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Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
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Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  928 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
"There are few academics who write with as much grace and wisdom as Timothy Wilson. REDIRECT is a masterpiece." -Malcolm Gladwell

What if there were a magic pill that could make you happier, turn you into a better parent, solve a number of your teenager's behavior problems, reduce racial prejudice, and close the achievement gap in education? There is no such pill, but story
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 8th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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Kevin Denham
Jan 02, 2012 Kevin Denham rated it it was ok
After thoroughly enjoying Dr. Wilson's first book "Strangers to Ourselves", I was delighted to hear he'd released another title a few months ago. Perhaps I approached the book from too skeptical a perspective since the book cover gave clear signals that Dr. Wilson had intended this title for a different audience than his first.

I wouldn't begrudge anyone trying to turn their passion and pool of knowledge into a higher standard of living, as I believe this title was intending to do. I would begrud
Jul 20, 2013 Nathaniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Redirect started strong, got weak enough in the middle that I was debating between 2 and 3 stars as I trudged through, and then got quite strong again at the end.

The initial argument of the book is twofold. First: a lot of the psychological interventions to help people (anything from helping first responder deal with traumatic events to keeping kids from getting pregnant) are either useless or counterproductie. We can't know without experimental testing. Second: a particular kind of approach cal
Ann Douglas
Oct 01, 2011 Ann Douglas rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ann by: Scientific American article
The key point that Timothy D. Wilson makes in Redirect is that people have key narratives (stories) about themselves and that, when these key narratives are rewritten, people's lives can be changed. Wilson devotes about two-thirds of the book to describing scientific research which backs up his premise. The book would be fantastic -- a 5+ star book -- if the book only consisted of this type of material. Wilson weakens his book by including interesting but unrelated material (explanations of what ...more
Lis Carey
Aug 20, 2011 Lis Carey rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Wilson gives us a highly readable account of what we do and don't know about psychological and social psychological interventions--what works, what doesn't, why, and how we tell the difference.

A major concern of Wilson's is many popular, widely accepted approaches to solving, reducing, or preventing problems, such as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) counseling for police and firefighters after a traumatic on-the-job incident, or popular and widely-respected anti-drug programs for the s
Sep 28, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
One of the many unwelcome bits of advice my husband had for me in the early years of our marriage was that it's not a good idea to give loved ones self-help books. Especially for Christmas.

So true.

I'm kind of a self-help book addict, though—although you don't see too many self-help books on my "read" list. That's because I don't actually read them. Or at least, I don't finish them. Of all the self-help books I've ever started, I think 7 Habits is the only one I've ever finished. I had to—I was
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 12, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
I have my master’s degree in psychology, but this is the first I’ve heard of this new psychological treatment. It’s something that sounds like it would be perfect for me, book lover that I am. The treatment is called story editing. It involves telling oneself a new story or an edited story about events in one’s life that enhance one’s feelings of happiness and self-worth.

Very intriguing. I need to find out more about this powerful tool.
Oct 30, 2011 Claudia rated it liked it
Most interesting. The author's emphasis on testing ("Does a given intervention actually help, or do we just think that it should? Wait, it's counterproductive!") is something I'm very familiar with, since my husband has a background in computers and user testing.

Test, test, test...people can be so full of surprises. So often, something that seems like it should work just doesn't.

I confess, I was a bit disappointed only in that the author did not address how to change patterns of behavior that I
Joseph Adelizzi, Jr.
May 04, 2014 Joseph Adelizzi, Jr. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2011 Alla rated it it was amazing
In “Redirect,” Timothy Wilson focuses on psychological strategies of changing one’s way of viewing life and re-directing their thought processes to become more optimistic. Popular strategies that Wilson uses in his book include story-editing (which is refocusing one’s view on a particular problem: e.g. the student who attributes his failed test to being stupid, versus a student who attributes his failed test to not enough studying—as a basic example of this premise), using writing as a way of co ...more
George Rodriguez
Nov 29, 2011 George Rodriguez rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookleverage-com
"Redirect" by Timothy D. Wilson is built around the concept of Story Editing, which he describes as
using changes, or edits, in the stories we use to understand ourselves and the social world around
us, to make lasting changes in our lives and the lives of others.

