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Quirkology

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,919 ratings  ·  191 reviews
An award-winning psychologist exposes the truth behind life's little oddities and absurdities in this quirky and practical guide to life.

For over twenty years, psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman has examined the quirky science of everyday life. In Quirkology, he navigates the backwaters of human behavior, discovering the tell-tale signs that give away a liar, the sec

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298 pages
Published 2007 by Macmillan
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Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. RowlingThe Quiet American by Graham GreeneA Quick Bite by Lynsay SandsThe Queen's Man by Sharon Kay PenmanQueer by William S. Burroughs
Titles That Begin With Q
64th out of 87 books — 18 voters
The Quiet American by Graham GreeneAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleQuo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Q is for quality
127th out of 275 books — 26 voters


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Community Reviews

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Devin
Reading through the book, I came across a few notable errors- some very questionable conclusions in a study, basing a section on a "quote" from Freud that he never said, a statistic that the author admitted in the footnotes that he made up- and I couldn't help but wonder how many other errors the book contained that I didn't know enough to correct. While it was an entertaining read, that level of uncertainty left me feeling like I couldn't necessarily accept it as a fact, so it could only be ent ...more
David
Definitely one of those books which promised more hilarity in the bookstore than it was able to deliver at home. I think Richard Wiseman Ph.D. would dearly love to have us believe that he is a brilliantly zany individual, but - truth be told - most of this material never rises above being mildly interesting, and the style is a closer approximation to 'dorky' than 'zany'.

A couple of chapters fail completely in my view - pretty much all of the material related to "what your birth date really says
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Victoria
Quirkology is a collection of apparently ‘quirky’ scientific experiments into social psychology. It covers a wide area of life, from luck, to humour, to deception. Some are very interesting – I particularly enjoyed the ‘world’s best joke’ section (who doesn’t love a good giggle?) and the parts about superstitions and ghostly apparitions. There were factoids that I have repeated already and I’m sure I will again. There were, however, other parts I either skimmed or skipped entirely. That, I am su ...more
Voodoochilli
I think as a kid I might have liked this, however I don't think the book is aimed at children. To be honest, I'm not sure who should read this book - it is bad. BAD!

If Mr Wiseman spent more time researching fresh material and less time jumping to wild, baseless suppositions this might be a better book. How could it not be? One thing that annoyed me is his desperate need to prove how clever he is. Constant references to his kinship and associations with the world's greatest minds and how "Wiseman
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Angie
This is a great book. Granted it is a tremendous bubble burster, it's like the day your learned there was no Santa Claus. Wiseman debunks all my favorite myths. The hardest myth to fall was astrology. Thank goodness I have such strong rationalization skills! I was able to rationalize that his great hate of astrology stemmed from Virgo impotence! I am really enjoying it!
Patrick
The book covers psychological facts of everyday life. Although the book proves a bunch of common sense facts such a positive environment creates a positive mindset, there were couple of interesting factoids that I did not know before reading the book such as:
1)Certain people can will themselves to live longer by focusing on a goal with a deadline
2)It is easier to detect liars through the words they uses instead of non-verbal cues
a. Liars tend to provide less details and be vague and they try to
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Tulpesh Patel
This is one of the better collections of pop-science books filling shelves at the moment, largely down to Richard Wiseman's obvious love of the work and direct involvement in some of the studies.

There are a number of retreads of studies that you'll have come across if you've read any other pop-psychology (Milgram etc.) but it's full of interested factoids you immediately want to tell your friends, and a great way to learn of the methods and fallacies in psychology.

The search for the world's funn
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Lynn
My brief March 2008 five star review:
I guess I just like quirky things about human behavior. I really enjoyed this book. Worth reading, several times.



What was I thinking? I did read this a second time and although it was interesting, I was disappointed.

The Q test described in the beginning was still fascinating; even though I don’t take it seriously. It’s still fun, and I’m surprised that didn’t make it into his final chapter on quirky dinner conversations.

The chapter on deception was still wort
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Steph
It was a great book for giving me insight in to the way people can respond to various stimuli. It is the book that started off my love for psychology and science.

I would recommend it if you like quick reads, as it is a compilation of various conducted studies and their results. I used this book frequently when I was designing interiors as I wanted the occupants to feel and behave in specific ways. It is not a book that goes too in depth on the matter, but good for a quick think and insight.
Melanie
I enjoyed psychologist Richard Wiseman’s previous book, 59 seconds, but found this one grated me. The author seems to be convinced of his own genius and is always name dropping how he worked with the BBC on this, or worked with such and such on that. And some of the subject material is dull, especially (ironically?) the chapter on the world search for the funniest joke, which is best avoided.

