Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
Collection of research on a very interesting topic, sadly with presentation weaknesses
on 28 April 2011
It was hard for me giving the book three stars in the end but in all honesty this is all I can comfortably accord it. The topic - the influence of our time perspective on the way we live our lives - is an intensely interesting one. The book starts out quite strongly in my opinion, laying out some basic time perspectives and their effects. Sadly, as you progress through it, it seems to peter out somewhat, to the point, where you feel that the last 100 or so pages bring very little additional value.
While a lot of good quality psychological research on the importance of time and ones time perspective is collated and presented, the authors do not always strike a successful balance between giving enough detail on the research to make the book meaningful, and not too much to make it akin to an academic publication - almost exclusively erring on providing too little detail in my opinion.
Some of the early chapters work better in this respect and up to a point the authors are to be applauded for not falling prey to the common temptation of organising chapters around a 'saying what they will say, saying it and then saying what they have said' approach. In other words, there is a minimum of in chapter repetition and for the first 200 pages or so, one also does not get the impression that each new chapter is just another way of saying the same thing.
Later on in the book, one very much feels that some of the fields, to which they apply their time perspective analysis are a bit tedious or even far fetched. Here, it would certainly be helpful to either add detail to solidify the case for the relevance of the examples and fields discussed, or simply to omit them.
I can understand the authors' desire to make the book easy enough for everyone to read and benefit from (and there is plenty of food for thought to enable the reader to do that) but I feel they went overboard with that and ended up with a book, which may well turn away quite some of the intended audience, who would dismiss it as too superficial and thereby miss the valid points being made.
All in all, it is still a book worth reading, if you can live with distilling the important points out of it and will not get frustrated, when the flow of useful new information stops way before the book does. Sadly, one still has the impression that two or three of the articles quoted in the book would do just as good a job of informing you of the valid points of the research effort on this topic, without some of the frustrations of the book. Overall, not one of Zimbardo's best.