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Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change Paperback – September 8, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"There are few academics who write with as much grace and wisdom as Timothy Wilson. Redirect is a masterpiece."―Malcolm Gladwell

"Accessible, engaging and consistently WTF-worthy...an instant classic of popular science."―Evening Standard

"This presents a fascinating argument for how humans make sense of the world."―Library Journal

"[In Redirect], a keen observer of the human condition explains how tweaking our personal narratives can have a huge effect on our lives."―Kirkus Reviews

"For those...who find in social psychology a viable vehicle for leading us more surely on the path towards what is true, right and good, Redirect is likely to be a stimulating, valuable read."―New Scientist Culture Lab

"With a deft narrative touch, an engaging metaphor for bringing about psychological change (personal story editing), and a ferocious commitment to scientific evidence, Timothy Wilson has made a remarkable contribution to knowledge."―Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

"Whether you are a parent, educator, employer, or simply someone who cares about making the world a better place, you should read this book."―Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., author of The How of Happiness

"Redirect is a great book!"―Carol Dweck, PhD, author of Mindset

"Wouldn't it be amazing if a very smart scientist could write a book on happiness, crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, parenting, and teenage pregnancy--and sum up all the research in clear and surprising lessons on how we should live our lives? Well, Timothy Wilson is the scientist and Redirect is the book, and it is in fact amazing."―Daniel M. Wegner, Harvard University, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will

"Redirect reveals the hidden meanings we assume in our everyday lives, how these meanings shape our behavior, and how we can change our assumptions and the world. Extraordinary."―Greg Walton, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University

"This should be required reading for any well-intentioned person who wants to make the world a better place."―James W. Pennebaker, author of The Secret Life of Pronouns

"This glorious book shimmers with insights. Timothy Wilson has distilled the field's wisdom and shown us how to use it to change ourselves and the world. This may well be the single most important psychology book ever written."―Daniel Gilbert

About the Author

Timothy D. Wilson is the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He has written for Science and the New York Times, among other publications, and is the author of Strangers to Ourselves. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316051888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316051880
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This is not really a book on what I consider "psychological" change but rather a book on "social" change. The difference being change yourself or change society. I thought this would be a book on personal change. Not so. I found the subtitle somewhat deceiving, "The surprising new science of psychological change". I should be, "The surprising new science of social change". I bought the book when it just came out, before you were able to look "inside" the book on Amazon. If I had seen the chapter headings I would not have bought it; Reducing Prejudice, Reducing Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Reducing Teenage Violence, Preventing Teenage Pregnancies, etc. All worthy subjects but not subjects that directly apply to changing yourself. The only personal use from this book that I found was in the first chapter, which is also the title of the book, "Redirect". In it Wilson talks about "story editing" (tell yourself a different story), "story prompting" (someone else tells you a different story) and "do good be good" (acting like the change before the change occurs). This didn't seem very new and what I've pretty much found in other self help books, reprogram the beliefs in your mind, and "be within when you're without", "act the part before you can be the part" in other words, act like what you want to become and that's what you will become.

This review is not totally fair. Although it's not the book I thought it would be, if you approach it knowing it's directed at social change, then it's worth reading. The strong suite of the book is the research documentation. You also have to credit Wilson with standing up for the research that says popular programs such as D.A.R.
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Format: Paperback
In "Redirect," Timothy Wilson focuses on psychological strategies of changing one's way of viewing life and re-directing their thought processes to become more optimistic. Popular strategies that Wilson uses in his book include story-editing (which is refocusing one's view on a particular problem: e.g. the student who attributes his failed test to being stupid, versus a student who attributes his failed test to not enough studying--as a basic example of this premise), using writing as a way of coming to terms with a problem, and much more.

Besides discussing the actual strategies, Wilson devotes many chapters to problems where they may be well utilized. Chapters cover a slew of social problems such as underage violence, teen pregnancies, racial discrimination, drug and alcohol abuse, becoming better parents, and closing the achievement gap between students. While the initial portion of the book focuses on increasing one's personal well-being, the majority of the book is focused on addressing these popular problems by implementing Wilson's strategies.

Overall, I found Wilson's book to be an interesting and useful guide to re-framing one's way of viewing the world. An important thought that Wilson mentions in his book is that positive thoughts alone don't mean anything--it is positive behavior that ultimately makes the changes. However, positive behavior is unlikely to come about without positive thoughts. And re-framing one's way at looking at things, is the only way that positive thoughts can come about. I found the book to be both helpful and informational.
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This is a very challenging book to review: after all, it's written by a prominent university professor, endorsed by many other professors, and given superlative reviews here at Amazon.com, where (inexplicably) it is described as a extraordinary masterpiece capable of personal transformation of the reader. Moreover, one of the recurring messages of the book is that the author wields the power of scientific study, with the implication that the rest of us are unqualified to disagree since we're incapable of conducting randomized studies of our own from the comfort of our living rooms. Therefore, I go out on a limb a bit with this negative review, so I ask for some indulgence from the reader as I proceed.

Perhaps it is not entirely Timothy Wilson's fault that his book has been hideously misrepresented and grossly overhyped in the Amazon.com review,but the same unjustified and fulsome paean of praise appears on the back and inside covers of the book itself, and that's the reason I bought and read the book, but the bottom line is that this is an abysmal book for anyone looking for guidance as to personal change, although it serves well as a readable, though incomplete, social psychology textbook. In short, many readers such as myself have been "misdirected" into buying copies of "Redirect." Here's why.

Most psychotherapists practice the techniques of "cognitive therapy" (sometimes referred to as "cognitive-behavioral therapy"), a method of counseling intended to reduce or "reframe" the patient's negative, crippling, disempowering views of themselves and their worlds. You need to be a licensed mental health professional to practice cognitive therapy.
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