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A useful compilation, but read between the lines
on April 9, 2012
This book embraces many fields of personal development, and in addition to the expected material on persuasion, motivation, and relationships it examines many other areas of interest. I love the idea of presenting all of these fields side by side, because while they are all connected, we generally find ourselves trawling through many books in order to get a glimpse at the larger picture. Mr Wiseman, with his entertaining and engaging style, writes with great clarity and readability as he covers a record number of psychological principles in relatively few pages.
We have to take some of this material with a pinch of salt. In his section on attraction, Wiseman tells us with certainty that if, on first meeting a woman, a man makes a point of touching her, his success rate will be higher because he is communicating high status. Hmm. Firstly, opinion is divided on the status issue, some people tell us that the toucher is communicating LOWER status because they are 'grooming' the touchee; secondly, maybe the success rate can be put down to the increased intimacy; thirdly, this idea might encourage men to touch women who do not wish to be touched.
Also, I kept on hearing that `Prof X had a hunch that Y, so he decided to conduct an experiment to see if this was so', and then, to our great surprise, we find that Prof X was indeed right. In one such experiment (p152) Wiseman describes how a scientist had a hunch that a woman with larger breasts would receive more offers at a nightclub, and to his surprise he discovered that indeed he was right. Well, I would never have guessed.
Having read many books on related topics and found a lot of this sort of research, I guess that this approach comes with the territory. With this in mind, because there is a lot of room for personal interpretation (although the results of the big boobs experiment are fairly clear), it is probably best if you play `spot the leap of faith' and keep your mind on the experiments. Judge the conclusions for yourself. If you do this, along with reading the excellent discussion in the text, you will find some very useful advice.
I had always wondered whether playing Mozart to our children really could raise their I.Q., now I know the answer. When I teach, I strive to motivate my students as much as I can - this book has given me a little more insight on how to do this.
A little experiment: If you ask any 2/3 year old child whether they prefer daddy or chips the answer will nearly always be chips.