Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things” as Want to Read:
Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  4,314 ratings  ·  200 reviews
For over twenty years, psychologist Richard Wiseman has examined the quirky science of everyday life. In Quirkology, he navigates the oddities of human behavior, explaining the tell-tale signs that give away a liar, the secret science behind speed-dating and personal ads, and what a person’s sense of humor reveals about the innermost workings of his or her mind-all along p ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published (first published 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Quirkology, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Quirkology

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
A very funny journey through the science of strange things. Does a black cat crossing your path really bring bad luck? What is the funniest joke in the world? How many people would actually wear a jumper which had, at one time, been worn by a serial killer but had been thoroughly laundered? Richard Wiseman makes it his mission to explore the science of quirkology - all of those odd things which we take for granted or without question, but when put to the test, produce some surprising results.

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
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.
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.
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! :)
Steve Cann
Richard Wiseman's Quirkology - packed with off-the-wall facts & studies into the human psyche - is certainly a fun & entertaining read. It's crammed with crazy human 'thought experiments' & insights into what outside influences can inadvertently colour our behaviour - especially those that make us behave in ways that go against our usual better judgment.

Among other things we learn why some people sense the presence of ghosts, why women's personal ads should be written by men, why tho
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
  • Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things
  • Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
  • How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life
  • A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives
  • Irrationality
  • Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking
  • Flim-Flam!
  • Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
  • On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not
  • Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions
  • Tricks Of The Mind
  • Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind
  • Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average
  • Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You
  • Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique
  • 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior
  • Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
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 about Richard Wiseman...
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life - The Four  Essential Principles Rip It Up Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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
More quotes…