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Rip It Up

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Rip up this book and unleash your hidden potential

Most self-help books encourage you to think differently; to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming and often doesn’t work.

Drawing on a dazzling array of scientific evidence, psychologist Richard Wiseman presents a radical new insight that turns conventional self-help on its simple physical actions represent the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel.

So don't just think about changing your life. Do it.

*Discover the simple idea that changes everything

*Lose weight

* Stop smoking

* Feel instantly younger

256 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 5, 2012

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About the author

Richard Wiseman

70 books533 followers
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 the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where he has gained an international reputation for research into psychology of luck, self-help, persuasion, and illusion. He has published over 50 papers in leading peer reviewed academic journals (including Nature and Psychological Bulletin), and his work has been cited in over 20 introductory textbooks.

A passionate advocate for science, his best-selling books have been translated into over 30 languages and he has presented keynote addresses at several organisations, including Microsoft, The Royal Society, Caltech, and Google.

Richard is the most followed British psychologist on Twitter, and has created viral videos that have received over 40 million views. Over 2 million people have taken part in his mass participation experiments and he has acted as a creative consultant to Derren Brown, The MythBusters, CBS’s The Mentalist, and Heston Blumenthal, Nick Cave, and the West End play ‘Ghost Stories’.

Richard is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle, an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, and a Fellow of the Rationalist Association. He is one of the most frequently quoted psychologists in the British media and was recently listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live.

He likes sushi, is fond of dogs, and finds Arrested Development very funny.

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5 stars
209 (25%)
4 stars
319 (38%)
3 stars
233 (28%)
2 stars
50 (6%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
29 reviews
January 8, 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book. In a nutshell, it describes how our actions changes our emotions (not the other way around), and how this can be used to improve our lives. Using actions to change emotions is far easier to do than the converse - trying to change our emotions so that we then act differently.

I like how the author uses research to back up the key points. Many of the ideas presented are also applicable to daily life, so can be used by the reader without difficulty. Throughout the book, Wiseman suggests ways the reader can use these techniques.

I also like the author's writing style. It seems to hook me in and make me want to read more!
Profile Image for Nigeyb.
1,210 reviews266 followers
April 16, 2022
My two favourite authors who write about psychology, self help etc are Oliver Burkeman and Richard Wiseman. Both write fascinating, practical and original books on the subject.

Rip It Up (2012) deals with the As If principle first identified by American psychologist William James (brother of Henry, triv fans). It’s extraordinarily simply and powerful. According to James, behaviour determines outcomes. For example, if you smile you will feel happier. Your brain interprets what your body does. If you want an emotion, attitude or aptitude, act as if you already have it. Richard Wiseman cites an impressive amount of research to point to the veracity of this claim.

As usual, Richard Wiseman has written a book that is accessible, inspirational, applicable and intriguing.


Profile Image for Sarah Clement.
Author 1 book100 followers
May 19, 2013
There is a lot of useful information scattered through this book, along with a fair bit I will probably never use. It's not groundbreaking information if you are familiar with psychology, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth reading again and considering how you could actually apply it in your own life. Ripping pages out of the book didn't bother me much, but if you're someone who thinks books are meant to be clean and pristine, than you may struggle with the exercises. I am sure you could just use a separate notepad for most of them. There were far too many exercises, but I think that's probably because there were several sections of the book that weren't particularly relevant for me. Perhaps the biggest critique I have of this book and that came out at our book club meeting was that he stretched the 'as if principle' a bit too far. I realise the point of the book is to simplify all this self-help crap and actually use some evidence to decide how to improve your life. However, as you proceed through the book, it's questionable whether or not Wiseman is forcing the principle into the narrative, rather than it emerging from the data. This isn't my favourite Wiseman book, but I would say that it's a helpful book to have on your shelf and pull out for reference or when you're struggling with a particular issue.
Profile Image for Rinn.
292 reviews217 followers
January 16, 2015
For the giveaway, please click here.

I was sent this book, plus a copy to give away to one reader, by the publisher (Pan MacMillan) in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know a thing about psychology. Or rather, I didn't before reading this book. Richard Wiseman sets out to write a new type of self-help book, and although I have never read any before so have nothing to compare it against, I really did enjoy this one.

The basic premise is that you read through each chapter, which sets up each task in the book, and complete various tasks as you go through. Many of the tasks involve - as the title suggests - ripping pages out of the book, writing on the book; this is something that many readers will be quite uncomfortable with.

