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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did you spot the size of this book?
I ordered this book partly because I've discovered an interest in psychology and also because I'd like to spot hidden opportunities that have perhaps passed me by. On its arrival, the first gorilla I spotted was the number of pages of content: 107. Factor in that each change of chapter involves 2 blank pages and 1 full page drawing for the chapter header and the number of...
Published on 27 Oct 2009 by Vinman666

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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A new slant on an old theme - exactly what it is all about.
If you understand what is meant by the term, "can't see the woods for the trees" and you have read any books about lateral thinking then you will be as disappointed as I was. Many examples are given of people who have thought laterally but this book calls it "spotted the gorilla" (based on a video demonstrating an interesting psychological phenomenon which has been seen...
Published on 21 Feb 2009 by D. Clews


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did you spot the size of this book?, 27 Oct 2009
By 
Vinman666 (Essex, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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I ordered this book partly because I've discovered an interest in psychology and also because I'd like to spot hidden opportunities that have perhaps passed me by. On its arrival, the first gorilla I spotted was the number of pages of content: 107. Factor in that each change of chapter involves 2 blank pages and 1 full page drawing for the chapter header and the number of pages of actual text is less still. That's not unusual for this type of book (e.g. "Who moved my cheese" or "The One Minute Manager") but worth knowing in advance.

It's an entertaining read and includes a variety of demonstrations of each technique though once again the drawings for these fill quite a lot of page space. At least it's based on proper research (fully referenced at the back) and kicks any of the self-help nonsense - "The Secret" et al - into touch; for that reason I've given it 4 stars with the caveat below.

I would suggest this is a useful book for a business, where it could be shared around a team for the benefit of all - it won't take more than an hour or so to read. For the casual reader, the same author's ":59 Seconds - Think a little, Change a lot" book is better value. It covers this topic with less padding and contains a wealth of other psychological advice for living a happier life.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A new slant on an old theme - exactly what it is all about., 21 Feb 2009
By 
D. Clews "David" (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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If you understand what is meant by the term, "can't see the woods for the trees" and you have read any books about lateral thinking then you will be as disappointed as I was. Many examples are given of people who have thought laterally but this book calls it "spotted the gorilla" (based on a video demonstrating an interesting psychological phenomenon which has been seen by many internet users.)
In a nutshell, the author tells you to stand back to look at the bigger picture (see the wood rather than the trees) and do some brainstorming without excluding the ridiculous and you may find you improve your observational and problem solving skills.
I found the book an enjoyable and very easy read but with very little content that I had not encountered previously.
If this sort of material is unfamiliar to you, I promise you will enjoy it and it will be worth five stars to you.
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104 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This gorilla is gggrrrreeeaaatttt!, 2 Aug 2004
By A Customer
The title of this book on creativity immediately caught my eye. The gorilla is a metaphor for those priceless ideas and opportunities which seem obvious in hindsight, but which most people miss. I have my own company and am always looking for innovative ideas to attract clients and get ahead of the competition. The book is packed full of amusing examples, really eye-catching illustrations, and practical exercises that do a great job of demonstrating how to improve one's gorilla-spotting skills. Unusually, the book is written by an academic rather than a motivational speaker, so it's based on authentic research rather than vague hand-waving. It certainly tickled a few of my creative parts that had not been tickled before! Before reading "gorilla" I was stuck on the problem of how to do an annual promotional mailing round our client list without them filing it straight in the trash can. The book gave me several new ideas for an eye-catching promotion and my only problem now is which one to use. I think this book will be priceless to anyone who's looking for innovative ideas - not only that, it's fun to read too - what more could you ask?!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not as good as Quirkology, which was by far Wiseman's most readable book., 6 Feb 2009
By 
Mr. T. White (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I very much enjoyed Quirkology and looked to Wiseman's back catalogue hoping to find something just as interesting. Alas, Did you Spot The Gorilla was most disappointing in comparison. Not least because it was so short. Though it is quoted as being of over a hundred pages the actual pages of readable text amount to noticeably less than that. There are cartoons and many instances of blank pages used throughout the book to pad out its size too. Which I felt was a little naughty.

