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The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life Hardcover – January 8, 2013

4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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." (Publishers Weekly)

"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." (Elle Magazine)

“'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.” (Kirkus)

About 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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451675054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451675054
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and has an international reputation for his research into unusual areas including deception, luck, humour and the paranormal. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media and his research has been featured on over 150 television programmes in the UK. He is regularly heard on Radio 4 and feature articles about his work have appeared prominently throughout the national press.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really like Richard Wiseman for his pragmatic approach to psychology and self help.Was going to order this thinking that it was a new book but in checking the table of contents i realised that the chapters (not the intro) are exactly the same as his 2012 book Rip It Up which i already own.Check it out before buying.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved his 59 Seconds books:useful, funny, and to the point. Here he tries to tease out what would pass as a chapter in one of those books and turns it into a 245 pager. Good intentions, weak results. His Big Idea:If want a quality , act as if you already have it. His As If theory states that your actions drive your emotions(you smile and you feel happy), as opposed to the emotions driving the actions(you feel happy, thus you smile). If we train our minds this way, we can transform ourselves into what we want to become. He cites some studies that confirm the obvious(how a person dresses creates an image) and those you adopt power poses feel more powerful and notes Zimbardo's prison experiments which fit into the As If mindset. Like I said, an interesting and useful idea, but not worth $25 and hours of reading.
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Format: Hardcover
I have made it a policy to only comment on books that I like, but I make this book an exception because not only do I believe it to be a bad book, but one to beware of. The author is a very skilled and entertaining writer and he lists hundreds of scientific studies at the end that supposedly back up his claims. So most people will enjoy the book and accept the validity of his statements. Also he combines a number of statements that are quite true with others that are patently false, so it would be easy for those unfamiliar with the research (I am a professor of psychology) to consider all of his words to be valid.

Be careful of books that try to explain human behavior with one main principle (even 2, 3, or 4, for that matter)! There will inevitably be serious errors. Wiseman's "As if principle" is simple to understand: "If you want a quality, act as if you already have it." He argues that, for instance, if you want to be happy, then smile. If you want to be confident, then adjust your posture, clothing, etc, to look like a winner. He asserts that a behavioral response actually precedes and causes the emotional response, e.g., that it's not so much that we smile because we are happy, but that we smile, and then--our sensing our smiling, we conclude that we are happy. He gives another example of a fearful man fleeing from a bear--that his actions of fleeing, sweating, etc, evoke his conclusion that he is fearful.

In support of his principle, he quotes in detail the results of many studies. Thus he argues that something that approximates love can be induced in a laboratory setting by getting pairs of subjects to do the things that loving couples do, e.g., staring into each other's eyes and revealing confidential details.
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Format: Hardcover
This book might be even better than his first book, 59 Seconds. Mr. Wiseman simply blasts your typical sell-help advice about using visualizations, affirmations, hypnosis and other inner game tools. You change your inner self when you change the way you ACT/BEHAVE.

According to Mr. Wiseman, behavior is everything. I've spent so many years using different self-help theories, which over-complicate everything and don't deliver any results. But Mr. Wiseman confirmed what common sense suggests: change the way you act.

That famous actor who played a Nazi in the movie 'Schindler's List' (I am not sure if it was that movie or another famous Nazi movie) said that he couldn't wait for the filming to finish. When he was asked 'why', he said that 'acting like a ruthless Nazi officer for the past few weeks has changed me internally; I feel like I am becoming a ruthless Nazi'.

Force yourself to smile and you will feel happier. Start badmouthing someone to other people and you'll start disliking that person. Hug a stranger and you'll find that you have some emotional affection for that person. Pretend to flirt with someone and you'll find that you're starting to like the person.

Of course, every claim that Mr. Wiseman makes is substantiated by simple scientific evidence (in the form of experiments that any average person could conduct). I wish I had read this book instead of 30 other books on self help. This one is based on evidence and common sense. And most importantly, the advice works!

I am now going to quote myself about what I said for Mr. Wiseman's previous book, 59 Seconds, since the same quote applies to this book too.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. It is packed with practical advice and describes a large number of interesting studies demonstrating the "as if" principle in action. It is very persuasive.

The "as if" principle basically means that action comes before thoughts / beliefs / emotions. So if you act as if something is true, it is much more likely you will think, believe, and feel it is true. Those beliefs then make it more likely you will behave that way again in the future and so in an a self reinforcing cycle. Instead of focusing on changing your thoughts to change your behavior, you change your behavior which then changes your thoughts.

Smile and you will actually feel happier and the effect lasts. This is just one of many, many, suggestions in the book. This is one of the better self-help books you are going to find. I've read a lot of them and this one is different. It's easy to read and incredibly practical at the same time.

You can preview the book with Amazon's "Search Inside" feature and I highly recommend you get it.
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