– 59 Seconds Think a little, change a lot –

This book takes a look at a number of commonly held beliefs, especially from the self-improvement industry. Professor Wiseman then examines them with the aid of scientific tests to see if they are true or false. He examines things that are important to us: happiness, persuasion, motivation, creativity, attraction. He breaks down each topic into what is commonly believed, and whether tests prove the beliefs to be true or false. In one example, he carried out tests with charity boxes on display in bookstores. All the boxes asked for donations for a charity, but each one carried a different message. Please give generously Every penny helps Every pound helps You can make a difference. Surprisingly Every Penny Helps worked best collecting 62% of all the money. Every pound (100 pennies) came last with 17% of the collection. It is thought that putting a small amount into the Pound box, looked mean, cheap, or insulting; whereas putting a small amount into the Penny Box, was fine. It was also revealed that a red painted box got a lot more donations than other colors. Maybe you are not going to be collecting money, but you will certainly be involved in some of… Continue reading

– Blink by Malcolm Gladwell –

You know more than you think you know, as long as you are not misled by what is irrelevant. Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. You could probably sum this book up in one sentence: Have faith in your intuition, but do not be misled by irrelevant information. The tricky part is in not being misled, and that is what a lot of this book is about. The first story starts with a marble sculpture, supposedly 2,500 years old, if genuine it would be worth about ten millions dollars. But what if it was a fake? It was given over to scientists to test with all their elaborate equipment: electron microscopes, X-ray fluorescence, high-resolution stereo microscope, mass spectrometry, (I’m sure you’re familiar with these).  After fourteen months of painstaking study, the scientists proclaimed it to be the genuine article. When it was unveiled in front of art historians, with a two-second glance, they instinctively felt it was a forgery. Two seconds. The problem was they didn’t know why they thought it a forgery; it just didn’t feel right. Eventually, they were proved right. This is what BLINK is about. What the author calls “thin slices”—a brief “view” of something,… Continue reading