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Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives Paperback – Unabridged, 4 Mar 2011


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Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives + 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot + The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Edit/Cover edition (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330448110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330448116
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,076 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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About the Author

Richard Wiseman is Britain’s only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and has an international reputation for his research into unusual areas including deception, luck, humour and the paranormal. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media and his research has been featured on over 150 television programmes in the UK. He is regularly heard on Radio 4 and feature articles about his work have appeared prominently throughout the national press.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having followed Richard Wiseman's blog for a while now, I had high hopes for this book. However, while it was a reasonably interesting, pleasant read, I wasn't blown away by it either, as it seemed to suffer from some considerable flaws.

Firstly, despite promising us examples of all kinds of quirkiness from the world of psychology research, I just didn't find it all that quirky. I felt that some examples, such as the theory that the way to tell if a smile is genuine is to look at the eyes, would already be fairly well-known among the type of people who would be interested in this book.

While I appreciate that writing a book about psychological studies that interests the general public may be rather difficult, I also found the book to be incredibly superficial in its handling of its subject matter. Studies were explained very briefly in the most part, followed by sweeping statements about society based on those studies' findings. Usually only one or two studies were used to form these conclusions, which made me wonder whether Richard Wiseman was genuinely justified to do that or whether he was jumping to conclusions at times. There was hardly any critique or analysis of the studies mentioned; there were times when a study was explained in a reasonable-length summary along with its findings, and then followed by one sentence to tell the reader that "however, other researchers have not been able to replicate these findings". Surely it would have been relevant to give the reader some information about these subsequent studies and the reasons why the researchers weren't able to replicate the findings. I also wondered whether the studies quoted actually showed the things he claimed they did. For example, Prof.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Butler on 29 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is certainly one of the most interesting books that I have read in recent years.
Its writing style is accessible and doesn't assume anything of its readers and it makes its points and tells its story in a clear and concise manner.
All these points add to the backbone of this book, which is the weird and sometimes wonderful experiments that have helped reveal insights into human lives.
Interesting....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason N. Frowley on 26 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm a psychology lecturer myself, so it's not surprising that I already knew most of the material in Quirkology. But that's not why I give it such a poor star-rating. I'm even prepared to look the other way when Professor Wiseman tells me over and over again that events are "surreal" when they are in fact nothing more than odd, then gives his book a cringeworthy title that sounds like a rewrite of the phrase "I'm mad, me". The fact is, I wouldn't feel happy recommending this book to any non-psychologist. It irritated me constantly with its misinterpretion (or sometimes just dubious interpretation) of data. On the strength of the first hundred pages or so, I began to wonder whether Professor Wiseman knew the difference between correlation and causation. Well of course he does - he's a psychology professor after all - but the apparent conflation of the two is really going to confuse and misinform the naive reader. This kind of danger is ever-present when professionals try their hand at popular science: and there is more than enough misunderstanding out there as it is. Certainly there is some interesting material in this book, and in places it's handled well - but if you are new to this area please please read a statistics primer before you pick it up. Alternatively, get Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, or Dubner and Leavitt's Freakonomics, which cover much the same ground.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Lee on 21 July 2011
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I bought this book (and 59 seconds) after seeing Richard Wiseman on the Uncaged Monkeys tour.

This is the first book of his that I've read, and the first I've read on this sort of subject. I'm about half-way through now, and it's a very interesting read so far. Everything is explained clearly and is easy to follow, without getting too in-depth; and it doesn't require any prior knowledge or reading.

Looking at other reviews, I can see that if you've read a lot of his material or other books on this subject, then perhaps this book is more of an 'easy-reader'; but as first-time reader, I'm enjoying this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Zeke on 5 Feb. 2012
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This is a well written account of some of the strange ways humans behave, from how we think to how we interact with each other. Highly readable, enjoyable, and a stimulus to further thought which reads more like an extended column in a paper than a textbook (a good thing, in my opinion). Anyone looking for an academic foray into the subjects of neuroscience, psychology and sociology ought to look elsewhere.
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An interesting journey through Richard Wiseman's professional career to-date, investigating quirky science around the world, from how fast people walk in different countries to how your date of birth actually can affect your personality.

It's an interesting quick read full of anecdotes about his own and other scientists' work, but it avoids going into more detail than necessary and, given that its focus is on nothing too technical, is approachable and pitched at a level appropriate for any reader, regardless of their experience in science or psychology.

My main criticism would be that it doesn't quite have enough depth for the reader to get their teeth into. It jumps on fairly quickly from topic to topic and I would have liked a little more information in places. I was also a little disappointed by some of the 'quirky' facts which seemed a little too bland and common knowledge to justify their inclusion.

Overall, an interesting read but nothing special - probably best aimed at a younger audience who may not have heard some of the stories before.
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