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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what an interesting read!
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...
Published on 29 Jun 2009 by J. Butler

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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really quirky...
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...
Published on 24 Mar 2011 by Amazon Customer


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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really quirky..., 24 Mar 2011
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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. Wiseman tells us about a study that "showed" the pace of life in various countries based on how quickly the people there walk. I couldn't help wondering whether walking pace really is a good indicator of the pace of life - maybe the population in some countries is generally shorter than in others, which would have an influence on leg length, which would then probably have a bearing on walking speed. This is just one possible alternative explanation that I can think of and my theory may be completely incorrect, but it's exactly these kinds of alternative explanations and critiques that I felt were missing in the book. It was as if Prof. Wiseman liked his interpretation of the findings and was therefore reluctant to propose any other explanations that didn't fit his neat ideas. I found this surprising considering that Prof. Wiseman is, by all accounts, an eminent psychologist and therefore rigorous critique of studies and their findings should be part and parcel of his job (even I learned to do this during my modest A Level in Psychology, so surely a Professor of Psychology would do this too!). The lack of critique also gave me the impression that readers were expected to accept the information in the book on face value, without questioning how appropriate the studies were for researching particular ideas. This, too, struck me as rather ironic, bearing in mind that Richard Wiseman is an outspoken sceptic of anything paranormal and one would therefore expect him to encourage people to question things more.

That said, I did find some of the ideas in the book interesting. All in all, I would not discourage anyone interested in this book from reading it, but I would urge them to read it with a critical eye, rather than accepting everything on face value.
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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
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
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
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Y. Khatib (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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This review is from: Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives (Kindle Edition)
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
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Jason N. Frowley (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars A good lazy afternoon's reading material, 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 21 July 2011
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David Lee (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curiouser and curiouser, 6 May 2010
This book is a fantastic book, each chapter was a self contained exploration upon a theme of weird stuff in daily lives. It points out the curious foibles of everyday thoughts and stories we tell ourself. Once I started a chapter I had to finish it, on more than one occasion it caused me to miss my bus stop. I have already lent it to my friends, definitely recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 Nov 2009
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Richard Wiseman has put together a wonderful antidote to fussy science. A brilliant book full of useless, random and fascinating titbits that give insight in to everyday life. A recommended read to all fans of quirky studies, useless info and of course the splendid Richard Wiseman.
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