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Did You Spot The Gorilla?: How to Recognise the Hidden Opportunities in Your Life Paperback – 5 Aug 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099466430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099466437
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,276 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.

Product Description

Book Description

An exciting and unusual popular business/self-help book that reveals a new way of creating opportunities at work and in personal life.

About the Author

Professor Richard Wiseman has a first-class honours degree in Psychology from University College London, a doctorate from Edinburgh University, and was awarded the prestigious Perrott-Warrick Scholarship from Trinity College Cambridge. He now heads a research unit based within the Psychology Department at the University of Herefordshire. Professor Wiseman's work is frequently featured in the national press, and he has appeared many times on Horizon, Equinox and World in Action, and co-presented BBC1's Out of this World with Carol Vorderman. He has also made regular appearances on BBC1's Tomorrow's World, on which he has carried out several large-scale experiments involving thousands of people.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Vinman666 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book partly because I've discovered an interest in psychology and also because I'd like to spot hidden opportunities that have perhaps passed me by. On its arrival, the first gorilla I spotted was the number of pages of content: 107. Factor in that each change of chapter involves 2 blank pages and 1 full page drawing for the chapter header and the number of pages of actual text is less still. That's not unusual for this type of book (e.g. "Who moved my cheese" or "The One Minute Manager") but worth knowing in advance.

It's an entertaining read and includes a variety of demonstrations of each technique though once again the drawings for these fill quite a lot of page space. At least it's based on proper research (fully referenced at the back) and kicks any of the self-help nonsense - "The Secret" et al - into touch; for that reason I've given it 4 stars with the caveat below.

I would suggest this is a useful book for a business, where it could be shared around a team for the benefit of all - it won't take more than an hour or so to read. For the casual reader, the same author's ":59 Seconds - Think a little, Change a lot" book is better value. It covers this topic with less padding and contains a wealth of other psychological advice for living a happier life.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By D. Clews on 21 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you understand what is meant by the term, "can't see the woods for the trees" and you have read any books about lateral thinking then you will be as disappointed as I was. Many examples are given of people who have thought laterally but this book calls it "spotted the gorilla" (based on a video demonstrating an interesting psychological phenomenon which has been seen by many internet users.)
In a nutshell, the author tells you to stand back to look at the bigger picture (see the wood rather than the trees) and do some brainstorming without excluding the ridiculous and you may find you improve your observational and problem solving skills.
I found the book an enjoyable and very easy read but with very little content that I had not encountered previously.
If this sort of material is unfamiliar to you, I promise you will enjoy it and it will be worth five stars to you.
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104 of 113 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
The title of this book on creativity immediately caught my eye. The gorilla is a metaphor for those priceless ideas and opportunities which seem obvious in hindsight, but which most people miss. I have my own company and am always looking for innovative ideas to attract clients and get ahead of the competition. The book is packed full of amusing examples, really eye-catching illustrations, and practical exercises that do a great job of demonstrating how to improve one's gorilla-spotting skills. Unusually, the book is written by an academic rather than a motivational speaker, so it's based on authentic research rather than vague hand-waving. It certainly tickled a few of my creative parts that had not been tickled before! Before reading "gorilla" I was stuck on the problem of how to do an annual promotional mailing round our client list without them filing it straight in the trash can. The book gave me several new ideas for an eye-catching promotion and my only problem now is which one to use. I think this book will be priceless to anyone who's looking for innovative ideas - not only that, it's fun to read too - what more could you ask?!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. White TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed Quirkology and looked to Wiseman's back catalogue hoping to find something just as interesting. Alas, Did you Spot The Gorilla was most disappointing in comparison. Not least because it was so short. Though it is quoted as being of over a hundred pages the actual pages of readable text amount to noticeably less than that. There are cartoons and many instances of blank pages used throughout the book to pad out its size too. Which I felt was a little naughty.

Despite its shortness, it's not too bad a book; just not up to the standard I expected of him, having loved his other book. So, at the end of the day, I feel that the author (characteristically an experimenter) was trying out an experiment in how little could be published and yet still be received as a sucessful book. His successful book remains, Quirkology, and unless you are more of a fan of Wiseman than I am (& I am!) then stick to that instead.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Mr P R Morgan on 20 May 2005
Format: Paperback
Here is a title to make you stop and think. Based on an experiment where viewers of a video clip are asked to count the number of passes a three-a-side basketball team make, an astonishing 80% fail to see the gorilla-costumed intruder. This can be because we are too focussed - we don't see what we are not looking for. A 'gorilla' is something so blindingly obvious that we fail to see it.
The book is deliberately aimed at the 55-minute audience, those short-haul train or plane travellers, and is expensive on a cost-per-page basis. However, the cost has to be offset against the value it gives to the professional and personal lives of readers. Make no mistake, there is a huge carry-over in applying lessons to business life and home - change your outlook in one and it will almost certainly affect the other.
The volume may be used as a corporate hand-out, and it uses psychological tricks and ploys, with anecdotes of where a 'gorilla' has been found. Many readers could add their own examples, and that can work well in a group context.
A chatty style is not prescriptive, and there are 4 clear lessons to encourage gorilla spotting. One thing that I did find irritating was being asked to write answers in the book. Needless to say I did not do this - it ruins the volume for ever, and means that the pages cannot be revisited in the future. At any rate, not without purchasing an additional copy. The cynic may think that this is to encourage further sales.
Richard Wiseman has written a little gem that should make you stop and think. Perhaps the biggest key to spotting 'gorillas' is to be aware that there are some out there. Go out and look for some. It could change your life.
Peter Morgan, Bath, UK (morganp@supanet.com)
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