He shows why Self-Help authors, Scared Straight programs and D.A.R.E. initiatives don't work,
have never been scientifically tested and why efforts such as these deserve what he calls,
"Bloodletting" awards - solutions that seem to make sen
Heather Pagano
Oct 05, 2011 Heather Pagano rated it really liked it
Shelves: cognition
Interesting and practical, a book that really changed the way I think about the thought patterns that motivate behavior. The focus of the book is "story editing," rewriting (redirecting) the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what we can do, and how we feel. Wilson offers story editing as a tool for both personal and societal positive change.

Although I would have preferred that the book focus even more on how to effect change on a personal level, several techniques suggested for support
Ben Thurley
Dec 06, 2013 Ben Thurley rated it really liked it
Basically this is a book with two ideas. The first, that social and psychological interventions should be rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness (and that randomised control trials are perhaps the best way to measure this). The second idea is that “story-editing”, prompts to change a person’s or group’s view of the world and underlying narrative influencing them in a given situation, can be remarkably powerful for achieving positive personal and social change.

This approach to psychological
Thomas Edmund
Jan 17, 2012 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
Quarrels with the title aside Redirect is a great book - perhaps a little heavy on the science (I guess thats one word in the title that makes sense) but worth trucking through nonetheless

Redirect reads as a debunk of conventional 'common sense' studies with an aperteif of story editing. Story editing is effectively positive thinking (if I dare be simplistic) with some added complexity.

The real strength of the book is the debunking. Most people who have completed a reputible psychology course kn
Pete Welter
Jan 27, 2014 Pete Welter rated it liked it
Redirect hits three major point through a number of examples:

1) although many social change programs may intuitively seem helpful, very few have experimental evidence that proves they work, and often when they are studied, they prove to be either worthless or even damaging (two examples he gives: "scared straight" and DARE). Self-help books are even less proven.

2) Social science can point the direction towards useful interventions, even when those actions might seem counterintuitive. Example: to
Lisa Frieden
Apr 07, 2014 Lisa Frieden rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a book of social psychology written by a psych professor. I have to be honest - I've always found psych books slippery. However, Redirect was pretty straightforward. He rests his basic premise on work originally done by Kurt Lewin in the 30s & 40s and later adapted by James Pennebaker, that a "story editing approach in which a set of techniques are used to redirect people's narratives about themselves and the social world in a way that leads to lasting changes in behavior." Wilson ci ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Hyperliteratura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psihologie
Pentru cei care trec ca niște donjuani ai psihicului din carte self-help în altă carte self-help și schimbă psihoterapeuții mai des ca pe șosete, această metodă de a redirecționa poveștile într-o direcție pozitivă poate fi soluția lângă care și-ar dori să îmbătrânească.

Noua abordare prezentată de profesorul Wilson este bazată pe cercetările lui Kurt Lewin, cunoscut ca fondatorul psihologiei sociale. Poveștile personale la care se referă nu constituie nuvele pe care fiecare dintre noi și le scrie
Cheryl Keller
Feb 06, 2015 Cheryl Keller rated it it was amazing
An engaging book that gave me more critical questions to ask about social and personal improvement programs, and offered easy-to-understand, and scientifically sound approaches to some of the tougher challenges in our society, like preventing teenage pregnancy and reducing prejudice. The author makes the point that some of the most widely-accepted social programs have been developed using "common sense," but often they aren't effective (and sometimes they even make the problem worse). Yet, the p ...more
Laura Beegle
Jul 12, 2015 Laura Beegle rated it really liked it
A well written book about social psychology and how changing the stories we tell ourselves can have a big impact. I'm not a social psychologist and I found this book approachable and informative.

There were lots of interesting studies and approaches to social problems. On a personal note, I learned about "stereotype threat" where people feel they are at risk of confirming a negative stereotype about a group to which they belong. It can have a huge negative impact on performance. It's the first I'
Feb 05, 2015 Jerry is currently reading it
Shelves: sociology
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Listened to this one and it was very helpful. It shows the science of "story-editing", a way of reframing experiences and situations. The first chapters are very good, including a discussion of the Pennebaker approach in which you write about situations that you can't get over; helping you reframe and deal with your feelings about the situation. The author cautions against believing everything you read - he truly believes in good research and doing such research before adopting any new approache ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it
I'm taking a second look at some of the psychology books in my library. I agree with some of the other reviews I've read: The author does spend quite a bit of time --- and perhaps too much --- discussing the need for good, solid scientific research before deciding a program is successful and implementing it more broadly. This didn't bother me too much because I'm a big supporter of testing programs and theories and not just making assumptions. That said, there was still an opportunity to focus m ...more
Carie L
Jan 10, 2016 Carie L rated it really liked it
this book has a few very useful strategies to redirect your thinking when you're stressed and feeling insecure about yourself. it lists them by detailing social programs gone wrong.

