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59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change A Lot (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Richard Wiseman
3.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (5 commentaires client)

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Self-help exposed, Sophie’s question, and the potential for rapid change

Do you want to improve an important aspect of your life? Perhaps lose weight, find your perfect partner, obtain your dream job, or simply be happier? Try this simple exercise….

Close your eyes and imagine the new you. Think how great you would look in those close-fitting designer jeans, dating Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, sitting in a luxurious leather chair at the top of the corporate ladder, or sipping a piña colada as the warm waves of the Caribbean gently lap at your feet.

The good news is that this type of exercise has been recommended by some in the self-help industry for years. The bad news is that a large body of research now suggests that such exercises are, at best, ineffective and, at worst, harmful. Although imagining your perfect self may make you feel better, engaging in such mental escapism can also have the unfortunate side effect of leaving you unprepared for the difficulties that crop up on the rocky road to success, thus increasing the chances of your faltering at the first hurdle rather than persisting in the face of failure. Fantasizing about heaven on earth may put a smile on your face, but it is unlikely to help transform your dreams into reality.

Other research suggests that the same goes for many popular techniques that claim to improve your life. Attempting to “think yourself happy” by suppressing negative thoughts can make you obsess on the very thing that makes you unhappy. Group brainstorming can produce fewer and less original ideas than individuals working alone. Punching a pillow and screaming out loud can increase, rather than decrease, your anger and stress levels.

Then there is the infamous “Yale Goal Study.” According to some writers, in 1953 a team of researchers interviewed Yale’s graduating seniors, asking them whether they had written down the specific goals that they wanted to achieve in life. Twenty years later the researchers tracked down the same cohort and found that the 3 percent of people who had specific goals all those years before had accumulated more personal wealth than the other 97 percent of their classmates combined.

It is a great story, frequently cited in self-help books and seminars to illustrate the power of goal setting. There is just one small problem—as far as anyone can tell, the experiment never actually took place. In 2007 writer Lawrence Tabak, from the magazine Fast Company, attempted to track down the study, contacting several writers who had cited it, the secretary of the Yale Class of 1953, and other researchers who had tried to discover whether the study had actually happened. No one could produce any evidence that it had ever been conducted, causing Tabak to conclude that it was almost certainly nothing more than an urban myth. For years, selfhelp gurus had been happy to describe a study without checking their facts.

Both the public and the business world have bought into modern-day mind myths for years and, in so doing, may have significantly decreased the likelihood of achieving their aims and ambitions. Worse still, such failure often encourages people to believe that they cannot control their lives. This is especially unfortunate, as even the smallest loss of perceived control can have a dramatic effect on people’s confidence, happiness, and life span. In one classic study conducted by Ellen Langer at Harvard University, half of the residents in a nursing home were given a houseplant and asked to look after it, while the other residents were given an identical plant but told that the staff would take responsibility for it. Six months later, the residents who had been robbed of even this small amount of control over their lives were significantly less happy, healthy, and active than the others. Even more distressing, 30 percent of the residents who had not looked after their plant had died, compared to 15 percent of those who had been allowed to exercise such control. Similar results have been found in many areas, including education, career, health, relationships, and dieting. The message is clear—those who do not feel in control of their lives are less successful, and less psychologically and physically healthy, than those who do feel in control.

A few years ago I was having lunch with a friend named Sophie. Sophie is a bright, successful thirtysomething who holds a senior position in a firm of management consultants. Over lunch Sophie explained that she had recently bought a well-known book on increasing happiness, and she asked me what I thought of the industry. I explained that I had serious reservations about the scientific backing for some of the techniques being promoted, and described how any failure to change could do considerable psychological harm. Sophie looked concerned and then asked whether academic psychology had produced more scientifically supported ways of improving people’s lives. I started to describe some of the quite complex academic work in happiness, and after about fifteen minutes or so Sophie stopped me. She politely explained that interesting though it was, she was a busy person, and she asked whether I could come up with some effective advice that didn’t take quite so much time to implement. I asked how long I had. Sophie glanced at her watch, smiled, and replied, “About a minute?”

Sophie’s comment made me stop and think. Many people are attracted to self-development and self-improvement because of the lure of quick and easy solutions to various issues in their lives. Unfortunately, most academic psychology either fails to address these issues or presents far more time-consuming and complex answers (thus the scene in Woody Allen’s film Sleeper, in which Allen’s character discovers that he has awakened two hundred years in the future, sighs, and explains that had he been in therapy all this time he would almost be cured). I wondered whether there were tips and techniques hidden away in academic journals that were empirically supported but quick to carry out.

