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The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life Paperback – Bargain Price, July 7, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416541993
  • ASIN: B003F76J14
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,078,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Time is our most valuable possession: we are obsessed with schedules and multitasking to save time, say the authors of this insightful study of the importance of time in our lives. Yet people spend time less wisely than money. Zimbardo (The Lucifer Effect), professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford, and Boyd, research director for Yahoo!, draw on their two decades of research to explain why people devalue time. They blend scientific results into a straightforward narrative exploring various past-, present- and future-oriented ways of perceiving time and argue against becoming imprisoned or obsessed by any one of these. Zimbardo and Boyd have cogent insight into all of time's elements and show how they can be used for success, better health and greater fulfillment. For instance, understanding the role of time in investment can lead to wiser financial decisions, and a relationship will not work if one partner is focused on today's pleasure while the other wants to plan for the future. This is a compelling and practical primer (filled with quizzes and tests) on making every moment count. (Aug. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"If you are a decision maker, then you need to read this book. It informs about the central problem of how to discriminate between immediate rewards and future payoffs. The Time Paradox is comprehensive, admirably clear, and a delightful read."-- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan

"The Time Paradox explores a very important topic from a fresh, practical, and entertaining perspective. Since time is limited for all of us, this book is well worth your time."-- Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and Healing the Hardware of Your Soul

"The Time Paradox reveals how to better use your most irreplaceable resource, based on solid science and timeless wisdom."-- Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness

"Informed by the world's foremost expert on the psychology of time, The Time Paradox combines solid science, compelling stories, and crisp prose to illuminate how time, like the oxygen we breathe, pervades every aspect of our lives. Reading this book will yield insights into your own motivation and behavior and help you be happier, healthier, and more successful. It will also help you understand the source of many of the world's greatest triumphs and most pressing problems -- from terrorism to homelessness, from religion to love, from the successes and failures of CEOs to those of marriages. Zimbardo and Boyd have hit a home run."-- Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

"Phil Zimbardo, a master at making complex ideas and discoveries in psychology, including his own, not only intelligible but fun and personally relevant for nonspecialists, has done it again, this time with the fascinating topic of time perspective. Bravo!"-- Walter Mischel, Ph.D., Columbia University Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology

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Customer Reviews

I think the book will help me balance my life better and maybe even help others.
Igor Akimushkin
The book has great info but takes too much time by covering topics at a depth not necessary for understanding.
Connie Sirois
Again this book is based in solid scientific research and yet is also very readable.
Rod Matthews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Irfan A. Alvi TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
On the positive side, getting a handle on one's time perspectives isn't easy, but is vital to living well, and this is one of the few books which focuses on that topic. From that standpoint, I certainly benefitted from reading the book, and I suspect that I'll be ruminating about these ideas for quite some time (no pun intended).

To get a sense of your own current time perspectives, I highly recommend doing the online surveys found at [...] this is quicker and easier than completing the surveys by hand in the book.

But I can give this book only 3 stars because of some rather significant negatives:

- At 319 pages, the book is much too long for the content it offers. At most, it should be half that length. Ironically, the book asks for too much of the reader's time!

- The writing style is somewhat dull. It seems that the writers have wound up in a no man's land between good academic writing and good self-help writing. The result is neither academic rigor and density, nor self-help practical directness, but instead dull text which lacks both.

- Mostly significantly and surprisingly, the authors fail to adequately justify their proposed optimal time-perspective profile, and they fail to adequately provide detailed advice for how one can move towards the optimal profile. They even fail to adequately spell out the pitfalls of a suboptimal profile. For these reasons, the book is actually fairly shallow, despite the apparent academic qualifications of the authors and their long history of involvement with this subject.

Because this book at least introduces an important topic, I can hesitatingly recommend it. If you decide to read it, I suggest reading Part One at your normal pace, and then maybe skim through Part Two more quickly. This book might also work well in abridged audio format, since that would help cut out much of the fluff.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors, Drs. Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd have done a superb job in describing how people's time perspective can influence their behavior. The writing is clear and is accompanied by relevant research and many stories, descriptions, and histories. Dr. Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and Dr. Boyd is a former student of Dr. Zimbardo, now working as research manager at Google.

People can have 3 "time perspectives"; they can be past-oriented, present oriented, or future-oriented. Based on their time orientation people behave differently. This conclusion is based on research done during the last few decades by various research scientists including Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd and is helpful because by understanding how people orient to time, we can partially predict their behavior. Thus people's time orientation can complement other models of personality development.

In order to figure out their time perspective, one can take two tests that have been developed by Dr. Zimbardo called the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) and the Transcendental-future Time Perspective Inventory (TFTPI). These tests are available at [...].

Obviously, we have a limited time on earth; so it is advantageous to make the best use of it. By gaining an insight into what type of time perspective we have, it is hoped that we become more efficient users of our time.

People who have different time perspective behave differently and we can make general statements about their thoughts, feelings, and behavior:

Past-oriented people:
1- They are generally more concerned with their past and seem to be able to distance themselves from the realities of the present or the future.
Read more ›
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Mccaffrey on September 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I doubt this book will change your life, but it is an interesting read all the same.

The authors discuss the way in which we find ourselves obsessed with time. Interestingly, they point out that 3 of the most common nouns in the English language involve time (namely time, year, and day.....among the other common nouns are person, way, thing, man, world, life, and hand).

Zimbardo and Boyd also discuss the way in which our time orientation guides our choices and overall orientation. He divides people into 7 time-related categories that basically boil down to those who are (1) past oriented (2) present oriented or (3) future oriented. Zimbardo offers up an anecdote involving pre-school aged children, and demonstrates how, even at a young age, our time orientation can guide our behavior. Basically the children are offered either (1) one treat now or (2) two treats later if they practice delayed gratification. When they were interviewed years later, the psychologists discovered that "the third of children who were able to control their impulses at age four scored 210 points higher on verbal and math SAT scores than the impulse-driven four year olds....The ability to delay gratification at age four is twice as good a predictor of later SAT score as IQ. Poor impulse control is also a better predictor of juvenile delinquency than IQ" (p. 216).

Overall, it was a good read. Somewhat pedantic at times but generally engaging.

Zimbardo's other book, The Lucifer Effect, is outstanding. Skip the first few chapters and go straight to his account of the Stanford Prison Experiment. It's the type of book that grabs your attention and really leaves you thinking.
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