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.
on 25 October 2011
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. When people feel worried, they become very focused, concentrate on the task at hand, become risk-averse, rely on well-established habits and routines, and see the world through less-creative eyes. In contrast, when people feel at ease in a situation, they are more likely to explore new and unusual ways of thinking and behaving, see the bigger picture, take risks, and think and act more creatively.
To help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure in less than a minute, go online and watch a video of a cute animal.
Being in a group exaggerates people's opinions, causing them to make a more extreme decision than they would on their own. Depending on the initial inclinations of individuals in the group, the final decision can be extremely risky or extremely conservative.
People are far more likely to agree to a big request if they have already agreed to a small request.
People who are shown the options but then kept busy working on a difficult mental activity make better decisions than others do. When the going gets complex, the mind has only a limited ability to juggle a small number of facts and figures at any one time, and so the result is not so good. Instead of looking at the situation as a whole, the conscious mind tends to focus on the most obvious elements and, in doing so, can miss the bigger picture. In contrast, your unconscious mind is much better at dealing with the complex decisions that pervade many aspects of our lives.
People regret not doing something more than doing something wrong because in the former case, outcome what might have happened are many more compared to the latter.
Satisfier - stop once you found what you wanted.
Maximiser - carry on till you get the best deal.
Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.
Praise children's efforts rather than their achievements.
People who visualize themselves taking the practical steps needed to achieve their goals are far more likely to succeed than those who simply fantasize about their dreams becoming a reality.
on 17 February 2011
I purchased this book after coming across a review for it online and noting that Derren Brown had endorsed it. I have spent quite a while reading self help books, book on NLP and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. However, I was drawn to Derren Brown's quote of `A triumph of scientifically proven advice over misleading myths of self-help'. This quote alone sums up the book. The opening page is excellent and got me hooked straight away. I have never been one for reading and sometimes find it hard to get into a book with a more complex factual subject matter. But I have to say that this book is very clearly written and easy to follow.
I have always thought that the hardest thing for any human to do is to conquer their own mind. This book helps you understand and break down hard coded negative thought patterns in a way to produce positive results in your life. And best of all, it is not done in a wishy washy way - it is done using solid science and a slice of realism, followed by an incentive to take clear action and positive steps.
I have personally made book marks and notes all over the book and I keep it in my work bag as a reference point. I know this may be a little excessive but for me at this point in my life, it is just what I need to help me achieve the goals which lead me to the world of self help in the first place. Just to finish - I have to add that there is a subtle touch of humour within this book and overall it does not get too hard core but still remains very effective. I would highly recommend this book and see no reason to give it anything over than 5 out of 5. It depends on what you are looking for I guess but I'll be surprised anyone would be truly disappointed. Great price too! Hope this helps, enjoy!
on 15 August 2009
I bought the book having listened to Richard talking about it on Radio Four one morning. I found most of the facts interesting and concentrated on the ones that interested me the most. I found the tips both interesting, useful and practical. I've read a lot of the self help books and doubted the effectiveness of them, finding many being too airy-fairy and , frankly, classic cases of wishful thinking. It's a good book, buy it within the next 59 seconds. You won't regret it.
on 17 July 2009
I bought this book yesterday and read it last night - just couldn't put it down, which is pretty unusual for a book on research. Yes, some of the research I knew (which I should as an occupational psychologist!) but certainly not delivered in such a humorous, readable and interesting style. It provides lots of helpful tips around issues everyone faces in day to day life. The difference between this book and all those self-help mumbo jumbo ones, is that the tips given are quick and realistic to implement but the biggest and most important thing is that these are based on psychological research and therefore proven to make a difference.
on 3 April 2010
The best thing about this book is it's condensed, focused and information dense style. Subjects from creativity, attraction, happiness, motivation, to persuasion are nicely broken down into clearly written chapters. Each chapter focuses on about eight significant factors for each theme. These factors are illustrated with lively case studies and made into to practical self-help advice. Errors of popular self help guidance, like visualizations, are also debunked or improved upon.
For example, in the chapter on 'happiness' you will learn how money is not important; the relative weights of nature vs nurture; how thought suppression is counterproductive; the power of writing things down; why experiences are better than materialism; tips on self-fulfilling happy body language and much more.
While the content of the book is not terribly original or deep; the readable and practical synthesis Wiseman has created more than makes up for this.
on 5 April 2011
This book by Professor Richard Wiseman has helped me improve a lot of aspects of my life. Some of the self help in this book has worked instantly! Including mirrors in kitchen and plant on desk!
If your thinking about buying this book, then stop thinking and just buy it! It is a must read!
It covers a broad range of topics and can help anyone! There is something for everyone and more!
on 3 April 2011
Everything that you should have in a self help book. Brilliant research, no flim flam. This book delivers what it says it will and it does not make silly claims of success, but delivers against extensive research. If you are looking for a well written no nonsense self help book, this is the one.