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4.3 out of 5 stars133
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on 31 December 2011
This book is excellent, and gets the mind thinking, and how we do see things that are not there and how we make more of things thats are not worth it sort of thing
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on 14 December 2011
Highly recommend this book in which Prof Wiseman once again takes you on a learning journey, but adds to it more tests within the book. It is also really funny!
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on 19 February 2012
I purchased the Kindle version of this book after the review in the Fortean Times.

Some sceptics turn out to be nothing more than believers (or disbelievers) of a different kind and just engage in wave of the hand debunking. Not so Richard Wiseman. Each supposed phenomena covered is convincingly examined, deconstructed and shown to be quite normal.

At the end of reading the book I felt strangely deflated as a couple of personal bubbles had been burst. Ideas that I had perhaps romaticlaly entertained which were no longer seemed justifiable after reading this book. That doesn't mean I regretted reading the book, on the contrary I'm glad I did.

Depending which side of the fence any potential reader is on, including sitting on the fence, there can be some trepidation about writing style. On this point I found the style engaging and unlike some sceptics not emotionally loaded or arrogantly dismissive out of hand.

Excellent. Well demonstrated, argued and presented. Highly recommended.
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on 30 August 2014
Read this.
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on 18 May 2011
If you want to read a book listing the myriad ways humans can be fooled into seeing what isn't there, this is the book for you. But whether this has anything to do with the paranormal is another question. People who watch conjurors and magicians are puzzled for sure, but that is not the same as the sometimes life changing 'peak experiences' that have been reported through the ages and dubbed paranormal.
Showing that there are such things as forged bank notes doesn't prove that there are no real ones, and so careful, painstaking research is needed to separate the real from the imagined. This not Richard Wiseman's department. He is not a researcher, he is a conjuror. He has not addressed the mass of evidence that exists suggesting that there IS a phenomenon worth studying. It seems that the cursory attempts he has made to negate positive findings of serious researchers (such as Rupert Sheldrake) have been so poorly executed that all his criticisms of methodological flaws in psi research should land squarely back at his own doorstep. 'Paranormality' is not a serious book, it just characterises us all as gullible fools who might as well give up ever believing our senses or asking questions. This can't be the way forward.
A better book is Robert McLuhan's book 'Randi's Prize' It is one of the best and most insightful I have read on the subject of the 'Psi war' - not so much a plea on behalf of the existence of psi but an almost forensic study of the phenomenon of 'psi denial' itself, along with an equally critical examination of the 'psi belief' phenomenon. Rather than sitting on the fence in an attempt to appear impartial, McLuhan does come down on the side of Psi this being the only intelligent position when one is fully aware of the mass of evidence there is - much of it high quality -in favour of the existence of Psi.
In contrast Richard Wiseman's 'Paranormality' appears lamentably negative, being little more than an exhaustive list of all the ways humans can fool and be fooled, with no reference to research evidence, just party tricks. It is as if he believes the inevitable conclusion should be that we are all fools and should believe nothing anyone ever tells us, (presumably scientists included). Robert McLuhan's book is far more mature, informative and painstakingly researched.
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on 23 March 2011
[Wiseman started life as a conjuror and in spite of being a professor it's clear he's still at it. At the beginning he puts his cards on the table (excuse the pun). He's already decided a priori that the so-called paranormal is an illusion and he's interested to find out why people believe weird things. Both are not mutually exclusive, however. People do have a propensity to believe the incredible and that is a legitimate subject for study. He muddies the waters by lumping all paranormal phenomena as untrue, and includes all who have had such experiences, who believe in them, or who have weighed the (considerable) evidence in their favour as deluded. He has the same smug self-righteous and hubristic tone as Dawkins and Hitchins et al, which is off-putting for those of us who wish to follow where the evidence leads. The problem with 'science' like this is that if findings do not conform to the strictly materialist worldview which is in the ascendence just now, they are dismissed, ignored, or explained away. In this silly book, Wiseman reveals himself as a light-weight, who cherry-picks what suits his foregone conclusions. This is the same technique that Dawkins uses. To arrive at a balanced and rational assessment, all of the evidence needs to be reviewed and weighed. In contrast, Dean Radin who writes a mature and scholarly account of the paranormal in The Noetic Universe, is a proper scientist. [ASIN:0552162353 The Noetic Universe]]I didn't even see his name mentioned in Wisemans's book. No surprise there, then.
A light-weight trashy self-opinionated work of pseudo-science. The work of a snake-oil salesman. The real tragedy is that this guy has a chair for the Public Understanding of Psychology, where he can promulgate this tosh to the young and impressionable.
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on 4 August 2011
In Paranormality, Prof Richard Wiseman explores the paranormal, from ghosts to automatic writing, and offers the scientific explanation of how each type of supernatural experience is just a product of our own psychology.

Some people will hate this book simply because it aims to debunk. I quite enjoyed it, but to be honest there is little that I haven't already read about elsewhere, and that makes things a tiny bit tedious.

This is counteracted by Wiseman inserting a lot of fun elements - there are a number of practical examples that you can try out, either by yourself or on friends (though not particularly easy if, like me, you tend to read on the train). There are also video and audio extras littered throughout, accessible via QR codes or web addresses, and these are fantastic aids to remembering what you've read and illustrating particular points.

Overall I would recommend this book to those with a casual interest in psychology or doubts about the paranormal that they'd like laid to rest. It's very accessible, good fun, and not too deep.
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on 19 March 2011
What a great book. I'd never read any of Wiseman's work before but had heard his name on TV. I was drawn by the title as I've been interested in the paranormal for a while and was interested to find out why in the 21st century do people still have medieval beliefs. The book is witty and to the point. The psychology was well illustrated and easy to follow. An entertaining read that also includes amusing tips on developing your very own 'mystical powers'.
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on 24 July 2011
I am fascinated at how the mid works, especially the mind of humans. THis books goes some way, if a little simplistically, into why we behave the way we do with regards to the paranormal, and why we want to see what isn't there.
It doesn't just apply to the paranormality of magic, psychics and ghosts, but applies to the paranormality that is religion, cultism and other manifestations of the like. The book doesn't explicitly state these, but it is not a far stretch to apply the same psychological principles.
Those principles however can be found in V.S. Ramachandrans book, in which it goes a lot further in giving a neurological and psychological explanation at an in depth, more scientific level, analysing emotion, consciousness, religion experiences, phantom limbs and the like.
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on 8 August 2011
I find this book very interesting, and funny. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn a lot.

A thing that I don't see/hear often in book reviews is the design of the book. Not design of content, but the book itself. Font size, spacing, size of book, etc... I think this book hits all those notes. Font size and thickness that made it easy to read, and the chapters was divided in a way that made the book perfect for me to read on my commute.

Also... pants!
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