The As If Principle
The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life
By Richard Wiseman
(Free Press, Hardcover, 9781451675054, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
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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.
Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., currently holds Britain’s only professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology. He is the author of four bestselling books: The Luck Factor, Quirkology, 59 Seconds, and Paranormality. He lives in the UK.
"Drawing from such well-known trials and tests as the Zimbardo prison study and 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."
"Wiseman contends, when you smile, as the saying goes, the world smiles with you. . . .The as-if principle can help you get motivated, fall in love, avoid anxiety, stay thin, and be more joyous."
“'The most-followed psychologist on Twitter' re-examines the process of creating personal change and growth… By flipping current psychology theories upside down and putting motion before emotion, one can have better relationships, fight depression and anxiety, lose weight and stop smoking (or curb other addictive behaviors), grow more confident, and slow down the effects of aging….[An] intriguing new slant to personal transformation.”