The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

Overview


Change the way you behave and you change the way you feel—that’s the simple and powerful message in this insightful and engaging new book by internationally renowned psychologist Richard Wiseman.

Most self-help books encourage you to think differently: to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming, and often doesn’t work.

Tossing out the rule book, Professor Richard Wiseman—a ...

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The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

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Overview


Change the way you behave and you change the way you feel—that’s the simple and powerful message in this insightful and engaging new book by internationally renowned psychologist Richard Wiseman.

Most self-help books encourage you to think differently: to think yourself thin, imagine a richer self or to visualize the perfect you. This is difficult, time consuming, and often doesn’t work.

Tossing out the rule book, Professor Richard Wiseman—a renowned psychologist with 90,000 Twitter followers and 13 million YouTube viewers—presents a radical new insight into your body and brain: that it is your actions that have the power to instantly change the way you think and feel. Smile and you’ll become measurably happier. Clench your fist and you will increase your willpower. Put a spring in your step and you will feel instantly younger. Acting, not thinking, is what controls your emotions and allows you to unleash your hidden potential.

Drawing on a dazzling array of scientific evidence, Professor Wiseman shows how this simple idea can be used to easily increase motivation, overcome depression, lose weight, stop smoking, and even slow aging.

So don’t just think about changing your life. Do it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The American psychologist William James once said, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” Wiseman (59 Seconds), a British psychologist and social media phenomenon, backs up the “act as if” dictum by parsing scientific studies and offering practical tips to help folks become the person they want to be. If you’re lacking in confidence, adopt a more powerful pose; if you’re feeling down, just smile! Drawing from such well-known trials and tests as the Zimbardo prison study and the Stanislavski acting method, as well as historical and pop culture figures like Frederick Douglass and Joan Baez, Wiseman makes a convincing argument for the power of action (though his assertion that his is a “radically new approach” is less persuasive—James uttered his famous maxim in 1884). Yet he’s at his best when he puts down his bag of tricks and turns his attention to the relationship between action and thought, as when he considers the inefficacy of public health information campaigns when compared to the success of legislation in changing behavior. Readers who have enjoyed Wiseman’s previous work will likely enjoy this addition to his oeuvre; more skeptical readers might just have to grin and bear it. Illus. (Jan.)
Elle Magazine
"Wiseman contends, when you smile, as the saying goes, the world smiles with you. . . .The as-if principle can help you get motivated, fall in love, avoid anxiety, stay thin, and be more joyous."
From the Publisher
"Drawing from such well-known trials and tests as the Zimbardo prison study and Stanislavski acting method, as well as historical and pop culture figures like Frederick Douglass and Joan Baez. Wiseman makes a convincing argument for the power of action."

"Wiseman contends, when you smile, as the saying goes, the world smiles with you. . . .The as-if principle can help you get motivated, fall in love, avoid anxiety, stay thin, and be more joyous."

“'The most-followed psychologist on Twitter' re-examines the process of creating personal change and growth… By flipping current psychology theories upside down and putting motion before emotion, one can have better relationships, fight depression and anxiety, lose weight and stop smoking (or curb other addictive behaviors), grow more confident, and slow down the effects of aging….[An] intriguing new slant to personal transformation.”

Library Journal
Psychologist Wiseman (The Luck Factor; 59 Seconds) presents an innovative approach to changing behavior, proposing that actions have the power to change the way one thinks and feels. Instead of thinking one's way to stopping smoking, losing weight, etc., and changing behavior, it's more effective to act "as if" one already has overcome that demon or attained a particular goal. He focuses on specific behaviors in the arenas of willpower, relationships, mental health, and more. In a nutshell he advocates, "Forget positive thinking; try positive action." Fun, refreshing, and worth a read.
Kirkus Reviews
"The most-followed psychologist on Twitter" re-examines the process of creating personal change and growth. Rather than thinking about making changes and trying to act on those new thought processes, Wiseman (Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There, 2011, etc.) suggests a new approach to changing your life by performing a motion that in turn changes your thoughts. Most self-help books, writes the author, "preach the same simple mantra: if you want to improve your life, you need to change how you think"--positive thoughts will make you happier and bring greater wealth and success. However, Wiseman believes that actions can speak louder than words, so his method, based on research by William James and others over the past century, states that one's behavior causes an emotional response, rather than the emotion being the catalyst for the behavior. Smile and you'll feel happier, feel loving and love will manifest, eat only when your body says "I'm hungry" and lose weight--these are just some of the many arenas Wiseman explores. The data from current research proves that by clenching your jaw, you develop more willpower, and by standing up straight, you become far more confident. By flipping current psychology theories upside down and putting motion before emotion, one can have better relationships, fight depression and anxiety, lose weight and stop smoking (or curb other addictive behaviors), grow more confident and slow down the effects of aging. Throughout the book, Wiseman includes exercises that will "encourage you to actually experience these phenomena rather than just read about them." For those seeking quick change, the appendix includes a list of simple actions with the appropriate positive reaction or expected change stated. For seekers of self-betterment, a mostly intriguing new slant to personal transformation.
AskMen.com
"Wiseman's The As If Principle explains how to instantly take control of your emotions. Whether it's quitting a bad habit, persevering through a difficult task or achieving your dream self, you can make it happen."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451675054
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 285
  • Sales rank: 1,428,232
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., currently holds Britain’s only professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology. He is the author of four bestselling books: The Luck Factor, Quirkology, 59 Seconds, and Paranormality. He lives in the UK.

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Table of Contents

A Brief Introduction xi

It's time for positive action

Chapter 1 How to be Happy 1

Where we meet that adorable genius William James, turn the world upside-down, learn how to create good cheer at will, and visit the fun factory

Chapter 2 Attraction and Relationships 33

Where we unpack the mysteries of the human heart, discover the power of footsie, invent a new type of speed dating, and learn how to live happily ever after

Chapter 3 Mental Health 73

Where we meet the "Napoleon of neuroses," find out why watching sports is bad for your health, and discover how best to deal with phobias, anxiety, and depression

Chapter 4 Willpower 115

Where we learn why rewards punish and discover how to motivate others, beat procrastination, stop smoking, and lose weight

Chapter 5 Persuasion 145

Where we explore the problems of changing people's minds, find out what really manipulates the masses, and discover how cooperation can shape society

Chapter 6 Creating a New You 187

Where we learn how to feel more confident, change our personality, and slow the effects of aging

Conclusion 233

Where we hypnotize a woman, saw a brain in half, and discover why you really are of two minds about everything

Appendix 243

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 249

Index 267

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