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The As If Principle

The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Victorian philosopher William James had a theory about emotion and behavior: It isn’t that our feelings guide our actions (feel happy and you will laugh). On the contrary, it is our actions that guide our emotions (laugh and you will feel happy). This led James to a remarkable conclusion: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” Roused by James’s astonishing discovery, renowned psychologist and bestselling author Richard Wiseman confirms James’s principle and shows how the self-help genre has for too long put the cart before the horse in trying to help us take control of our lives. Bringing to the table a dazzling array of firsthand experiments, surprising histories, and psychological case studies, Wiseman illustrates in brilliant detail how we can apply this principle in our daily lives:

—Smile to become measurably happier

—Wash your hands to drive away guilt

—Clench your fist to increase your willpower

—Eat with your non-dominant hand to lose weight

—Nod while speaking to become more persuasive

—Act like a newlywed to rekindle your marriage

Lively, engaging, and truly mind-changing, The As If Principle is that rare gem that offers real, workable solutions for your day-to-day goals while helping you to instantly take control of your emotions. Whether it’s quitting a bad habit, persevering through a difficult task, or achieving your dream self, The As If Principle can help. Don’t just think about changing your life. Do it.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 08, 2012 – The American psychologist William James once said, If you want a quality, act as if you already have it. Wiseman (59 Seconds), a British psychologist and social media phenomenon, backs up the act as if dictum by parsing scientific studies and offering practical tips to help folks become the person they want to be. If you re lacking in confidence, adopt a more powerful pose; if you re feeling down, just smile! Drawing from such well-known trials and tests as the Zimbardo prison study and the 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 (though his assertion that his is a radically new approach is less persuasive James uttered his famous maxim in 1884). Yet he s at his best when he puts down his bag of tricks and turns his attention to the relationship between action and thought, as when he considers the inefficacy of public health information campaigns when compared to the success of legislation in changing behavior. Readers who have enjoyed Wiseman s previous work will likely enjoy this addition to his oeuvre; more skeptical readers might just have to grin and bear it. Illus.

Customer Reviews

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This is one of the most helpful books I have ever read. Period.

The As If Principle
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Psychology
  • Published: Jan 08, 2013
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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