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59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,996 Ratings  ·  489 Reviews
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
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ebook, 240 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Anchor (first published 2009)
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Chris
Jul 02, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(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
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David
Apr 28, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, self-help
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 ...more
Sean Mcguire
Nov 18, 2011 Sean Mcguire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara
Jul 17, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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Lena
Jul 24, 2009 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
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Dan
Oct 27, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
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
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Mag
Jan 16, 2011 Mag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mag by: Kuba
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 ...more
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
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♥ Ibrahim ♥
Jan 21, 2015 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
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 ...more
Sana 240505
Mar 18, 2014 Sana 240505 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrick Vallely
Feb 21, 2013 Patrick Vallely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Katy Noyes
Mar 22, 2015 Katy Noyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 ...more
Silvia
Oct 29, 2013 Silvia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mugen
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
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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 fli ...more
Dan
Jan 24, 2010 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Daniel Westman
Mar 23, 2014 Daniel Westman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ulises
Jun 10, 2014 Ulises rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es refrescante leer de vez en cuando algo alejado de la ficción, y me alegra haber elegido este libro. Práctico, entretenido y con un lenguaje sencillo, que no se enreda con tanto término técnico, es una lectura rápida e interesante. Me hubiese gustado que en el año que estudié nos hubiesen mostrado un libro así en los ramos de psicología.
Karol Gajda
Apr 26, 2014 Karol Gajda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
ERHAN DEMIRBAS
Aug 18, 2016 ERHAN DEMIRBAS rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Mutlu olmak istiyorsanız, öyleymiş gibi davranın.
- Karmaşık bir dil kullanmayın. Sadece el yazınızı düzeltmek ve dilinizi basitleştirmek, daha iyi bir izlenim bırakabilir.
Carol Hislop
May 10, 2015 Carol Hislop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and full of good advice and suggestions.
Kevin Cecil
I started reading this because Richard Wiseman writes one of my favorite blogs (http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2...). I thought it would be a satirical deconstruction of the self help industry, instead it's an earnest deconstruction of self help industry claims that offers more realistic claims based on scientific studies. I once joked "I may be a depressed and broke failure but at least I've never read a self help book." Thanks to Wiseman, I'm now a depressed and broke failure who has read ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
We all want to be happier, more creative, less stressed, and better parents, and we all want to be these things right now. Well, why not? Research about how to be a better person is out there, so why not write a book with the best quick ways to be better, ideas that can change a person in one minute or less? So went the thinking of Wiseman in creating this book.

My focus for the year is how to be happier, so I will share these tips here, in hopes of remembering them and practicing them in my own
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Manik Sukoco
I liked the idea of this book, self help backed up by research. The only snag is the amount of tests and observations reported went on and on and on. They could have been cut down by at least half and still given a clear picture as to why people behave as they do. I found myself skimming over the majority to get to the self help tips. Overall there were some new concepts and ideas which I will practice. Decent enough read.
Kirtan
Feb 22, 2012 Kirtan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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 ...more
Jim
Nov 20, 2010 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Another pretty good book that is convinced on the one hand that you can do things to "Change Your Life", they just shouldn't be looked for in books that promise to "Change Your Life". In the first few pages he debunked the myth of the oft-quoted Harvard students who wrote down their goals versus those who didn't and I chuckled over the fact that I'd been taken in by this story too. Well, so what? As this book states, some of those techniques do work, you just have to understand which and why bef ...more
Andrea
Apr 11, 2016 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect and easy psychological tips how to be a little happier in various areas of your life based on a research rather than on opinion. Very readable. Perfect for those who like uncomplicated but still psychological approach.
Kerry Boerst
Oct 21, 2015 Kerry Boerst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better Psychology/Self-Help books that I have read. I picked it up after reading an opinion piece on it. I'm not sure that it could be described as being a life changing read but there is some sound advice contained in it. --That and some good old fashioned common sense.

Bottom line? I don't feel like I wasted my time in reading this one.
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Description uses British phrase.. sort of funny. 1 27 Jul 02, 2012 04:33AM  
Wrong title? 3 61 Jul 07, 2009 04:23PM  
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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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“Happiness doesn't just flow from success; it actually causes it.” 17 likes
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