But the brilliant thing is, that's the whole point. Wiseman wants to lure people out of their comfort zones, encourage them to act in ways that they wouldn't, which in turn enforces his 'As If' method. He states that it is not the way that we think through which we can change ourselves, but the way that we act. Want to be more confident? But on a brave face and soon you will find yourself feeling a lot better for it.

Whilst some of these ideas are a lot easier said than done - if it was that simple, no-one would have reason to be shy - he brings up some very interesting theories and I really believe that if you keep trying them out, there's no reason why you couldn't make yourself more confident, or increase your self-control, or become a more organised person. I have used this sort of technique before when talking to large groups (or even small groups, I'm quite the introvert). I often find that if I go up there thinking in a confident manner, I develop that confident manner.

Don't be put off by the label of a 'self-help' book. I was actually more interested in the psychology side, something that Wiseman really provides. He wrotes about so many past experiments and theories, and there's a lot about the history of social psychology - to me, it was all so fascinating. It is also written in a way that is completely accessible to someone - like myself - who has never studied psychology in any way. His historical anecdotes go all the way from ancient Greece and Rome to modern day experiments. The history lessons also set up the experiments and tasks for the reader to complete very nicely.

As for the tasks themselves, I was expecting more when I started the book - there seems to be a larger concentration in the last few sections. The variety is great, from basic surveys and pages asking you to pick out adjectives to describe yourself, to asking the reader to deface a photograph of the author's grandfather (yes, really!).

The section on attraction was fascinating - I think I'm going to have to try and use it to my advantage! Another part that really amazed me was a story of a patient with Urbach-Wiethe disease, a condition that causes that part of the brain central to emotional experiences, particularly fear, to deteriorate. There was also a really interesting study on how the appearance of avatars in online games might cause people to perceive themselves (perfect for people like me!).

I would have loved to have read more on how dancing can make people happier than any other exercise, as it is something I really enjoy - and actually started doing when I was going through a hard time, because it made me feel so much better. I'm also a bit skeptical about the idea for helping depression - a sort of think positively, and you'll feel positive idea - because having gone through it myself, I don't think it's that simple.

The interactiveness of the book, combined with the easy to read writing style and occasional humour really makes this one a great read, whether you're looking for some 'self-help' or not. If you'd like to learn a little more about social psychology, especially if you know nothing of the subject, I would also highly recommend this book.

This review is also posted on my book blog, Rinn Reads.
Profile Image for Richard Wright.
Author 30 books47 followers
July 24, 2012
Wiseman continues his work exploring how individuals can apply established Psychological theory in their lives. If you've read 59 Seconds, then this book expands on and refines some of the thinking explored in that book. Much of the theory here derives from or is related to the work of psychologist William James, who proposed theories entirely opposite to those of his peer Freud. Where Freud speculated about an inner landscape of subconscious, full of drives you don't understand that effect your behaviour, James believed the opposite to be true - your personality and emotional interior are a response to your behaviour, not the driver of it. Simply put, your body does stuff, and your mind then interprets how that means you must be feeling. If you want to be happier, smile more. Because you are smiling, you start to feel happier, because that's what how your mind interprets what you're doing. Doing it makes it happen. Summed up, it sounds silly, but there's a century of convincing evidence that this is the case. Of course, the book provides little of the counter-evidence, but it's a theory that few regular people will be familiar with, and Wiseman walks through it with enjoyable bonhomie.
Profile Image for NormaCenva.
1,156 reviews83 followers
March 8, 2013
Reading this book left me quite upset and angry (don't worry just for couple of seconds only). As a "helping" professional, in my field I work directly with people who have all sorts of difficulties in their lives, and I learned from experience both personal and relational, that there are NEVER any cut out, ready solution for a problem, even if it may seen so in the beginning.
This book is just another one of the sorts that tries to masks CBT approach. It tries to portray the proposed solutions as new and revolutionary, or at least implies so, but in reality when you are done reading it... The techniques and experimental applications of the principal mentioned in the book is "self-helping" in the worst meaning of that expression. The part of the book that mentions dealings with Mental Health problems is quite frankly a complete joke. Save your time and sanity - try and find a better book to read.
37 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2018
"Tu mal so als ob...", dieser Spruch ist die Soforthilfe für jede Verhaltensänderung. Wir gehen davon aus, dass wir Ressourcen brauchen, um bestimmte Handlungen zu tätigen. Die Kernaussage des Autors ist, dass dieser Zusammenhang auch umgekehrt funktioniert: Wir können auch so tun, als ob wir die Ressourcen hätten und mit diesen imaginären Ressourcen handeln. Dadurch senden wir uns selbst entsprechende Ressourcen und bei längerem "so tun als ob" werden diese sogar langfristig installiert. Das Buch zieht sich sehr. Der pragmatische Leser braucht nur diese Kernaussage und die zweiseitige Zusammenfassung am Ende des Buches.
Profile Image for Taylan Demirkaya.
4 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2014
A very oractical hapiness guide. Just read and do as it says. I like to read Richard's academic but cuddling way of writing :)
Profile Image for Patrick.
286 reviews18 followers
August 16, 2020
Picked this up from the 'free library' at the bottom of Scotland Street (a great idea, and where a fair amount of my books are coming from just now) as I'd once heard Richard Wiseman give a talk and thought he was quite interesting.

