12 May 2013

59 seconds

I’ve just finished “59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot” by Prof Richard Wiseman. It was recommended by Amazon after I had bought another book, so compliments to Amazon’s recommendation algorithm (can I take a look pretty please).

It’s marketed as a self-help book that’s backed by real experimental research, although I found it to be a fascinating book on the irrationality of the human mind and how easily it can be influenced in a substantial way by subtle changes (perhaps my perspective was coloured after completing Dan Ariely’s “A Begínner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior”.) For example, a survey conducted in front of a funeral home and at another location 3 blocks away found that people who answered the survey in front of the funeral home were more positive about charitable donations, and listed kindness and generosity as important personal attributes more often. This is one of a number of experiments showing that people behave differently when reminded of death, even if the reminder is only subtle.

In the spirit of the experimenters, I will be following some of the techniques in the book (most of which involve writing! How convenient – I happen to have a dead blog to revive) so expect some strange posts ahead.

FOR SCIENCE! (and happiness)

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