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Rip It Up: The radically new approach to changing your life by Richard Wiseman

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Interesting book with detailed accounts of numerous experiments to assess happiness. If you like studies such with fake probes being attached to people’s foreheads to mislead participants to thinking that the facial muscles are being studied (whereas subjective happiness is being studied) you will like this book. This study assessed the effect a smile has on reported happiness and showed that smiling did increase reported happiness. Therefore book suggests regular smiling for at least 20 seconds increases your happiness. In addition walking purposefully, as opposed to stooped with hesitant strides helps your happiness. When shaking hands do so smoothly and firmly up and down, this boosts the other persons feelings towards you, even mentions a study to back this up!

Interesting experiments in which children were divided into two groups for three weeks and observed and then rivalries between these groups were induced. The learning point was that you could get them to also cooperate and like each other with an intervention by getting them to share tasks to perform a mutual goal.

Mentions the ‘jigsaw method’ for teaching in which you split a class into groups of people from different backgrounds to work together. Each person is responsible for a component of the task, they meet members from other teams responsible for the same part and then feedback learning to their group. As the team is marked as one the group soon cooperate rather than dislike people of different backgrounds.

Suggests If you clench your fist you will feel more confident. Outlines trials in which people’s opinions and confidence is assessed by putting them in scenarios such as making them eat worms. Another study even looks at height of virtual world of warcraft characters and how much they achieve. Some situations lower self confidence which goes down to the chicken and egg question in terms of why confident people may do more. Suggests new experiences boost confidence but you need to be willing to try these.

The main concept the book highlights is the “as if” concept. If you want to possess a quality then act as if you already have it, this then boosts your ability to actual possess this.

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