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59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,684 ratings  ·  668 reviews
In "59 Seconds," psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman presents a fresh approach to change that helps people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes, not months. From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, and resilience to relationships, Wiseman outlines the research supporting this new science of rapid change, and describes how these quick and quirky techniq ...more
Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by MacMillan (first published July 3rd 2009)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  8,684 ratings  ·  668 reviews

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Jul 02, 2011 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
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, psychology
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
Nov 18, 2011 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.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Erika RS
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Jan 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Adrienne Michetti
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 27, 2010 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
biblio_mom (Aiza)
"We all get used to what we have very quickly. Buying a new car or bigger house provides a short-term feel-good boost, but we quickly become accustomed to it and sink back to our pre-purchase level of joy. Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday's luxuries can soon become today's Necessities and tomorrow's relics. If money cannot buy happiness, what is the best way of putting a long-term smile on your face?"

Consist of 10 chapters, my favourite point would be t
Oct 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sandra Strange
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Katy Noyes
Jan 27, 2015 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
Derek Bridge
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 flimsy ...more
Sana 240505
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
As the title of the book says it is 59 seconds, it is an approach to change that is aimed to help people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes. I like the structure of this book, it covers many aspects of life and the author provides a lot of studies that support his techniques. The author start the book with a story between him and his friend Sophie regarding his opinion in specific topic and his explanation took so long at the end his friend Sophie asked him: are there any scientifically ...more
Rob Thompson
About the book: 59 seconds (2010) lays out some handy tips and insights backed by scientific research. Apply them today, and experience the change you want in your life.

About the author: Described by one of Scientific American’s columnists as “the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today,” psychologist and professor Richard Wiseman has given keynotes for the likes of Amazon and Google, and has written several bestselling books, including The Luck Factor and Qu
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
The only self-help book you need. Seriously.

In each of the various areas covered (anything from stress management to developing creativity to improving your relationships to parenting), this book gives several 1 minute science-backed tips. Most authors write an entire book about one or two of these tips and still get it wrong. This book also debunks urban myths (such as the Mozart effect) and replaces it with tips that are backed by plenty of research. Throw away all your self-help books and rea
Emma French
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Distils a large number of studies around happiness, relationships, stress - all sorts - into bite-sized 59 second excerpts. Well written, informative and entertaining, I learnt a few tips. If I touch you at the top of the arm when asking you to do something, I'm seeing if what I've read has worked!
Bianca Sy
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
As a psychology student, I completely enjoyed this book!

Jul 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was so disappointed by this book. I hoped it would be better than the countless self help books that use small and often methodologically weak studies and extrapolate huge generalizations from them, but it wasn’t.

Wiseman may have looked at thousands of articles, but it is clear that he didn’t look closely. Some sections of this book have well researched debunkings of popular ideas in the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM). Sometimes he presents a strong, well researched, case for a pa
Patrick Vallely
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 24, 2010 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 rated it really liked it
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
Rob Wade
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely cracking read. While some books would be happy to dismiss things like the self-help industry without any kind of evidence, this book provides case studies and details of all sorts of psychological tests. Reading this book really made me feel validated, as I've long suspected some of the things in this book to be true, and now there is some evidence to suggest that I might not have been crazy all this time!
Karol Gajda
Apr 26, 2014 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.
Carol Hislop
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and full of good advice and suggestions.
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Description uses British phrase.. sort of funny. 1 28 Jul 02, 2012 04:33AM  
Wrong title? 3 63 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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