- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (May 11 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330448129
- ISBN-13: 978-0330448123
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 22.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,118,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Quirkology: The Curious Science Of Everyday Lives Hardcover – May 11 2007
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About the Author
Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and has an international reputation for his research into unusual areas including deception, luck, humour and the paranormal. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media and his research has been featured on over 150 television programmes in the UK. He is regularly heard on Radio 4 and feature articles about his work have appeared prominently throughout the national press.
Top customer reviews
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As for "real life"; the day-to-day world... I wouldn't recommend it unless you (and who you "use" it on) fall into a very specific category.
This book doesn't take into account people from different countries... people those in Canada, the United States, and England tend to call 'foreigners', even though we live in these countries and we're all mixed together these days.
We tend to presume we're "all the same" but those of us who aren't WASPs, for example, don't fit into nice, neat little boxes. We can't help but react differently, hold our heads differently, have different experiences.
What's considered rude to a WASP may not be rude to us, and vice versa. Our written languages may be very different, so the "Q" test may prove difficult and give false results, fo example. In our other cultures, we may have been raised to never shake hands and not to make eye contact. Signs of deception? No. Signs we aren't WASPs? Yes.
The same can be said of people with the neurological condition called Asperger's Syndrome. Avoiding eye contact, restlessness, aversion to touch, a monotone speaking voice, for example, are in the normal range for those with Asperger's, but can be seen as signs of deception by the neurotypical world.
Before deciding someone is deceptive, for example, take into account their heritage, upbringing, neurophysiology, customs, and so forth. People are a lot more complicated than one book or one viewpoint can show.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Hopefully the chapters can give you a gist as to what you will find in this book: Chapter 1 - What does your date of birth really say about you?, The New Science of Chronopsychology; Chapter 2 - Trust everyone, but always cut the cards, The Psychology of Lying and Deception; Chapter 3 - Believing six impossible things before breakfast, Psychology Enters the Twilight Zone; Chapter 4 - Making your mind up, The Strange Science of Decision Making; Chapter 5 - The scientific search for the world's funniest joke, Explorations into the Psychology of Humor; Chapter 6 - Sinner or saint?, The Psychology of When We Help and When we Hinder; Chapter 7 - The pace of life and other quirkological oddities, The Future of Quirkology.
In short, this is a terrific book. In many respects it shares a lot in common with not only Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, but also books like Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (Revised & Expanded Edition),The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives,Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average and How We Decide. I highly recommend this book and also recommend Wiseman's newest book, 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot (Borzoi Books). I would definitely have given this book 5 starts even if it only had included the chapters on Lying and Deception and The Scientific Search for the World's Funniest Joke - the whole book is hilarious, entertaining and above all, informative. This is a truly great read.
Highlights: good tips on writing personal ads and what happened when a "Chinese gentleman" called hotels all over the country for reservations some 70 years ago. The answer might surprise you.
Each experiment is described in as little as a paragraph, or as much as a chapter. Old favorites like the Milgram "Obediance to Authority" experiments make an appearance, and some of the recent experiments discussed got a lot of press ("what is the funniest joke in the world"), but most of the content will be new to most readers.
Topics include studies of personal ads and pickup lines, determining which are most effective, how to detect liars, manifestations of prejudice and hypocrisy (are religious people or priests more honest or generous than others? it has been tested). Wiseman even ran tests to see which experiments in the book are the most interesting, to help the reader know what would be the best conversation starters at parties.
Unusually for a mass market book, it is copiously footnoted.