Book of the Week #6 – 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot


I’ve started to try to actively learn from books rather than just read them. I’m posting my book summaries online to keep myself accountable to my “book a week” goal and hopefully to encourage others to read more too.

This Week’s Book Title [Week 34] : 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

by Richard Wiseman




Paperback. 330 pages of content + 26 pages of references/citations

First impressions

The book looks meaty…there is a lot of text per page and not much space in the margins.

It’s organised into sections about Happiness, Persuasion, Motivation, Creativity, Attraction, Stress, Relationships, Decision Making, Parenting and Personality.

Each section is broken down into chapters about a particular topic relating to the section. How the self-help industry tackles that issue vs what academic research shows is discussed. Then a 59-seconds or less section advises practical steps to take to take to move yourself forward in that area.


Reading the difference between how the self-help industry tackles something vs how academia tackles it was very interesting.

I found a lot of commonality between the Happiness section in this book and Week 2‘s book: How to do Everything and be Happy.

There were things that I’ve started taking for granted as being “the way to do things” that the author demonstrated through research are not effective. For instance, in the motivation section: we’re always told to visualise yourself having achieved your goal – lost weight, aced the exam, gotten the promotion, etc., but the found that research shows that people who visualise a lot tend to not put in as much effort to achieve the goal as people who don’t use visualisation.


The book provides short insights across a lot of different areas and “59 seconds” sections to help you to improve on those areas. I felt like it was just enough content, with enough references to other material, to get me thinking differently about the particular areas I’m interested in improving in without getting bogged down with trying to cover every angle of every area covered in the book.

Next week’s book

In case you want to read along with me, here’s what I’m planning to read during the upcoming week: Sourcery: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett in honour of being reminded of the Luggage by this tweet.

I checked in at the Library and they had just received a pile of transferred books, so my fingers are still crossed for Ready Player One (Science Fiction) and The Miracle Morning (Personal Development).

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