59 Seconds

Think a Little, Change a Lot
Narrated by: Jonathan Cowley
Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
4 out of 5 stars (404 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A psychologist and best-selling author gives us a myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community.

Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the opposite of everything it promises. Now, in 59 Seconds, he fights back, bringing together the diverse scientific advice that can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy.

From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, resilience to relationships, Wiseman outlines the research supporting the new science of rapid change and, with clarity and infectious enthusiasm, describes how these quirky, sometimes counterintuitive techniques can be effortlessly incorporated into your everyday life. Or, as he likes to say: Think a little, change a lot.

©2009 Richard Wiseman (P)2009 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Wrong format for this book

I'm a huge fan of Richard Wiseman but I made a mistake buying the audible version of this book. There are a large number of self assessment quizzes which are close to impossible to do while listening to the book and driving at the same time. Also, each chapter has a summary that is 59 seconds worth of actionable advice but you need to dog ear those pages and refer to them before going to work in the morning. Can't dog ear a page in an audible book, can you? It would be nice if the quizzes or the 59 second sections came in a PDF file - a technique used well by Tina Fey's "Bossypants". So this book loses one star for that.
Richard Wiseman is a very entertaining speaker. So it is very surprising that he doesn't narrate his own book. Wiseman's impish humor shows up only rarely in this book but even those rare moments are lost in another person's voice. So I take another star off because of that.
I will probably buy this book in paperback some time in the future, probably at a conference where he is speaking.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

THE book for self-help seekers

I first heard of Richard Wiseman through the skeptical podcasts and blogs I frequent. And true to the skeptical point of view, this book is based on EVIDENCE. Indeed, evidence is front-and-centre right from the start. Every behavioural suggestion and piece of advice is backed by an experiment (a refreshing change from The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle). That's what separates this book from all the other self-help woo that's out there. Lots of books make claims that sound intuitive, but reality can often be very counter-intuitive. And this book has lots of examples. Here's one: praising children for their ACHIEVEMENTS can actually inhibit their progress by making them anxious about failure, while praising children for their EFFORT encourages them to work hard and challenge themselves. Hmmm!

This audiobook is SO good, I went and bought the hardcover too.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Not bad

Not bad, not great. Lots of old stuff here presented in a rather structured way: 59 Second Exercises. I think that Malcolm Gladwell and Johah Lehrer do a much better job of articulating some of the background and original research of these concepts. I may return to the book again and perhaps there will be more but for now, it's just above average.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow talking redefined

This is an attempt to to filter myth from fact in the murky self-development arena. Some good information and bs debunking makes it worth the time.

But the narrator... this guy redefines the meaning of "slow talker". I had to set the speed to 1,5x (some parts 2x) to be able to go through the book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Instantly useful--bought in paper after listening

What made the experience of listening to 59 Seconds the most enjoyable?

This is full of usable nuggets. I listen while driving, and was constantly bookmarking.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I will consciously not buy another book read by this narrator.
His inflection, tone, pace and rhythm is so pedantic and distracting that only the value of the words kept me listening.

There are many quizzes, and they were thoughtlessly read verbatim, i.e. Question one: and then the words, "Strongly disagree", "Disagree", "Neither agree or disagree", "Agree", "Strongly agree."
It's possible no one could repetitively read that ten times in a row, chapter after chapter, without stimulating mindless waiting for the next section.

This should have been modified for ears.
If you've already purchased this, push through. The content is worth it.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Exactly what to do, and why.

Any additional comments?

There are so many usable action items that I bought a hard copy for easy reference, and to loan. Last week I used something I learned to stimulate a new exercise for a workshop I teach every month, and for the first time, they got it! They got it! My cheeks were sore from grinning for three days! Brilliant, usable information.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Cowley out

I heard the author on NPR and was very interested in the book 59 seconds. Mr.Wiseman is very intelligent and highly entertaining speaker. I was hoping the audio book is narrated by him. Not so. When I listened to the book, Mr.Cowley put me to sleep at once with his monotonous and colorless voice. This is not how a book should be narrated. Bad choice of narrator! Buy paper edition instead.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I was blind but now I can see

This book has LOTS of interesting studies. That’s what a lot of these self improvement books are lacking everything is scientifically backed up. Although I think the application of these studies could be tweaked it’s good to be aware of them for the next book I read. 10/10 recommend to people who are into psychological studies.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

a lot of bullet points

Although 59 seconds has an interesting topic, it misses the stated objective ' think a little, change a lot'. The book tries to come up with as much as possible myth-busting ideas about the human psychology, but lacks structure. Therefore, it doesn't appear to be much more than that the author just collected various ideas and put one after the other without logic or coherence.
I stopped listening after idea 15 and 2 hours gone...

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What can you do in 59 seconds?

Richard Wiseman teaches us that we can do a lot for ourselves and for others in 59 seconds, and with lasting effects. My preferred one is writing 3 good things and be grateful about those. Well done Richard!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great insight into quirky human characteristics

Evidence based approach to so many behaviors. What are the myths, truths, etc of human interactions. Pretty cool if you're into it.