This book, though, rarely rises to the level of meh. I think there's an interesting article about William James buried in there somewhere, but it's hidden amidst selp-helf advice "the whiniest section of the bookshop" to quote a line from Rat Girl - though here my problem was more its didactic tendencies) that seems to set me on edge. That said, the bit in the final section about how hypnotism might actually work was interesting, and the chapter on how people end up bonding with/falling for their partners did leave me with a slightly uncomfortable moment of self-recognition, a kind of "oh, that's what was going on" moment...

And it's not badly written. Can't entirely dislike a book that includes the line "If you were to cut off your head and examine the region of the brain closest to your spine, you would see two almond shaped pieces of tissue..."
Profile Image for Graffda.
58 reviews16 followers
October 12, 2019
Although I believe this book should have been given different name it was full of interesting information and ideas, small exercises that could come in handy. It might or might not help you depending on who you are or how seriously you take it, but in my opinion it is definitely worth reading for everyone
Profile Image for Kursad Albayraktaroglu.
213 reviews14 followers
August 20, 2019
I had previously read "59 Seconds" by Wiseman and thoroughly enjoyed the concise, immediately practical findings of modern psychology presented in the author's unique style. I had high expectations for "Rip it Up", and for the most part I was not disappointed.

Most of the book is dedicated to the results of various experiments related to what Wiseman calls the "act as if" principle he outlined in his other books. As I mentioned, most of the advice in the book is immediately usable in daily life and Wiseman's writing makes it accessible and fun.
Profile Image for funkgoddess.
137 reviews4 followers
July 19, 2012
"fake it till you make it" - that's the central premise of this enjoyable, relaxed and possibly life changing book. taking the work of william james as the start, prof wiseman describes the extensive and sometimes fun research on how emotions follow behaviour (and not the other way round). This approach resonated with me, so far as I've been off the fags for 3 days now with, so far, no problems. a practical, positive-action 'self-help' guide.
Profile Image for Joe Wright.
15 reviews4 followers
November 5, 2013
Like his previous book. This one continues the author's quest to review self-help advice by looking at studies that prove or disprove them to come up with practical advice.

Central to the book is the idea of the 'As if" principle. That behaviour affects emotions as well as the other way around.

A fun read.
Profile Image for Barry Morisse.
58 reviews
September 20, 2015
A rather underwhelming book full of popular psychology. It doesn't offer anything new - but rather uses anecdotes to make one point. The way you act, dictates the way you feel.

That's all there is to it.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
36 reviews
May 14, 2016
Disappointing. I'm a big Richard Wiseman fan, but this book just wasn't nasic premise is good, and some of the research is interesting. But then the book just goes on and on and on about the same point, with no new information.
Profile Image for Chris Weatherburn.
Author 1 book1 follower
June 6, 2020
Interesting book with detailed accounts of numerous experiments to assess happiness. If you like studies such with fake probes being attached to people's foreheads to mislead participants to thinking that the facial muscles are being studied (whereas subjective happiness is being studied) you will like this book. This study assessed the effect a smile has on reported happiness and showed that smiling did increase reported happiness. Therefore book suggests regular smiling for at least 20 seconds increases your happiness. In addition walking purposefully, as opposed to stooped with hesitant strides helps your happiness. When shaking hands do so smoothly and firmly up and down, this boosts the other persons feelings towards you, even mentions a study to back this up!

Interesting experiments in which children were divided into two groups for three weeks and observed and then rivalries between these groups were induced. The learning point was that you could get them to also cooperate and like each other with an intervention by getting them to share tasks to perform a mutual goal.

Mentions the 'jigsaw method' for teaching in which you split a class into groups of people from different backgrounds to work together. Each person is responsible for a component of the task, they meet members from other teams responsible for the same part and then feedback learning to their group. As the team is marked as one the group soon cooperate rather than dislike people of different backgrounds.

