December 18, 2010


59 seconds cover 325x450Got a minute? Perfect. You'll have a second left.

Here's a gift idea for you last minute shoppers. It's Richard Wiseman's book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot (Amazon unaffiliate link).

Richard describes effective tips you can apply in less than a minute. This isn't a shallow "1,001 Ways To ..." book with gobs of filler and flaky ideas. In 59 Seconds, you get quality and quantity. The content is consistent with research I've seen elsewhere.

In the sphere of psychology and human behaviour, findings are never 100% conclusive but there are enough points to make you popular at parties.


59 Seconds doesn't focus on shattering urban myths, but dispatches several. Popularity isn't proof.

For instance, the self-help industry routinely quotes a 1950s study conducted by a prestigious university (usually Harvard or Yale). The 3% of graduates with written goals soon become more successful than the other 97%. I agree with setting goals but the study never took place.


You'll get tips on
  • why positive thinking fails
  • how to negotiate better (a pet frog helps)
  • the right way to praise children
You may have come across some of the techniques in other books. Here you'll get a concise synopsis. The results are combined with other research too.

The result? An original book that educates and entertains. That's not all. You get actions you can implement in seconds. That fits today's lifestyle. You might even find tips to help with your New Year's resolutions.

Listen Or Read?

I listened to the audiobook. The narrator (Jonathan Cowley) has a pleasant British accent. Listening is fine except you'll have trouble doing the quizzes — especially when driving.

You'll get more benefit from the written book, which is easy for reference.

Bonus: 20 Quirky Science-based Party Tricks

Do you want to add zing to your next party? Here are 20 ideas. They're from Richard but not from 59 Seconds.

10 Experiments

The Lighter Side of Richard Wiseman–Part 1

10 More

The Lighter Side of Richard Wiseman–Part 1

This is the final post of 2010. This time last year, we were in India.

The best to you and yours during the holidays.
May your 2011 be as nice as heaven!


Podcast 97 (3:27)

direct link | Internet Archive page

PS If you're looking for other gift ideas, how about the gift of networking or simply give your greatest gift? I hope you won't spend Christmas in the emergency ward as we did in 2008.

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