the takeaway is to beware of popular approaches aimed toward social improvement (which seem like common sense) and instead opt for methods backed by science and evidence-based testing.

it's a bit boring and slightly repetitive at times, but that's because several studies are quoted for each strategy, which is the main
This is a well-focused book from an established academic in the field of Social Psychology. His premise is pretty simple: what he calls "story editing" is a technique to "redirect people's narratives about themselves and the social world in a way that leads to lasting changes in behavior." The basic premise is that changing the stories we tell ourselves can have measurable positive impacts on what we do.

The balance of the book applies this story-editing perspective to a variety of social issues:
Morgan Blackledge
Feb 17, 2013 Morgan Blackledge rated it liked it
This book is very useful (particularly if you are a psychology clinician, social worker, conscientious parent, educator, curious human being etc), as it (a) covers just enough experimental and statistical method to activate the "educated sceptic" module (b) rigorously shreds non evidence based interventions such as DARE and Scared Straight (c) introduces us to a broadly applicable method for adaptive personal and social change called "story editing" and effectively presents evidence for its effi ...more
Eric Schreiber
Nov 21, 2011 Eric Schreiber rated it liked it
While the premise of Redirect is that the story people tell themselves about a situation can change their long-term outlook on life, it spends a lot of time simply focusing on how multitudes of intervention programs don't work. Wilson is a strong believer in testing programs using a proper scientific method, with randomly selected treatment and control groups, and he makes this point over and over again. He digs into closing-the-gap education programs, teen pregnancy programs, school dropout pro ...more
Derrick Trimble
Dec 05, 2013 Derrick Trimble rated it liked it
There really is nothing new under the sun. I dove into the book with high expectations. After all, a Malcolm Gladwell called Redirect a 'masterpiece.' The first three chapters did not let me down. Setting the foundation of the principles of redirecting, Wilson moved on to the validity question, and then on to refreshing look at shaping our narratives. The candor and unabashed evisceration of the self-help and actualization movement had me going "Yeah", "See," and left me with a sense of self-sat ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
*Rewrite, revise, redirect.*

Popular belief and common sense would have you believe that self-help books (like the way-too-publicized _The Secret_) and programs to prevent and reduce child abuse, teen delinquency, and substance abuse (like Healthy Families of America, Dollar-A-Day programs, and the D.A.R.E. Program, respectively) work. After all, with all the publicity and praise they get, they surely seem to be accomplishing their goals, right?

As Timothy Wilson shows in his book _Redirect_, not
Nov 22, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Helpful, evidence-based insights into psychological change. Of particular note to me was using 'minimally sufficient' rewards and punishments for children. Otherwise, their motivations for doing or not doing something could be earn love or avoid consequences.

Also quite helpful are tips and suggestions for editing one's own personal story. When we consider past events, particularly traumatic events, it's difficult to have anything near an objective perspective. Wilson provides techniques for doi
Mar 14, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
I like the insight in this book and the refreshing approach of story-editing. I think it might be a bit oversimplified - whenever I read books like this, I am always depressed by the fact that so many little things can influence people's behaviors (other than themselves). We bend in the direction of least resistance. I would like to take this idea further and possibly in a completely different direction; in particular, how most initiatives and programs don't work specifically because they focus ...more
David Tendo
Mar 20, 2013 David Tendo rated it liked it
I didn't get as much out of this as I thought I would and the cover is actually quite deceiving. Don't get me wrong, this is an absolutely fascinating and thought-provoking read; extensively researched and referenced, but I didn't feel that there were any practical applications for the findings and it does nothing to "redirect" your thinking. Wilson mentions the "story-editing" method a lot, but he doesn't actually go into it in any great detail or explain how to use it, he does touch on it brie ...more
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Timothy D. Wilson is the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He has written for Science and The New York Times, among other publications and journals, and is the author of Strangers to Ourselves, which was named by New York Times Magazine as one of the Best 100 Ideas of 2002. Wilson is also the coauthor of the best-selling social psychology textbook, now in its ...more
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