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59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (3 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023074429X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230744295
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and is the author of the bestselling Quirkology and 59 Seconds. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media.


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859 of 869 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an easy and enjoyable book to read - the kind that you can dip in and out of, picking up interesting tips along the way. For each topic, Wiseman discusses a number of research experiments (both his own and ones done by others) and then gives a number of concrete suggestions on how you can quickly implement these findings - although 59 seconds is often a stretch. And why the title of this review? Because one of the things I learned from reading this book was the fact that if you've just had a caffeinated drink, you are far more likely to be swayed by someone else's opinion!

The book is based on the premise that quick techniques can sometimes be surprisingly effective at helping us to change and explains (based on research studies) which ones work and which don't. Some examples that I found interesting were:
- a simple five day writing exercise that can lift your mood for several weeks (essentially a more structured gratitude diary)
- how spending money on experiences is a far more effective way to make yourself happy than spending it on things
- how punching a pillow to relieve anger actually increases your anger, while sitting quietly and thinking about how you benefited (or at least learned) from the experience has the opposite effect
- conversational techniques that can build instant rapport on a first date (the trick is to use topics that create intimacy)
- exercises to stimulate the unconscious mind that lead to better decision making
- simple tests to assess your child's emotional intelligence.

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232 of 244 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Richard Wiseman has journeyed into the badlands of self-help books with a train of porters carrying academic research on what actually does work when it comes to fulfilling all those rather grandiose goals(losing weight, finding (or indeed fighting as I first typed) the perfect mate, or becoming hugely rich and impossibly attractive). One effect of this is that he packs a lot more advice into the book because the researchers finish off rather quickly some of the wackier (but sadly ineffective) theories that are often used to pad out self-help manuals.

The book therefore has at least two uses. Firstly, it is amusing to see what does work and why it might work (one needs to be careful in assuming the rationales have the same degree of scientific rigour). Secondly, there is some very good advice in here if you want to deal with various problems. My favourites are smiling in front of the mirror with a pencil between your teeth (increases well-being) and the starting a difficult task so you get sucked into finishing it (defeats procrastination). Something that entertains and informs, I recommend it.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Mobi on 25 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
If you don't want to buy this book, you can read this summary to get an idea of what is preached in the book.

When people can afford the necessities in life, an increase in income does not result in a significantly happier life. Part of the reasons is that we all get used to what we have very quickly.

Talking about traumatic experience does not help but writing does! This is because people tend to be more systematic solution based during writing.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone! It means you can re-create happiness by going out of the environment and entering it so that the joy of getting something first time re-appears.

Experiential purchase provides greater happiness.

If you want real retail therapy, help yourself by helping others.

In interview, likeability is more important than qualification and work experience.

Bystander effect - The more people who are around when a person is apparently in need of assistance, the lower the likelihood that any one person will actually help!

If you want maximum return for your investment (donation, act of favor etc.), ask for return favor quickly else recipient will forget it.

If you have a photo of a baby in your wallet, you are more likely to get it back if lost.

To achieve your aims and ambitions, there are four key techniques that will help you succeed: having the right kind of plan, telling your friends and family, focusing on the benefits, and rewarding yourself each step of the way.

Looking at greenery, plants etc. inspires creativity.

There is a strong link between anxiety and creativity.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. White TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most would agree that Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives was a brilliant book. So, given its strength, I bought 'Did You Spot The Gorilla' and was very disappointed by what felt like a rushed out book(let! of barely a 100 pages), and a poor distant cousin of Quirkology. Thus it was with some degree of hesitation, that I recently bought :59 Seconds...

And was I happy with it? Very much so. Professor Wiseman has definitely returned with gusto! 59:seconds is a book which proves that the man who wrote Quirkology had plenty more tricks up his sleeve. Although some have unjustly criticised his straying off course at times - insofar as when he has an interesting social experiment's results to hand, he cannot help himself, and slips same into the text - even when the accompanying pages may have less relevance to the results he's just disclosed. But I still say: interesting reading is interesting reading! And so what if the professor has seasoned his text with some liberal snippets of curiously entertaining information!? The book is all the better - not worse - for it.

In this most interesting & well written book, he seeks to find out if it's possible to change your life (from decision making and parenting to creativity, stress and relationships etc.) in the minimal of time? And, some 340 pages later, you'll be in no doubt that it is. It's clear that Professor Wiseman took no shortcuts in writing this book, which has some 27 pages of extensive reference notes; and is to be congratulated for producing arguably one of the best books on 'self help' ever written.
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