Despite its shortness, it's not too bad a book; just not up to the standard I expected of him, having loved his other book. So, at the end of the day, I feel that the author (characteristically an experimenter) was trying out an experiment in how little could be published and yet still be received as a sucessful book. His successful book remains, Quirkology, and unless you are more of a fan of Wiseman than I am (& I am!) then stick to that instead.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorilla hunting for beginners, 20 May 2005
By 
Mr P R Morgan "Peter Morgan" (BATH, Bath and N E Somerset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Here is a title to make you stop and think. Based on an experiment where viewers of a video clip are asked to count the number of passes a three-a-side basketball team make, an astonishing 80% fail to see the gorilla-costumed intruder. This can be because we are too focussed - we don't see what we are not looking for. A 'gorilla' is something so blindingly obvious that we fail to see it.
The book is deliberately aimed at the 55-minute audience, those short-haul train or plane travellers, and is expensive on a cost-per-page basis. However, the cost has to be offset against the value it gives to the professional and personal lives of readers. Make no mistake, there is a huge carry-over in applying lessons to business life and home - change your outlook in one and it will almost certainly affect the other.
The volume may be used as a corporate hand-out, and it uses psychological tricks and ploys, with anecdotes of where a 'gorilla' has been found. Many readers could add their own examples, and that can work well in a group context.
A chatty style is not prescriptive, and there are 4 clear lessons to encourage gorilla spotting. One thing that I did find irritating was being asked to write answers in the book. Needless to say I did not do this - it ruins the volume for ever, and means that the pages cannot be revisited in the future. At any rate, not without purchasing an additional copy. The cynic may think that this is to encourage further sales.
Richard Wiseman has written a little gem that should make you stop and think. Perhaps the biggest key to spotting 'gorillas' is to be aware that there are some out there. Go out and look for some. It could change your life.
Peter Morgan, Bath, UK (morganp@supanet.com)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short book, long reach, 31 May 2009
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'Did you spot the Gorilla?' is a fascinating and easy to understand manual on how to sharpen and add to our perceptions. The gorilla in the book's title is an analogy for an opportunity or solution that we are unable to see, even though it is close to us; often because our attention is focused elsewhere. Richard Wiseman explains why we miss what might be essential to our success and how to become more effective at spotting gorillas.

He illustrates that our failure or success at solving problems and innovating is often due to a lack of preparation or priming (or priming in an unhelpful direction) and quotes Louis Pasteur's 'In the fields of observation, chance favours the prepared mind'. He shows that our inability to find gorillas is often due to our perspective (the way in which we approach and see problems) and there are some fascinating pattern breaking tests; for instance, how would you cut a fruit cake into eight equal portions if you were only allowed three cuts with the knife?

Momentarily stepping back from problems, the essential role of humour, and the need to become less passive also help us to see more. He writes:

'Gorilla spotting is all about encouraging your brain to switch from autopilot to manual. It is about being curious and questioning. Noticing the unexpected and wanting to know why... It is about perceiving each and every moment as if it has never happened before. It is about living in the present as if you haven't seen it all before... Most of all it's about waking up your brain.'

Many of the experiments, tests and their results reminded me of patterns and happenings in the corpus of Nasrudin stories published by Idries Shah and I would recommend these to anyone who has read this book. Nasrudin stories such as the man who was looking in the wrong place for his lost key because there was more light where he had chosen to look and the story about the donkey smuggler who was never caught are two of many that spring to mind.

'Did you spot the Gorilla?' is so well written and entertaining that it is easy to miss one of the largest Gorillas and that is to integrate and make use of these techniques in our own lives. The first time I read the book I thought 'great book' put it back on the shelf and forgot all about it. The second time a read it I realized that I'd failed to make use of the vital content.

And I'll stop babbling with a final quote from the book by Goethe:

'The hardest thing to do is to see what is right in front of your eyes.'

Hmmm... and if you think you've really got the hang of it, see if you can count exactly how many times the ball hits the ground by typing in 'Monkey Business Illusion' at Youtube...
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted, fun and very informative, 6 Oct 2005
The narrative style of the book is excellent, with it's easily readable format that keeps you interested as you go, I read the book in two sittings. The way the author will have you kicking yourself throughout the book will certainly make you smile. On more than one occasion I believed I understood what I was supposed to miss, read on thinking 'ok I get that' only to flick back after a few pages of further explanation to see I had royally missed the gorilla!
Fun, powerful and most importantly - practical and applicable, one of the best in this genre I've read this year.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful read - very useful, 24 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Excellent explanation of how we can use simple methods to view situations from a different, but straightforward, perspective. I suuggest you bookmark the useful tips as you go along, as you will want to return to them later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book with big messages, 19 Aug 2009
By 
S. Hill "Steve Hill" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Great little book and really makes you think and wonder how many gorilla's you have missed! Easy to read and Robert Wiseman has a good conversational style. Highly recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring reading, 31 Dec 2008
By 
S. Gale "Stephen Gale" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a fanastic book and I only wish that it had been a little longer. Even still, it makes it's point well and is very easy and enjoyable to read. I read it in a single sitting. Once I started I couldn't really put it down. I read "Quirkology" about 6 months ago and was very taken with the style and content of the book. This book is written in the same compelling style. The examples and the exercises really bring the text to life.

The book covers the pyschology of missing the obvious - something that we all do - and how to compensate for the "tricks" that our brains can often play on us. The one thing that I will take away from this book is that creative ideas are more forthcoming to less stressed minds. It is far too easy to put yourself under pressure to come up with good ideas - when the ideas don't come, the pressure increases and it becomes a vicious cycle. There are some good ideas in this book for breaking the cycle.

Originally, I was intereseted in this book in relation to innovation, but I suspect that many readers will find it applicable to a much wider range of situations. Highly recommended.
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