Quirky psychology book, packed with immediately applicable (hence the title) advice on topics ranging from happiness, creativity, through dieting and relationships to parenting, marketing, and success.
As someone who has been struggling with weight loss for quite a while I know that shedding the pounds sometimes is only curing the symptoms and not the cause. Most of us either become overweight while compensating for other issues OR the other way round - start having problems with other areas of our lives because we are overweight.
While the Dukan diet is great at dealing with the pounds there could be other parts of your life you might want to improve. And "59 seconds" by Richard Wiseman is a great "recipe book" full of solid (and easy to implement) advice on topics such as happiness, dieting, parenting, success, work-life, persuasion, and more.
As you can see there is plenty to chose from... Following the theme established in the title each chapter is summarised with simple, yet effective techniques extracted from various psychological studies.
The subtitle reads "Think a little, change a lot" and it truly delivers on that front. From almost obvious to slightly odd advice, just take a look at this final summary from the last page of the book:
Develop the gratitude attitude Having people list three things that they are grateful for in life, or three events that have gone especially well over the past week, can significantly increase their level of happiness for about a month. This, in turn, can cause them to be more optimistic about the future and improve their physical health.
Place a picture of a baby in your wallet Putting a photograph of a smiling baby in a wallet increases the chances of the wallet being returned if lost by 30 per cent. The baby's big eyes and button nose initiates a deep-seated evolutionary mechanism that causes people to become more caring (...).
Having a mirror in your kitchen Placing a mirror in front of people when they are presented with different food options results in remarkable 32 per cent reduction in thir consumption of unhealthy food. Seeing their own reflection makes them more aware of their body and more likely to eat food that is good for them.
Buy a pot plant for the office Adding plants to an office results in 15 per cent boost in the number of creative ideas reported by male employees, and helps their female counterparts produce more original solutions to problems. The plants help reduce stress and induce good moods which, in turn, promote creativity.
Touch people lightly on the upper arm Lightly touching someone on their upper arm makes them far more likely to agree to a request (...). In one dating study, the touch produced a 20 per cent increase in the number of people accepting the offer of a dance in a nightclub and a 10 per cent increase in people giving their telephone number to a stranger on the street.
Write about your relationship Partners spending a few moments each week committing their deepest thoughts and feelings about their relationship to paper boosts the chances of them sticking together by over 20 per cent (...).
Deal with potential liars by closing your eyes and asking for an email The most reliable clues to lying are in the words that people use, with liars tending to lack detail, use more "ums" and "ahs", and avoid self-references ("me", "mine", "I"). In addition, people are about 20 per cent less likely to lie in an email then telephone call (...).
Praise children's effort over ability Praising a child's effort rather than their ability (...) encourages them to try regardless of the consequences, therefore side-stepping any fear of failure. This, in turn, makes them especially likely to attempt challenging problems, find these problems more enjoyable, and try to solve them in their own time.
Visualize yourself doing, not achieving People who visualize themselves taking the practical steps needed to achieve their goals are far more likely to succees than those who simply fanatasize about their dreams becoming reality (...).
Consider your legacy Asking people to spend just a minute imagining a close friend standing up at their funeral and reflecting on their personal and professional legacy helps them to identify their long-term goals, and assess the degree to which they are progressing towards making those goals a reality.
Since I accidently found this book, I have been recommending it to everyone. And all my friends have been thanking me for it. So if you too are looking for quick solutions to quite a variety of problem this book is a must have! You can thank me later :)
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