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

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

by Richard Wiseman
     
 

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From a bestselling author and the most-followed psychologist on Twitter, this “intriguing new slant to personal transformation” (Kirkus Reviews) shows you how to take control of your life in an instant.

Victorian philosopher William James had a theory about emotion and behavior: It isn’t that our feelings

Overview

From a bestselling author and the most-followed psychologist on Twitter, this “intriguing new slant to personal transformation” (Kirkus Reviews) shows you how to take control of your life in an instant.

Victorian philosopher William James had a theory about emotion and behavior: It isn’t that our feelings guide our actions (feel happy and you will laugh). On the contrary, it is our actions that guide our emotions (laugh and you will feel happy). This led James to a remarkable conclusion: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.”

Roused by James’s astonishing discovery, renowned psychologist and bestselling author Richard Wiseman confirms James’s principle and shows how the self-help genre has for too long put the cart before the horse in trying to help us take control of our lives. Bringing to the table a dazzling array of firsthand experiments, surprising histories, and psychological case studies, Wiseman illustrates in brilliant detail how we can apply this principle in our daily lives:

Smile to become measurably happier

Wash your hands to drive away guilt

Clench your fist to increase your willpower

Eat with your nondominant hand to lose weight

Nod while speaking to become more persuasive

Act like a newlywed to rekindle your marriage

Lively, engaging, and truly mind-changing, The As If Principle is that rare gem that offers real, workable solutions for your day-to-day goals while helping you to instantly take control of your emotions. Whether it’s quitting a bad habit, persevering through a difficult task, or achieving your dream self, The As If Principle can help. Don’t just think about changing your life. Do it.

Editorial Reviews

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."
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451675061
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/21/2014
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,128,341
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Wiseman currently holds Britain’s only professorship in the area of public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where he has gained an international reputation for research into luck, perception, belief, and the science of self-help. He has written four bestselling books that have been translated into more than thirty languages: The Luck Factor, Quirkology, 59 Seconds, and Paranormality. He lives in London.

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