59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
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59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,558 ratings  ·  340 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...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Anchor (first published 2009)
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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...more
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...more
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...more
Sean Mcguire
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.
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...more
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...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...more
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.
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
Mag
Jan 16, 2011 Mag rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...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...more
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...more
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.
Ulises
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.
K A
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
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...more
Jim
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
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
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
Arabian Rihanna
I didn't expect the book to be self-help oriented, so all the tips it offered were as welcome as unsolicited advice.

This book is more suitable for readers seeking tips for quick change.

Still an insightful read despite everything.
Daniel
I loved the premise of this non-fiction book: small tidbits of psychological and sociological studies presented in concise chapters for quick reading. Most of the chapters were very interesting; some I breezed through since they didn't apply much to me. Overall, a fun read with great insights about how we tick.
Wendy Palmer
Interesting and entertaining read, good for three groups of people:

1) people looking to improve their lives with quick but effective techniques based on psychological research rather than what seems like it would work;

2) people looking for a broad overview of many streams of cognitive psychology before deciding which of the many areas (eg happiness, motivation, persuasion, etc) to delve more deeply into;

and 3) waiters and waitresses looking to increase their tips.
Dritjon Gjimishka
Presumptuous, repetitive and nothing new

The book begins in a catchy way but that spar is gone after just 5 pages.
Here's what the author does:
"Do you want to achieve this? A lot of studies have shown that this is the way to achieve it. But those studies are wrong. Instead, here's this one study that is right. You should do this"

It does not offer ANY single explanation why "his" studies are better. Sometimes it goes into complicated, unnecessary and ridiculous explanations of why the studies he sh...more
Said
Gostei muito. 59 Segundos é um livro de observações úteis que podem te ajudar a, entre outras coisas, andar mais bem humorado, motivado, criativo, atraente, menos estressado, ficar com a vida afetiva em alta, ser mais decidido, ser um pai ou mãe melhor, conseguir analisar a personalidade das pessoas, enfim tudo aquilo que um livro de auto-ajuda tem em um livro fundamentado em pesquisas científicas (daquelas muitas vezes consideradas inúteis) e escrito por um cético.
Steph Burton
Interesting self-help book that claims to offer life-changing advice, primarily through debunking the life changing advice that the self-help industry has been peddling for decades. I was intrigued by the promise when the book was published and so was delighted to get a copy via BookCrossing from this year's World Book Night stash.

I like how Wiseman explains the many scientific experiments he quotes and I was fascinated by the frequently bizarre studies that have been conducted into human behavi...more
Matthew Galloway
I don't know how much I believe self-help kinds of books, but I'm glad that I had to read this one for work. There are all kinds of interesting tidbits that make you think. However, it is both uplifting and terrifying if all these psychological studies are correct -- it's amazing how many factors may control our thoughts and actions.
Gina
An easy but useful read, based on several hundred scientific studies. This book talks about areas such as stress, relationships, motivation, and creativity. The author gives quick tips on how to improve those areas of your life by using simple techniques.
Cindy
A very interesting psychology book with a novel premise - there's a lot that can be done in a little bit of time. The author breaks up the novel into 10 sections and each section has a few suggestions for actions that you can take to get quick results.

Happiness? There were several quick actions including holding a pencil in your mouth without letting your lips touch it (makes you grin). Another action suggested was a gratitude diary - he suggests just doing this for a week whenever you need a pi...more
Ivan
The book is a great overview of various approaches in self help industry recommended to help us with reaching common goals. Coolest thing is that you could skip to the last chapter to get all the stuff straight away - in 59 seconds:)
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Description uses British phrase.. sort of funny. 1 18 Jul 02, 2012 04:33AM  
Wrong title? 3 56 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...more
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“Happiness doesn't just flow from success; it actually causes it.” 7 likes
“When people can afford necessities in life, an increase in income dones not result in a significantly happier life.” 2 likes
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