Your every significant choice -- every important decision you make -- is determined by a force operating deep inside your mind: your perspective on time -- your internal, personal time zone. This is the most influential force in your life, yet you are virtually unaware of it. Once you become aware of your personal time zone, you can begin to see and manage your life in exciting new ways.
In The Time Paradox, Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd draw on thirty years of pioneering research to reveal, for the first time, how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you. Further, they demonstrate that your and every other individual's time zones interact to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies.
You will discover what time zone you live in through Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd's revolutionary tests. Ask yourself:
Does the smell of fresh-baked cookies bring you back to your childhood?
Do you believe that nothing will ever change in your world?
Do you believe that the present encompasses all and the future and past are mere abstractions?
Do you wear a watch, balance your checkbook, and make to-do lists -- every day?
Do you believe that life on earth is merely preparation for life after death?
Do you ruminate over failed relationships?
Are you the life of every party -- always late, always laughing, and always broke?
These statements are representative of the seven most common ways people relate to time, each of which, in its extreme, creates benefits and pitfalls. The Time Paradox is a practical plan for optimizing your blend of timeperspectives so you get the utmost out of every minute in your personal and professional life as well as a fascinating commentary about the power and paradoxes of time in the modern world.
No matter your time perspective, you experience these paradoxes. Only by understanding this new psychological science of time zones will you be able to overcome the mental biases that keep you too attached to the past, too focused on immediate gratification, or unhealthily obsessed with future goals. Time passes no matter what you do -- it's up to you to spend it wisely and enjoy it well. Here's how.
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About the Author
Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., a professor emeritus at Stanford University and past president of the American Psychological Association, designed and narrated the award-winning PBS series Discovering Psychology. He has written more than fifty books, including the New York Times bestseller The Lucifer Effect, and lives in San Francisco.
John Boyd, Ph.D., received his doctorate in psychology from Stanford University, where he worked closely with Philip developing the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory. His professional experience includes director of scientific affairs at Alertness Solutions, director of research at Yahoo!, and, currently, research manager at Google. He lives in Dublin, California, with his wife, Nancy.
Read an Excerpt
The Time Paradox
In the eighteenth century, a secretive sect of men created a gruesome memorial to the importance of time in the dim, dusty basement of Santa Maria della Concezione, a nondescript church at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Like the great St. Peter’s, which towers nearby, the cramped walls of Santa Maria della Concezione are covered with individual tessera from which transcendent mosaics emerge. Unlike those in St. Peter’s, the decorative tessera adorning the narrow confines of Santa Maria della Concezione are made not of colored glass but of discolored human bone. Hundreds of stacked skulls form Roman arches. Thousands of individual vertebrae create intricate mandalas. Smaller bones, perhaps from hands and feet, form chandeliers replete with lightbulbs. The complete skeleton of a small boy dangles from the ceiling holding the scales of justice in its bony hands. And fully dressed monks with withered skin still intact wait in reflective poses for eternity. The sheer spectacle is at once terrifying and enthralling.1
Capuchin monks, better known for giving the name of their distinctive hats to coffee topped with foam, or cappuccino, reinterred four thousand of their deceased brethren in this basement because their earlier “final resting place” had become the site of new construction. Despite its solemn content, the almost surreal Crypt of the Capuchin Monks with its posed corpses has the feel of a Hollywood movie set or an exceptionally well-done Halloween display. For most visitors, the crypt is a sight to be seen, not a site for serious contemplation, and tourists shuffle through it each year paying less homage to the dead before them than they do to works of art in the nearby Vatican museum.
Table of Contents
Part 1 The New Science of Time: How Time Works
1 Why Time Matters 3
2 Time 29
A Retrospective on Time Perspectives
3 The Past 71
How You See Yesterday Through the Lens of Today
4 The Present 99
An Instant for All That Is Real
5 The Future 135
Tomorrow Through the Lens of Today
6 The Transcendental Future 161
New Time After Death
Part 2 Making Time Work For You
7 Time, Your Body, and Your Health 189
More Than Your Biological Clock Is Ticking
8 The Course of Time 215
Life Choices and Money in Balancing the Present and the Future
9 Love and Happiness 245
10 Business, Politics, and Your Time 265
11 Resetting Your Psychological Clock 295
Developing Your Ideal Time Perspective
12 Out of Time 313
Making Your Time Matter
Illustration Credits 375
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
After thinking for some time that personal perspectives on time are one of the most overlooked aspects of the social animal it was refreshing to read Zimbardos book. A recommended reading (also recommend watching his presentation on Ted.com).
The authors explain the various ways people view time and show how these differing time perspectives can cause conflict and confusion in the world-but understanding them can lead to better relations with others and more effective educational programs. People who are 'present-oriented', for example, will not respond well to efforts to educate them that are from the perspective of a 'future oriented' educator. I learned several valuable insights from this book, and I can certainly see how people from different cultural backgrounds have different time orientations. Some parts were academic and dry but not excessively so and it read fairly easily. The concepts were fascinating enough to keep me reading and I kept thinking about them even when I wasn't reading the book and discussed them with others. So it was definitely a thought provoking book and one to share with others!
I found the development of man's view of time from prehistory to present and its similarity to present changes one develops in his view as we mature. It also brings up the concept of arrested development of an individuals time view and its affect on personality and ability to function in society. Also the role of one's culture in development of a time view
Authors Zimbardo and Boyd translate their psychological theories of time into how-to tips for attaining happiness. Identifying six main time-perspectives, they demonstrate the effect that the use or overuse of these perspectives has on all areas of life, from retirement to romantic relationships to suicide bombing. The book compares other psychological theories of behavior with their own, arguing that attitudes towards time as the true answer to these psychological inquiries. Combining personal anecdotes, data from psychological perspectives and self-evaluative exercises, the authors help the readers make time work for them in a quick-paced, interactive manual. The Time Paradox is an informative read for both psychology aficionados and the curious self-improver alike. A memory trigger for the Pasts, an engaging read for the Presents, and a useful tool for the Futures. Some of the book's most striking evidence comes from a discussion of business and the future oriented go-getters. Zimbardo and Boyd ask the question, "Why bother earning money you can never enjoy the fruits of your labor?" The authors don't dispute the usefulness of money; they rather assert that time is our most valuable resource, not wealth.
Zimbardo and Boyd write about Time Perspective and how our quality of life and happiness is so greatly effected by that perspective. It started very simply and built to more complexity. Many books are really done in about forty pages, but this book seemed to get more interesting as the book progressed.