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  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,987 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
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 secret science behind speed-dating and personal ads, and what a person’s sense of humor reveals about the innermost workings of their mind- a ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 27th 2007 by Basic Books (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

Blink by Malcolm GladwellOutliers by Malcolm GladwellFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Greatest Psychology Books
117th out of 409 books — 726 voters
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only
468th out of 1,036 books — 2,565 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 04, 2007 David rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2007
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
Mar 09, 2009 Devin rated it it was ok
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
Apr 24, 2014 Voodoochilli rated it did not like it
Shelves: science, psychology
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
Hoại Băng
Mar 19, 2016 Hoại Băng rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nhiều thông tin thú vị. Sách đọc khá hấp dẫn và có nhiều chỗ đáng suy ngẫm. Vừa hài hước vừa nghiêm túc. Mấy cái thí nghiệm hay và lạ quá trời. Giờ mới biết Milgram có mấy thí nghiệm khác ngoài thí nghiệm giật điện hay ho thế.

Phần "Xoá bỏ 'Nỗi sợ tiệc tùng'" cuối sách có thể được đánh dấu là tl;dr cho ai thích thức ăn nhanh. :))

Điểm trừ của sách là có vài ví dụ/vấn đề viết khá giống với quyển Influence đã rất nổi tiếng của tác giả Robert Cialdini. Mà trong quyển này tác giả cũng có nhắc đến quy
A fairly fun read, that tries to analyse a mish-mash of real-life quirky factoids, some common and some new, even if there were passages where the content was mostly fluff and the tone was very dry and with a patronising I'm-smarter-than-thou feel to it. Maybe it felt more of a letdown because my brain somehow equated the title Quirkology to quirky + fun, and while the content did have the scope for it, the writing didn't match my slightly misguided expectations.

(view spoiler)
Oct 19, 2009 Patrick rated it it was ok
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
Jan 04, 2010 Angie rated it really liked it
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!
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
Tulpesh Patel
Feb 14, 2010 Tulpesh Patel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-science
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
Con Bé Ki
Cuốn này, đích xác là nó có chứa những vấn đề mà mình quan tâm như Ngày sinh, Chiêm tinh học, rồi thì việc nói dối, tâm lý hay tính cách con người bla bla... Và những vấn đề đặt ra thì mới đầu đọc phần diễn giải lên thì nghe cũng vô cùng thú vị. Nhưng mà huhu, tâm lý học thì có nhưng chẳng thấy có hài hước gì. Đọc hoài đọc mãi mà không thấy có gì khởi sắc. Cho nó vô mục Sách-đọc-nửa-chừng-thì-tạm-dừng nhưng thực ra thì cũng đọc đến gần hết, chỉ còn mỗi phần cuối cùng với Lời cảm ơn là không đọc ...more
May 09, 2016 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I picked up a copy of Quirkology on a French campsite book exchange having previously enjoyed reading Richard Wiseman's self-help book 59 Seconds. Quirkology is a much thicker tome(!) which sets out to explore the findings of many different and unusual psychology studies undertaken over the past century or so and explain their results in layman's terms. I was disappointed by quite how low the bar is set, having hoped for a deeper view of the work with more science and less joky padding, but ther ...more
Raluca Popescu
Meh. That pretty much sums up how I felt about "Quirkology".
I've actually read my share of pop-psych-slash-"let's-translate-academic-articles-into-common-English" books, so it would be unfair to to criticize the book for containing a whole bunch of stuff I already knew about. My complaint, rather, is how tame and unengaging it was, especially having been (assumedly) written as a collection of outlandish research, either in topic or method. Most of the findings are predictable (oh, so my star si
Feb 12, 2010 Lynn rated it liked it
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
Ypatios Varelas
Dec 14, 2015 Ypatios Varelas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Συχνά διασκεδαστικό, κάποιες στιγμές λίγο βαρετό, σίγουρα ένα βιβλίο για να περάσει κάποιος μερικές ενδιαφέρουσες ώρες. Όσοι έχουν εντρυφήσει σε θέματα ψυχολογίας πιθανώς να μην βρουν εδώ κάτι καινούριο, όμως και τα ήδη γνωστά παρουσιάζονται με ένα ιδιαίτερο, περιπαικτικό τρόπο (που σε μερικούς μάλιστα δεν αρέσει, από ότι βλέπω στις κριτικές). Οι πιο άσχετοι μπορεί να εντυπωσιαστούν με κάποιες από τις διαπιστώσεις του συγγραφέα. Παρόλο που ανήκω στην πρώτη κατηγορία, θα το κρατήσω στη βιβλιοθήκη ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Steph rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 15, 2015 Melanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Apr 06, 2014 NancyHelen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

May 31, 2016 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. Lots of the reviewers here are really harsh, but perhaps my expectations were lower. I wasn’t expecting anything jaw-dropping. Merely lots of studies which (mostly) affirm stuff I already suspected. The prose is easy to read and (unlike many readers) I appreciated Wiseman’s droll sense of humour, I often chuckled as I read this on the train to and from work. And I found it very interesting. 9/10

I want to remember some of the studies which the book reports, so I’m blatantly going to c
Jan 07, 2016 Divakar rated it liked it
Richard Wiseman explores the quirky side of human behavior...or to put it more elegantly...explores human behavior and looks at the quirks involved.....whether it is speed dating, checking out on how to find out if people are lying, why people think some buildings are spooked, superstitions, does our surname predispose us to a certain profession ....etc., etc thru simple experiments in movie theaters, on the road, in restaurants and then gives his incisive analysis by delving deep into the human ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Stamatios rated it liked it
Depending on my mood that day, I found Quirkology to be either a fun popular science book or a flimsy one. Some of the experiments covered in the book were one-off or based on a small sample, and without more details it's difficult to say whether their statistics have any importance; in other words, they were not very scientific. And how can you be 100% scientific in this domain of research? Results are not always reproducible and there's no way to pick one out of the many theories that explain ...more
Richard Demsick
Jul 26, 2016 Richard Demsick rated it it was ok
Quirkology had a promising title and premise. The problem is it is written by an author who doesn't understand or appreciate quirky things but seems to be bothered by them. In fact this book is not about discovering big truths in small things at all. It is more like trying to simplify and explain away weird things so they don't seem so weird or interesting. He approaches the world like it's a magic show that only seems interesting because of some kind of illusion. The main problem is to do so he ...more
May 09, 2011 Kendra rated it really liked it
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
Nov 12, 2012 Bryan Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Christopher D'amico
Sep 04, 2015 Christopher D'amico rated it liked it
In this short, fun read, Dr. Wiseman investigates the psychology behind some of the strange and quirky behaviors of our strange people--which group is more likely to break certain traffic laws; whether we’d rather wear a sweater covered in poop rather than a clean one worn by a mass murderer; finding the funniest joke in the world; which groups are more helpful; and the like.

Though there is no plot to his story, Wiseman nevertheless breaks down an esoteric and strange subject—the human mind--int
Jun 16, 2009 Schissel rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2015 Steve Cann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jasha 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
« 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
  • A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives
  • Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
  • How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life
  • Irrationality
  • On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not
  • Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
  • Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind
  • Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking
  • Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments
  • Tricks of the Mind
  • Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions
  • Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway
  • The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule
  • 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior
  • The Faith Healers
  • Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole
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...

Share This Book

“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.” 5 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.” 2 likes
More quotes…