And yet I made it to the end of the book. Because, as the book itself claims, reading it does make for b
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Derrick Trimble
Second reading of Quirkology was as enjoyable as the first. This time through, I made notes. In my own interest of quirk, I'll look at some of Wiseman's references to see what he saw.

From the curiosity of chronopsychology, down the lane of deception, across the sidewalk crack of superstition, the oddity we call decision-making, an international laugh lab, to why we help (or don't help) other Wiseman offers study and results on some questions that reflect the bizarre way humans process the every
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Kendra
I really enjoyed this book and it's look at the funnier side of life. It was very interesting to read something that was so obviously centered around scientific evidence and experiments, but at the same time was so enjoyable to read for pleasure! I recommend this book, especially if you are interested in psychology or the oddities that are sometimes involved in life.
Bryan Murphy
The author is someone who lets his curiosity get the better of him, and we all benefit. It deals with the kind of question I hoped to learn to answer when I majored in social psychology some, erm, not so few years ago. I think it would make a fine introductory text. And it is indeed a good read.
Schissel
don't know if I'll finish this one. It is, as the title suggests, quirky, but not meaty. The sections are disjointed bits of pop psychology, much of which is retread from other articles/books I've read. Fun, but not filling.
Jennifer
Very interesting psychological studies on so many things! The really weird one was the study on women's brains, comparing the difference between real orgasms and faking it. Dont ask me about the scientific set up! :)
Jemma Gutierrez
Quirkology is a collection of very interesting psychological phenomenas which isn't as complicated as it sounds. It's the psychology behind mundane stuffs in life that we rarely pause to think about but whose effects in our daily activities cannot be denied.

It's a very entertaining and educational book that makes me fall in love with psychology the second time round. It makes the everyday, ordinary life so fascinating. There is so much more to what we see and this books prove it. I Love It so m
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Jill Furedy
Lots of these sociological studies are a bit sketchy, but I still found this to be a pretty interesting book. Once you read studies about how easily manipulated we are (for instance knowing you are being studied affects the outcome of the study), it's hard not to wonder how that factors into all the other studies you read about. I'd read similar studies to a lot of these, including a few that I'd read the exact study used as an example in other books, but it's still fun to read how a child rando ...more
Isil
Ce petit traité de bizarrologie appartient à une collection de Dunod appelée « Science des Petits Riens ». Tout est dit, il s’agit bien d’expliquer l’anecdotique. Je pensais lire un ouvrage sur des expériences scientifiques rigolotes mais en réalité, Wiseman est un psychologue et ce sont donc des expériences en psychologie qui sont expliquées ici. Je ne regrette pas l’erreur car cet ouvrage est passionnant. On peut le lire par morceaux, car les chapitres se rapportent à des aspects de la psycho ...more
Roxane Lapa
In the introduction, the author presents the asinine hypothesis of Sir Francis Galton (Charles Darwin's cousin) that prayer obviously doesn't work because members of the clergy don't on average live longer than ordinary folk. This of course assumes that the clergy specifically pray for longer lives and that God is a genie who says yes to everything.

Fortunately the introduction's flawed logic isn't a harbinger of what's to come...mostly. Most of the studies that the author himself undertook were
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Gabriel Tang
Although I have read only four of the six chapters, as well as the epilogue, I have gathered many interesting information from this book. The following is not, strictly speaking, a review but a brief, selective list of what I have learned in this book:

Chapter 1:
--Geoffrey Dean's refutation of the "time twins" hypothesis
--Why people believe in astrology despite its scientific invalidity: The Barnum Effect and the Flattery Effect
--Chronopsychology as a relatively new but obscure academic disciplin
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Todd Martin
Ever want to know why people believe in nonsense like astrology and ghosts? Or why you should stay away from women who drive vans? Or perhaps why someone would rather wear a sweater that's been dropped in dog poop vs one freshly laundered? Well ... these are the deep questions Quirkology attempts to answer, and in the process, provides some insight into how people think and act.

The book consists of a synopsis of a number of psychological and sociological studies that looked at unique aspects of
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Lee Penney
This was a present off my wishlist one Christmas or birthday and for some unknown reason it has sat, unread, on my bedside table for a number of years, which is shame as I really enjoyed it.

