59 Seconds: Change your Life in Under A Minute Summary

So I’ve been reading a book called 59 Seconds: Change your life in Under a Minute. The book is just a random and sporadic collection of trivia and facts backed by scientific study.

So here’s some cool things that you should get from the book that were backed by scientific study ( please note healthy amount of skepticism even if backed by studies). The bold ones are my favorites and I think that most interesting.

  • Talking about traumatic experiences hasn’t scientifically been proven to help, though recollecting things and writing them down can help.
  • Small acts of kindness toward others are good for both you and the other person.
  • Write about three things you are grateful for & three things that have gone well in your life at the end of week in order to improve happiness.
  • The purchases with the highest feedback are experiences and not material possessions (ie a trip vs a new laptop).
  • Rewards reduce the enjoyment of most activities as does payment. Volunteering to do something and getting paid to do it will lead to different rewards.
  • When interviewing, it’s best to admit a weakness early in order to show honesty and strengths later to show modesty.
  • When you do something embarrassing most people don’t notice.
  • When you’re near perfect, people will think your mistakes are humbling but if you make mistakes a lot, people tend to think your loser (Pratfall effect).
  • Dreamers are less likely to attain their dream jobs as they dream and not focus on the small steps that are required to get there.
  • You will get more alcohol in short wide glass than in a tall narrow one (bartenders tend to know the exact shot but in general people will pour more into a short wide one).
  • Have a mirror in front of your fridge or kitchen area, the reflection tends to keep your from eating as much.
  • People who gossip or bad mouth people tend to be correlated with the bad behavior of the person they are bad mouthing.
  • People introduced during a meal are most fondly remembered.
  • When focusing on something, you tend to eat more. If you start out at a normal place and then slow down for the last half of your meal you will eat less.
  • Having your unconscious work on problems is a regular theme in the book, if you are working hard on something try taking a break by playing a game of sorts, sudoku, crosswords, etc. This works with both  creative issues and making decisions. Knowing your options, then distracting yourself, then making a decision quickly helps a lot.
  • If you walked into a room and picked out your 5 favorite objects in the room, the more the objects are shared with your significant other or are related to them the stronger your relationship tends to be.
  • Owning dogs reduces stress and improves lives, owning cats apparently does not? (not sure about this one, I think pets in general improve life)
  • Playing hard to get apparently doesn’t work in dating
  • When speed dating, the more selective you are the better you are considered. If you’re attractive and successful, you tend to be considered less desirable because people assume something is wrong with you.
  • Groups exaggerate the inherit biases in them, if you have a group of slightly violent people they will rebound with each other and do more violent acts. Same with ideologies, etc. Even mixed groups tend to take the extreme of one or the other after a while.
  • Salesmen have a few easy habits.
    • Try to make it into a deal by offering additional stuff (think infomercials, you get a 2nd knife for free!)
    • Start small to get something people will do, then ask for a bigger sell later.
    • Start big and outrageous and then negotiate down.
  • Liars are not fidgety or anxious, they tend to just be thinking more. Less fidgety, more pauses, less likely to give a full answer, more ums, and less straight answers are all signs of lying. People will lie less in email / texts / recorded conversations.
  • When praising children, remember to praise them for their hard work and not their intelligence, kids praised for their intelligence are less likely to try harder things in order to keep that praise. 
  • Try writing your eulogy in order to get an understanding of what you want to accomplish in long term goals.