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Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Richard Wiseman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

4 Mar 2011

Ever wondered why bad musicians always win the Eurovision Song Contest, or how incompetent politicians get elected?

You need some Quirkology in your life.

While other scientists beaver away on obvious problems, Richard Wiseman has been busy uncovering the secret ingredients of charisma, exploring how our personalities are shaped by when we are born and examining why people usually miss the obvious signs of their partner’s infidelity. Using scientific methods to investigate offbeat topics that interest the general public as well as the scientific community, Quirkology brings a new understanding to the backwaters of the human mind and takes us to places where mainstream scientists fear to tread. Comparable to Freakonomics, but British, far more populist, and a lot funnier.

Findings include:

How does your surname influence your life?

What does the way you walk reveal about your personality?

Why should women have men write their personal ads?

What is the funniest joke in the world?


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Frequently Bought Together

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; Unabridged edition (4 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330448110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330448116
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,928 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

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really quirky... 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
4.0 out of 5 stars what an interesting read! 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 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn about Life and You 17 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
Great sets of information detailing the innovative research carried out over the years by many scientists. I thought that the sections could have been a little more specific (probably more sections). If there is rewrite..summarise the key information at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. Nevertheless it was very good reading and I enjoyed it trememdously. I would recommend it.
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50 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that quirky 5 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
I have to say I had high expectations after reading all the reviews. I was bitterly disappointed. Most of what is discussed in the book did not come as news to me. A lot of it is work I've already read/heard about, or just plain common sense.

Although I appreciate how difficult it is to bring together a large number of topics under some common theme, I wasn't impressed at all by the author's writing skills. I also found that he sometimes jumps bits that clearly need more critique and analysis, while other more trivial bits he just goes on and on about. This managed to dissolve my interest many many times.

The author provides references to research discussed within the text. I found this quite helpful in finding further reading. However, on a couple of occassions I found that the author has stretched or skewed the topic of the discussed research! Perhaps by mistake, or to form a more convincing argument. But whatever the reason is, this was a MAJOR turn-off for me.

An easily forgetton read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Red 24 April 2014
By MAF2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An insight into the psychology of everyday life and its influences, the little and big things too. A great read and well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity 26 Sep 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars so must be a bad book!
I found this quite tricky to read and therefore gave up. Very unlike me, so must be a bad book!
Published 2 months ago by Mrs B
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read for popular science/psychology
If you are interested psychology and behavioural science then this will be a very entertaining read. I am about halfway through presently and I am enjoying it very much. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Fun and Games
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun science
Lovely book that helps see the fun side of science, truly enjoyed it, all topics covered were interesting and I will definitely be bringing them up in conversation
Published 5 months ago by Georgia Abbott
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful!
A humorous, interesting book, focusing on seemingly random eccentricities in everyday lives and explaining them in an engaging and interesting way. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Georgia
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned a lot from this.
Brilliant, buy it and read it! I have nothing further to add but Amazon insist I write more words, rhubarb.
Published 7 months ago by DALee
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for the money.
I was rather disappointed, but its fine for a few quid. It can be gone in and out of for entertainment and is worth reading.
Published 8 months ago by Moonshine.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, interesting.
Liked this very well - would have liked it better if I hadn't also read 59 Seconds and Rip it UP - which by comparison are definite 5-star material
Published 10 months ago by Mary Carroll
3.0 out of 5 stars The Curious Science Of An Everyday Book
Not a dreadful book by any means, but not quite up to par either.

I suppose I'd expected one of those brilliant, eye-opening volumes that subtly (...but astoundingly... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Lutz Svensson
4.0 out of 5 stars To see ourselves ....
A light hearted view of our favoutite subject - ourselves. The science is interesting, the results fascinating. This book has to be read and re-read. Great stuff.
Published 11 months ago by Horace Storey
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and irritating
This is exactly the sort of book that I normally find very enjoyable, and the title and subject matter attracted me to it. But I found it not only disappointing, but irritating. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Smith
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