll get stuck into your daily routine it's much easier to go to a different place where you don't have any routine, sit down and practice the exercises given here. I'm putting this book in a shelf called "long-term-reference" because I would like to keep coming back to this book again later on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Wiseman compares the myths/conjecture promoted by the self-help industry to the decades of psychological research done on areas like happiness, decision making, persuasion, motivation, creativity, and relationships. The focus is on small changes to one's life that can yield disproportionately large results (for example, writing down 3 things that you are grateful for can measurably increase happiness for a month). It's a pretty quick read, covers a wide range of subjects (so as to stay fresh), a Wiseman compares the myths/conjecture promoted by the self-help industry to the decades of psychological research done on areas like happiness, decision making, persuasion, motivation, creativity, and relationships. The focus is on small changes to one's life that can yield disproportionately large results (for example, writing down 3 things that you are grateful for can measurably increase happiness for a month). It's a pretty quick read, covers a wide range of subjects (so as to stay fresh), and has useful advice to give (with a Top Ten techniques at the very end).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Westman

    Professor Richard Wiseman always has a scientific and humorous approach to writing. This time he reveals several interesting scientific facts that can boost your confidence and increase your happiness. Approximately half the book is a page-turner, however, the second half is significally weaker. As a teacher I see lots of possible writing assignments stemming from this book. Wiseman has a pedagogical approach and many chapters end with a short writing assignment that can be incorporated in class Professor Richard Wiseman always has a scientific and humorous approach to writing. This time he reveals several interesting scientific facts that can boost your confidence and increase your happiness. Approximately half the book is a page-turner, however, the second half is significally weaker. As a teacher I see lots of possible writing assignments stemming from this book. Wiseman has a pedagogical approach and many chapters end with a short writing assignment that can be incorporated in class.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob Wade

    An absolutely cracking read. While some books would be happy to dismiss things like the self-help industry without any kind of evidence, this book provides case studies and details of all sorts of psychological tests. Reading this book really made me feel validated, as I've long suspected some of the things in this book to be true, and now there is some evidence to suggest that I might not have been crazy all this time! An absolutely cracking read. While some books would be happy to dismiss things like the self-help industry without any kind of evidence, this book provides case studies and details of all sorts of psychological tests. Reading this book really made me feel validated, as I've long suspected some of the things in this book to be true, and now there is some evidence to suggest that I might not have been crazy all this time!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karol Gajda

    Self help backed by science. Sure, some studies about happiness and the like aren't statistically valid (small groups of people), but they're a great start to understanding self improvement. Richard Wiseman does a fine job of breaking down interesting studies in a digestible-for-the-masses format. Self help backed by science. Sure, some studies about happiness and the like aren't statistically valid (small groups of people), but they're a great start to understanding self improvement. Richard Wiseman does a fine job of breaking down interesting studies in a digestible-for-the-masses format.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carol Hislop

    Very interesting and full of good advice and suggestions.

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