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Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives

Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives

Author: Richard Wiseman

Review by Mark Tyrrell

Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives

Quirkology is tremendous fun. Based on the TV series of the same name, it's a very easy read because it is all about you and people you know.

Wiseman can tell you all about how you are likely to respond to many of life’s situations. What will amaze you is the sheer oddity (not to mention number) of curious phenomena that scientists have felt inspired to investigate. Wiseman will tell you all about the research that illuminates how your name can affect your choice of partner, your career, and how long you live (bet that one surprised you).

Then there’s the research into what makes us laugh. Just why is the letter ‘K’ so hilarious? Why do men and women find different jokes funny? And speaking of men and women, what is the best way to write a lonely hearts ad to get the most responses?

The answer is surprisingly numerical. Even more surprisingly, men turned out to be much better at identifying which personal ads written by men would attract more responses, than women were about ads written by women. Women, in fact, were pretty hopeless at spotting which female ads would be successful. It’s worth getting this great find of a book for the explanation of this finding – and the professor’s advice to women on what to do about it – alone.

Wiseman (a great name for a psychologist, as he points out) also looks at superstition, the psychology of deception, the perfect (scientifically validated) chat up line, how it is that people can walk on hot coals, subliminal advertising and much more besides.

'Quirkology' is witty and informative and will light up your dinner party or pub conversations. But it’s more than just fun – there are some profound truths about human nature and behaviour in what Wiseman is telling us.

If you want to be amazed and informed, get this book – and no, that wasn’t subliminal...

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Mark Tyrrell
Creative Director