Suggests If you clench your fist you will feel more confident. Outlines trials in which people's opinions and confidence is assessed by putting them in scenarios such as making them eat worms. Another study even looks at height of virtual world of warcraft characters and how much they achieve. Some situations lower self confidence which goes down to the chicken and egg question in terms of why confident people may do more. Suggests new experiences boost confidence but you need to be willing to try these.

The main concept the book highlights is the "as if" concept. If you want to possess a quality then act as if you already have it, this then boosts your ability to actual possess this.
Profile Image for Alex.
53 reviews13 followers
June 19, 2017
I had been trying to get my hands on a copy of this book for years and I finally got to read it. I must say that is is by far one of my favorites this year.
The book deals with a not so new psychological and behavioral theory or "method", if one could call it that way, that proposes a reversal of the "mind over matter" axiom. It states that sometimes the "mind" just reacts to the "matter" (being your body, surroundings, etc), if you act in a certain way, you will evoke a certain mood, the "body" acts and the mind reacts. As I have stated before, this is not new to anyone familiar with some concepts of psychology, and while very effective, is not by any means a rule or a definitive debunk of "mind over matter", as the author makes it seem at times.

This book clarified so many things about myself and the way thinks like marketing or first sight love works. With a handful of very interesting exercises, the author shows you how to show yourself that the "act as if" method is a reality, proposing that anything is possible, from loosing weight to dealing with depression and anxiety, all it takes is making little changes in the way you behave, little changes that have big repercussions.

The book is very interesting throughout, citing a lot of studies and research that has been conducted to test the principle. Some of the studies and their results sometimes seem incredible and amazing, leaving you wondering how we change our minds or react in very odd ways under the right circumstances and how very influenciable we are.

Having read some books by Mr. Wiseman, I'm getting used to his sarcastic and (sometimes) critic style towards metaphysics and that sort of stuff, giving a "believer" as me, a chanceto step out of my confort zone and reassess my beliefs and methods.

A very recommended book, one I'm definitely marking as favorite and that will be reading one more time (or two).
Profile Image for Amanda Youngs.
186 reviews
November 1, 2021
A very nice read to this piece of audio.

I don't believe in quick fixes in general. What Richard Wiseman presents here is (essentially a continuation of his other book "59 seconds" - and I wish I'd known that before I started it because I would rather have read that first given this information!) the nearest thing we're going to get to a quick fix to a very great number of issues tackled in a whole range of self-help books!

It's one central argument throughout, developed to apply to things like losing weight, gaining confidence and generally living a happier, more successful life according to your own measure. That argument is not even one of his own - in fact, it's an argument advanced by William James (regarded by many, especially in America, as the father of modern psychology) umpteen years ago in the Victorian era! But I'm not telling you any more than that - you can read it, or listen to it, yourself to find out.

He does write engagingly and makes the whole book interesting, with lots of examples and stories that stick in your mind. I think it would be difficult not to enjoy it as a piece of entertaining non-fiction, but I can't help feel (and many others may do also, I suspect) just a little cheated by the fact that we all knew the central argument before we began reading it!

Ah, I'm being unkind. It's a good book, which is why it gets 4 stars. It's well read, too, which always helps (I can be very picky about audio books). I think it's worth the investment of your time. As for me, I'm going back over it again at some point very soon, and that says everything you need to know, doesn't it?
January 6, 2023
Ótimo livro!
Como é bom ler conteúdo que agrega pra nossa vida que realmente é embasado cientificamente.
Além disso, várias ideias do livro coadunam outras obras de divulgação científica como Rápido e Devagar. Em destaque a ideia de que temos dois eus. Diferente de R&D, Rip it up chama esses eus eu “boss”, que comanda as nossas ações, e eu “observador”, que as justifica. A partir desse embasamento teórico, ele apresenta a tese de que primeiro agimos para então pensarmos e sentirmos. The "as if" principle.
- List 9 activities that make you feel good and pick one each week.
- Dating: high heart rate, make it dark, play footsie, jokingly flirt, gently embrace, gaze long into each other eyes, make little gifts, hold hands, work together to achieve a goal.
- How to get over something: Write it down, rip it out, put it in an envelope and kiss the past goodbye.
- To calm down, act as a calm person. To be excited, act as an excited person.
- Body scan and relaxation to deal with anger.
- Guilty? Wash your hands. Too guilty? Take a shower.
- Learn how to identify your body sensations. From this point, you can stop misattributing it to certain feelings and thoughts.
- How to avoid depressive episodes (more on Notion).
- How to plan out the week
- Procrastination: Just pretend you're highly motivated.
- Push the temptation away from you and feel it fade.
Points that go against mainstream self-help books:
- Maybe not taking the blame is better than to do it. (Although it's necessary to be responsible, which is more like not feeling like the victim.)
- Rewards are bad.
- You don't need to change your "mindset" before changing the way you act.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
27 reviews1 follower
November 30, 2022
The subject matter of this book is what the author calls “The As If Principle”. Put simply, it is the idea that people decide on their emotional state by monitoring their physiological response to external (or internal) stimuli. This is a legitimate theory in psychology known as Self-Perception Theory. It was first proposed by William James and refined by Stanley Schachter. The purpose of the book is to introduce the reader to the idea that a person’s emotional state can be influenced by conscious behaviour. For example, acting confident should result in feeling confident. The theory is supported by decades of research and is the antithesis of the relatively recent idea that a person’s behaviour is influenced by their thoughts.

