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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2011
Really just wanted to say that most of the two and three star reviews on here resonated with me. I liked the scientific slant, but I found the '59 seconds' gimmick made the content pretty shallow. There was nothing really new for me and as I didn't really buy it as a self-help book, and more out of general interest, I was left bored by the book pretty quickly. It's obvious to me now that anything that says 'think a little' on the front, probably wasn't what I was looking for, but the promise of science reeled me in. I think I've learned my lesson!

I don't think I've ever read a self-help book before, so it's all the more suprising that most of the information in here, I'd heard before. Just bear in mind the reason why you're thinking of buying this, because I think it can be a dissapointment.
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on 14 July 2009
This is a well-written and witty book, full of interesting findings.
Just reading the chapter on Happiness over a cup of coffee made me smile without even trying the techniques (which I'll certainly do!). A very enjoyable read and fun to dip into for a quick uplift!
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This is an easy and enjoyable book to read - the kind that you can dip in and out of, picking up interesting tips along the way. For each topic, Wiseman discusses a number of research experiments (both his own and ones done by others) and then gives a number of concrete suggestions on how you can quickly implement these findings - although 59 seconds is often a stretch. And why the title of this review? Because one of the things I learned from reading this book was the fact that if you've just had a caffeinated drink, you are far more likely to be swayed by someone else's opinion!

The book is based on the premise that quick techniques can sometimes be surprisingly effective at helping us to change and explains (based on research studies) which ones work and which don't. Some examples that I found interesting were:
- a simple five day writing exercise that can lift your mood for several weeks (essentially a more structured gratitude diary)
- how spending money on experiences is a far more effective way to make yourself happy than spending it on things
- how punching a pillow to relieve anger actually increases your anger, while sitting quietly and thinking about how you benefited (or at least learned) from the experience has the opposite effect
- conversational techniques that can build instant rapport on a first date (the trick is to use topics that create intimacy)
- exercises to stimulate the unconscious mind that lead to better decision making
- simple tests to assess your child's emotional intelligence.

Like Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives, the book also has lots of facts that seem to have been included just because they're interesting. So we learn that people with bumper stickers are more aggressive drivers, that having a photo of a baby in your wallet significantly increases the chance of it being returned if you lose it, that your initials can influence your life expectancy and that adding plants to an office increases the number of creative ideas that employees will have.

The chapter list gives a good indication of the subjects covered in the book:
1. Happiness
2. Persuasion
3. Motivation
4. Creativity
5. Attraction
6. Stress
7. Relationships
8. Decision Making
9. Parenting
10. Personality
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on 19 February 2014
I was a little skeptical at first, so downloaded a sample, I found that thought provoking so bought it. And now I have had a go at following some of the suggestions. The ideas presented are simple but effective and I have noticed a change in my outlook and attitude to life's challenges. I recommend it to anyone who does not want to plow through reams of statistics and ponderous information. This is succinct and enlightening;all that is required is a little effort and application. Very worthwhile to dip in and try out, which is the benefit of having it on my Kindle.
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on 15 July 2009
This is a very useful antidote to the nonsense of self-help books such as the Secret, which promote self-delusion over genuine self-improvement. At times it reads like patchwork of different ideas, rather than a coherent book, but it's full of excellent tips, and written in a very lively style. Wiseman has a gift for paring research down to its essentials and conveying its findings very directly. I'm not sure if the 59 seconds idea is very realistic, but anyone who reads this book will certainly gain a great deal. It's the kind of book which gives self-help a good name - and it needs it, after books like the Secret and the Cosmic Ordering Service! It stands together with other authentic and genuinely helpful self-help type books such as Martin Seligman's Authentic Happiness or Steve Taylor's Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of our Minds Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds
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on 13 August 2009
59 seconds is both very good, and awful. Wiseman sets out to explore techniques that can change your life yet are proven in a scientific sense. It's hard to say if he does this, certainly references are given to back up his claims so we have to give him the benefit of doubt here as this is a book aimed at the general reader and not a science paper. The techniques proposed are interesting and certainly can have an effect on your life - as with any of these things, how much effect they have is how much effort you are willing to put into them.

The premise that this book is different from other self help books in the sense of being empirically proven to work can be a bit misleading. For instance, rubbishing "think happy" self help books is too widespread condemnations without further details. Certainly an approach such as "think happy and you'll be happy" is not sufficient to make a change, and as Wiseman points out, can in fact lead to the opposite. Yet approaches such as CBT are based around changing thinking to result in life change and certainly cannot be discounted.

So overall this ends up being just another self help book - interesting, full of options for you to try and likely to make a change to your life if you stress the "self" of self help!
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2010
Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor and Quirkology, offering a compilation of handy life-guidance exercises, of methods for improving your lot in life. A fresh approach to change that helps people achieve their aims and ambitions. From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, and resilience to relationships, this title outlines the research supporting this science of rapid change, and describes how these quick and quirky techniques can be incorporated into everyday life.
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on 6 September 2009
I have read many of those self help and visualisation books, bought the tapes and CD's, visualised and self helped my little brain many times - and always wondered why nothing worked.

This book explains why. I have kept this book by my side, read it through a couple of times, re-read chapters on the bus, while having lunch and dipping into when I have a few spare minutes - and this book makes more sense than all the so called Guru's put together and exploded more than a few of the myths that are their raison d'etre.

And now, I'm smiling, I'm happy, and you'll have to read the book to find out why.

Thanks Prof. Wiseman, and yes, I am going to buy our other books.

59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
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on 5 November 2015
I had heard Professor Wiseman interviewed on the radio talking about the self-help industry and how much of a scam it generally is, full of charlatans out to make cash from desperate people. He mentioned that there has been quite a lot of research done on a lot of the issues that the self-help industry targets, including self-confidence, losing weight, giving up smoking, anxiety etc. During the course of this book, he outlines the clinical, proven research that has been done into what techniques ACTUALLY work to deal with these issues. It's well researched, useful, practical and clear advice. Everything a proper self-help book should be.
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on 3 March 2011
I have found this useful as a condensed version of many things you might already know and it is well written. However, don't be tempted, as I was, to buy the Kindle edition as some of the text is unreadable. I suspect it has been treated as a graphic and not as text. It's rather a pity as it is exactly the sort of thing you might read on the train.
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