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 Daniel Fortunov's Blog » 59 Seconds: Think a little; Change a lot

 0 Comments- Add comment | Back to Personal Blog Written on 30-Mar-2010 by asqui

59 Seconds: Thing a little; Change a lot 59 Seconds is a book wherein Richard Wiseman tackles some common myths  and then debunks them by citing scientific studies with differing results.


  1. Visualising success will help you achieve it.
  2. “Retail Therapy”: Buying things for yourself makes you happier.
  3. Punching a punch bag can help you relieve stress.

What makes this book unique is that after debunking, Richard then continues to talk about techniques that, according to other scientific studies, actually work.

Truths: (well, hypotheses supported by the cited studies, at least)

  1. Visualising the path to success, including specific actions that you will take, will help you achieve it.
  2. Buying experiences makes you happier than buying things. 
  3. Getting a pet can help you relieve stress more than a punch bag.

These findings are neatly summarised in little sections throughout the book which specify actions you can take (allegedly in 59 seconds) to derive the relevant benefits.

Another thing that makes this book unique is Richard’s casual writing style, with regular bursts of deadpan satire and exaggerations slipped in to make sure you’re paying attention. (And like The Undercover Economist, this book also features an amusing study involving students and an open bar — or so they think.)

See also: Richard Wiseman interview on the Freakonomics blog (includes amusing anecdotes about the practical complexities of “accidentally” dropping your wallet in the street... 200 times... for a study)

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