Whilst the subject matter of the book is worthwhile, the delivery is not. The reason for this is the author. I am a fan of Richard Wiseman, and I enjoyed his books Quirkology and Paranormality. However, his communication style is casual and humorous, a style that isn’t suitable for the topic of the book. Psychological theories as significant as Self-Perception Theory require a more professional tone. I also think that the book doesn’t delve deep enough into the concepts presented and leaves the reader wanting more. I’ve no doubt there are better books on the subject.
Profile Image for Daniel Maurath.
130 reviews1 follower
December 23, 2022
The entire premise and summary of this book is: thought can follow action in contrast to the commonly held assumption that all action follows thought. There is a lot more explanation and retreading of the same Pscyh 101 ground (Freud, Zimbardo, etc.) like any pop psychology book, but really not much more to it, and really not much of it was needed.

He never challenges his premise with studies that are NOT cherry-picked to support his claim and is far too adamant that the relationship between action and behavior is reversed as opposed to bi-directional and complicated as it is.

Overall, this is a reductionist and repetitive explanation the drivers of emotion—that never moves beyond the endless stream of study summaries that characterizes middling pop science writing.
Profile Image for Wilde Sky.
Author 16 books34 followers
September 21, 2020
The main theme of this book is that altering your behaviour can alter your emotions, for example smiling can make you happy. This idea is summed up in the phrase “fake it until you make it” which has been around for quite a while.

I found some of the advice useful, such as pushing away food to help you diet, but in many sections I found the key points were lost in the long winded writing.

Overall I I thought this book provided some good advice, but was too long (reading time around 6 hours) and would have been better as a short / punchy set of advice (i.e. dumping a lot of the background theory).
Profile Image for Ranjeeth R.
30 reviews1 follower
May 3, 2018
The most important and the only take away from this book is the 'as-if principle'. behaviour influences emotions, actions influence behaviour, etc. You smile and you feel happy and not the other way around. this single point is highlighted in the entire book using different studies and experiments. It radically changes your thought process. but other than this, there's nothing in this book. hence 3*
Profile Image for Book Grocer.
1,190 reviews28 followers
August 26, 2020
Purchase Rip It Up here for just $10!

Not just another old self help book! Wiseman's Rip It Up backs up his tips with scientific evidence, and can be applied to every facet of your life; physical, emotional, professional and interpersonal.

Anastasia- The Book Grocer
Profile Image for Jehona.
239 reviews17 followers
March 30, 2018
It is fun and full of interesting information, but I hate that it pretends to be one of those wacky books that promise to fix all your problems. I know it is a marketing strategy (people aren't as interested in popular science books about psychology as they are in being happier), but it's annoying to me.
5 reviews
October 4, 2017
Empiracle evidence to describe what works and what doesn't work in the realm of self help. Good portion of book is a rehash of 59 seconds (previous book by RW). The other 50% is new material which is great. Highly recommend.
438 reviews5 followers
September 9, 2020
Not Wiseman's best book; repetitive in parts and covers ground that anyone familiar with his work will know. Still lots of interesting stuff in there. Probably best to be selective and just read the chapters that interest you.
Profile Image for Ayesha Ratnayake.
Author 6 books9 followers
February 18, 2022
I've read Wiseman's 'The As If Principle' and this seems to be the same book by a different name, though I can't seem to find any reference to that anywhere! Did I get tricked into buying the same book twice? As a fan of Wiseman's work, I'm disappointed - I was expecting some fresh Wiseman wisdom.
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