Over the course of a few months I carefully searched through endless journals containing research papers from many different areas of psychology. As I examined the work, a promising pattern emerged, with researchers in quite different fields developing techniques that help people achieve their aims and ambitions in minutes, not months. I collected hundreds of these studies, drawn from many different areas of the behavioral sciences. From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, resilience to relationships, together they represent a new science of rapid change.

There is a very old story, often told to fill time during training courses, involving a man trying to fix his broken boiler. Despite his best efforts over many months, he simply can’t mend it. Eventually, he gives up and decides to call in an expert. The engineer arrives, gives one gentle tap on the side of the boiler, and stands back as it springs to life. The engineer presents the man with a bill, and the man argues that he should pay only a small fee as the job took the engineer only a few moments. The engineer quietly explains that the man is not paying for the time he took to tap the boiler but rather the years of experience involved in knowing exactly where to tap. Just like the expert engineer tapping the boiler, the techniques described in this book demonstrate that effective change does not have to be time-consuming. In fact, it can take less than a minute and is often simply a question of knowing exactly where to tap.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

"This is a self-help book, but with a difference: almost everything in it is underpinned by peer-reviewed and often fascinating research."
 — New Scientist

"For all those who are tired of the usual self-help formula--homespun anecdotes, upbeat platitudes, over-the-top promises--Richard Wiseman's 59 Seconds is just what the PhD ordered."
 — The Wall Street Journal

"Seemingly perfect for this age of short attention spans and instant gratification."
 — The Chronicle Herald

"At last, a self-help guide that is based on proper research. Perfect for busy, curious, smart people."
 — Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Enigma

“Wiseman is a brilliant name for a psychologist, and this book proves the professor is not misnamed. . . . [59 Seconds] contains dozens of fascinating and useful nuggets, and they all have science on their side.”
 — The Independent

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Commentaires en ligne

3.6 étoiles sur 5
3.6 étoiles sur 5
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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Richard Wiseman est un génie. Il n'a donc aucun mérite à écrire des chefs d'oeuvre et moi encore moins à les apprécier.

Après avoir notamment décodé la psychologie de l'illusion (Magic in Theory), étudié pendant des années le facteur chance (The Luck Factor) et recensé toutes les études scientifiques menées sur des sujets insolites (Quirkology), Wiseman s'attaque aux mythes du développement personnel.

Sa posture consiste à ne donner que des conseils :
- fondés sur des expériences scientifiques sérieuses
- applicables en moins d'une minute.

Ca fait deux sacrées différences avec tous les bouquins sur ce genre de sujet, dont beaucoup semblent écrits par des charlatans.

Certes, on peut critiquer telle ou telle de ses prises de position ou regretter l'absence de vision générale du sujet. Ce n'est probablement pas un livre qui vous fera progresser sur le plan personnel. Mais la lecture en est un régal : c'est parfois instructif, souvent surprenant et toujours léger et spirituel.

Gloire à Richard Wiseman ! Vous pouvez aussi découvrir son blog, largement consacré à son activité de prestidigitateur : [...]
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Zyx
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
As someone with more than a passing interest in psychology, I found this very interesting. A brief review of studies supporting or refuting what we think we know about how to change and improve our lives.

Very easy to read and full of very practical advice. Worth reading twice!

Comme quelqu'un qui a plus qu'un intérêt passager en psychologie, j'ai trouvé cela très intéressant. Un bref examen des études à l'appui ou de réfuter ce que nous croyons savoir sur la façon de modifier et d'améliorer nos vies.

Très facile à lire et plein de conseils très pratiques. Mérite d'être lu deux fois
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2.0 étoiles sur 5 Mouais 16 janvier 2015
Par Blue
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Le livre est bien mais l'experience de lecture aurait été bien meilleure si le livre ne se décomposait pas à chaque page tournée. J'ai mis un moment avant de me mettre a lire donc je ne pourrai pas le renvoyer !
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very interesting read 31 octobre 2014
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There is a lot to learn about us and above all - tips are very easy to apply in every day life
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Parfaitement inutile 6 septembre 2015
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Livre absolument inutile, et en plus pénible à lire.
59 secondes de trop, obviously...
bla bla bla bla bla bla
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