It’s essentially a book about psychology that focuses on trends and traits that affect is in our everyday lives.

The book is loosely grouped by subject into six sections, covering topics such as why some people fib about their date of birth, how we identify lies, why we believe in superstitions, what leads us
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Kirsty
Having followed Richard Wiseman's blog for a while now, I had high hopes for this book. However, while it was a reasonably interesting, pleasant read, I wasn't blown away by it either, as it seemed to suffer from some considerable flaws.

Firstly, despite promising us examples of all kinds of quirkiness from the world of psychology research, I just didn't find it all that quirky. I felt that some examples, such as the theory that the way to tell if a smile is genuine is to look at the eyes, would
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Marek
It is somehow evident that the author has plenty of experience with scientific writing. I caught myself overwhelmed occasionally by the amount of facts being presented. Sometimes I would welcome more general intersections between passages like: XYT did in 19XX this experiment, where he compared A and B and there was a correlation with C... Some of the chapters are really dense. However the book is generally very funny and lighthearted. Moreover, it is very enlightening as well and certainly help ...more
Justin
3.5 stars, really. A very enjoyable read. I discovered Richard Wiseman on his fantastic YouTube channel, Quirkology. Wiseman is a psychologist who specializes in quirky experiments in human behavior. He's not a brilliant writer (extremely formulaic - it sometimes seems as though, when Wiseman was in grade school, he learned a very specific way to write an essay, and he refuses to break from that formula). He also sometimes uses data to come to conclusions that are uncertain, at best, though he s ...more
Milo22
Il testo in questione non rappresenta certo una novità per i contenuti, poiché vi si possono ritrovare esperimenti stranoti o già apparsi su libri simili ("L'atomo sociale", "Prevedibilmente irrazionale", "Elefanti in acido", "Sway" sono i primi titoli che mi vengono in mente); la pecca di alcuni di tali testi, e anche di questo è, a mio parere, l'eccessiva libertà con cui si interpretano gli esiti dei test psicologici, alla luce di un rapporto causa-effetto a volte molto opinabile. Atro difetto ...more
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
Brief Summary? Quirkology opens with Wiseman explaining that he had "long been fascinated by the quirky side of human behavior." While earning his degree in psychology, he began paying attention specifically to these behaviors and random tests. (If participating in psych tests are something that interest you, check out their website ). The book is divided into many chapters that cover chronopsychology (does the time of birth, astrological sign, weather really play a part in your personality?), t ...more
Buchdoktor
Quirkologie ist die Lehre von den Macken der Menschen. Als junger Mann trat Richard Wiseman als Zauberkünstler auf und entdeckte sein Interesse an der Frage, wie und warum Menschen sich täuschen lassen. Inzwischen ist Wiseman Professor für Public Understanding of Psychology an der University of Hertfordshire. Experimente mit Wahrheit, Lüge und Manipulation hat der Autor mit Tausenden von Probanden in einer populären BBC-Wissenschaftssendung-Sendung durchführen können.

In seine Lehre von den Abson
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Shonna Froebel
This interesting book by a British researching psychologist about the odd bits we have learned about human behaviour over the years is fascinating. He has grouped the information into chapters focusing on chronopsychology, lying and deception, belief, decision making, humour, helping others, with the last one a miscellany. Interesting bits I learned including that those born in the summer are luckier than those born in the winter, you should watch people's eyes to detect whether their smile is g ...more
Timothy
Quirky experiments done on quirky issues. this is all the book is about. Interesting as the title may sound, the hype of the book, however, is unjustified. The quirky experiments and the results of these experiments are rather quite predictable. Most of the results are already made known in magtazines and newspaper articles. there lack this important element of freshness and wonder.For instances, we all know that horoscope can never predict a person character.(If it does, would there be millions ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
Professor Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician, and was one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle. He then obtained a degree in psychology from University College London and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.

Richard currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in
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More about Richard Wiseman...
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“Albert Einstein once said, “Sit with a beautiful woman for an hour and it seems like a minute, sit on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour—that’s relativity.” 3 likes
“The Hollywood comedienne Gracie Allen was so secretive about her age that even her husband, the fellow performer George Burns, didn't know her real date of birth. Various sources claim that Allen was born on July 26 in 1894, 1895, 1897, 1902, or 1906. Throughout her life, Allen claimed that her birth certificate was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, even though the earthquake occurred a few months before her alleged birthday. When asked about the discrepancy, Allen allegedly remarked, 'Well, it was an awfully big earthquake.” 1 likes
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