For most of my adult life, I have enjoyed reading books about great leaders, wars, or events that have shaped history. But even I get tired of the same old historical story every now and then, so I’ve recently tried to venture into new unchartered reading territory.
Enter the self-help and psychology genre.
I’ve always loved reading books about leaders and the obstacles they’ve overcome, so I thought I would check out some books that tell those types of stories but in a different way. The first book I chose in that vein was 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute by Richard Wiseman.
Billed as an “easy-to-use, concise guide to changing your life,” the book gives an overview of many of the latest academic psychology theories and tries to apply lessons from that research to real-life situations that are relatable. I was intrigued by the book initially because Wiseman specifically rejects much of the self-help industry, which he says is full of snake-oil salesmen telling people what they want to hear about happiness and success. As someone who wants to read about how to be a better person, happier, or more successful but without all the bull, I was hooked from the introduction, and Wiseman did a good job of keeping me engaged throughout most of the book.
The best part of the book is that it covers many really interesting and diverse psychological theories and applies them to real-life circumstances in a digestible format. True to the title, each chapter ends with a 59-second blueprint for navigating life and learning how to apply the psychological research. The chapters cover practical methods for achieving success at Happiness, Persuasion, Motivation, Creativity, Attraction, Stress, Relationships, Decision-Making, Parenting, and Personality.
Wiseman could have probably cut out some of the redundant stories that makes the book drag on toward the end, and the topics are so diverse that they could have been broken up into two or three books. But all in all, 59 Seconds was a good first foray into the self-help genre. I recommend it.