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Rachel NewcombSituations Matter offers a blend of weighty and whimsical insights that makes for a thought-provoking and entertaining read.
—The Washington Post
1 Wysiwyg 13
2 Help Wanted 49
3 Go With The Flow 87
4 You're Not The Person You Thought You Were 125
5 Mars And Venus Here On Earth 159
6 Love 197
7 Hate 233
Posted October 6, 2011
We've all seen the recent TV show, "What Would You Do?" where the American public is secretly video taped to see what their reactions would be for a variety of situations, will people get involved or will they simply act like they don't know what is going on, or simply chose to ignore it.
It is more interesting to understand the dynamics behind why people will react one way in a situation that doesn't involve a group of people and in a completely different way when faced with group pressure. Most interesting too, is how people believe they will respond when simply presented with the situation without being present. So why do people do what they do and does it really matter?
In the novel Situations Matter, Understanding How Context Transforms Your World, by Sam Sommers, the reader can easily pass up this book based on the title alone. Yet giving yourself the time to begin reading this book, gets you hooked immediately. Even reading the back introduction made me wonder, just why I agreed to review this book in the first place, but once I started only lack of sleep in the midnight hour got me to put it down for the evening only to clutch it once I woke up again.
Throughout the book, Sam Sommers takes the readers into the different perspectives we don't often consider in any given situation. Take the following that made me rethink my own personal reactions to these day to day situations by forcing myself to see familiar situations from unfamiliar perspectives, to walk the proverbial mile in the proverbial shoes of another. When an accomplished doctor addresses graduation medical students, he always tells them that the best thing that can happen to them is to get sick. Nothing serious of course. Just enough for them to struggle to book a timely appointment, haggle with the insurance carrier, sit in waiting rooms - a refresher course on what it's like to be the patient.
If you teach for a living, then attend the classes of other teachers once in awhile, sitting quietly in the crowd to rediscover what separates the riveting lecture from the one that sends the audience scrambling for the Sudoku puzzle. If you're a customer service representative, wait on hold while the recording assures you that your call is important. If you're an airline attendant, fly coach.
If you're a student irritated that two hours have passed without an email response from your professor, stop to consider that your ninety-nine fellow classmates might be making simultaneous requests for attention. If you're a traveler at the lost luggage desk, remind yourself that this clerk isn't the one who personally sent your bags to St. Petersburg instead of St. Louis. If you're a patient nearing the end of your third hour in the ER, recognize that, painful as they may be, your two broken fingers don't require prompter medical attention than the asthma attack of the seven-year-old who just arrived by ambulance.
This book is filled with countless examples of how we fail to do the right thing and instead jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts, or even considering what the facts may be. The author wants to make sure that the readers don't lose sight of the small factors that have huge impacts on the people with who we interact.
I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours and Riverhead Books for my honest review and really thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2012
Through social scientist maneuvering, the author studies context by creating situations and plugging it into some scientific algorithm. Okay, I made up the algorithm part. Still, Doogie Howser (he is a very young Ph.D) brilliantly plays with social situations and watches reactions, recording them. He then changes the context and finds the reaction is different. It is a fascinating read, particularly if you are a sociological nerd. Which I'm not. I just couldn't put the book down to finish any other task for a day or two.
Well written, interesting content, and quite funny, in a professor kind of way.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2012
This book is a result of many social psychological studies. It makes the point that most outcomes fly in the face of conventional thinking. The author cites many examples. Very interesting if you are a student of human nature. His main point is to warn us how easily we are influenced/duped into behavior and conclusions by the very situations we are in. Sometimes crowd mentality is very sad and dysfunctional. Sometimes human behavior is humorous in social situations. He shows us how the various situations manipulate our thinking. It is an intriguing premise, and I found myself in aha moments, but occasionally I thought, "Nah, I would think for myself and not follow the crowd. I have a conscience." However, I can see why people would choose to play it safe, sometimes even cold-bloodedly. The author hopes these points will illuminate his readers into analyzing the situation before acting.
Mostly the author writes in a conversational tone so it is easy reading. Occasionally, however, I felt he talked in a roundabout way and I got a little confused. Overall, he is trying to help us be true to ourselves.
Posted January 17, 2012
This book, written not by a well-informed journalist but by an expert in the field of social psychology, marries the entertainment value of the old Seinfeld show with the psychological insights of Dr. Phil (scratch that--this guy actually knows what he's talking about). The book offers a lens through which to view human relationships and interactions that will make often inexplicable behavior of those around you more comprehensible. And, if you're honest, it will explain more of your own behavior. A mix of interesting anecdotes, sly wit, and many fascinating psychological studies, Situations Matter will make you a more effective person, as the author would say. Because contexts in which we live our lives impact on our choices and our perceptions, just carrying this book around in public with you is likely to improve your standing as a person once others see what you're reading. Match that, Malcolm.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2012
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