59 Seconds - Think a little, change a lot

In 59 seconds

  1. Develop an attitude of gratitude
  2. Place a smiling baby in your wallet for a 30% increased chance to have it returned
  3. Hang a mirror in the kitchen to prevent snacking
  4. Buy a pot plant for the office
  5. Touch people lightly on the upper arm
  6. Write about your relationship
  7. Communicate potential liars by email
  8. Praise effort over ability with children
  9. Visualize yourself doing not achieving
  10. Consider your legacy

Looking for happiness

Happiness causes success. People smile when they are happy but also feel happier because they are smiling. If you want to cheer up, behave like a happy person: wear colorful clothing, walk relaxed and use positive words.

When people can afford the necessities in life, an increase in income does not result in a significantly happier life. Those who feel in control of their lives are more successful and healthy, psychologically and physically, than those who do not feel in control. Happiness is about wanting what you have not having what you want.

50% of a person’s sense of happiness is genetically determined.

Happiness is increased most by performing five non-financial acts of kindness on one day each week. A few pounds spent on other people may be one of the best investments you ever make.

Expressing gratitude through daily scribblings increases happiness, activeness, health and optimism. 59 seconds provides a diary schema for weekdays.

Making changes

Choose intentional over circumstantial change. Break goals into sub-goals (concreate, measurable, time-based) to create a step-by-step process that removes fear and hesitation. Tell your friends and family and reward each step of the way. Even just thinking about a friend when trying to achieve goals make them seem far more surmountable.

Unfinished tasks nag so just spend a few minutes on a task and your subconcious will convince you to see it through to completion. Interleave the benefits of achievement with a realistic assessment of possible problems.


Buying experiences makes people feel better than buying products over short-term and long-term. They are excellent value for money.

People regret things they didn’t do.

Handling troubles

Writing creates a story line and structure that helps people make sense of what has happened and work towards a solution, unlike talking that can add a sense of confusion.

Instead of dwelling on the positive things that might have happened, spend time thinking about three benefits of your current situation and three negative consequences that could have occurred if you had taken the decision that is causing regret.


The only important factor in interviews is did the candidate appear to be a pleasant person. Presenting weaknesses early is a sign of credibility and openness. Save strong positives emerge towards the end of the interview because modesty, rather than honesty, is critical. Do not get phased by small mistakes, it matters much more to us because of the ‘spotlight effect’.

  1. Talk about a genuine like related to the organization
  2. Give a genuine compliment
  3. Discuss a shared interest
  4. Ask about their desired person and how they should fit into the organization
  5. Be enthusiastic
  6. Smile and maintain eye contact


Sit towards the middle of the table to make a good impression in a meeting, we are conditioned to understand that is where important people sit. Gently lean forward and pull against the table to emulate feeling at ease, cross your arms when the going gets tough to increase perseverance.

Name products and companies with words that are easy to remember and straightforward to pronounce. Save your time, persuade by rhyme.

Simpler language and clear writing (font/handwriting) results in significantly higher ratings of intelligence.

Alter team members as often as possible to maximize the potential for new and exciting.

The addition of a pot plant enhances people’s creativity but don’t try to fake rural scenes because it doesn’t work. Visual priming can help creativity by making people feel more at ease.

Visitors to a restaurant left 70% larger tips when their orders were repeated back to them.

From negotiating about hosue prices to working hours, salary to overdraft limits, if you are selling it pays to start high.

Mental unpacking of tasks produces estimates that are far more accurate.

If you reward an enjoyable activity, play is transformed into work. A occasional small surprise reward is fine and so is a realistic reward for unenjoyable activities.

Lying is signified by a sudden decrease in detail, an increase in pauses and reduced gesturisation. People are reluctant to say I,me,mine and use her him more. People lie least by email.


‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.’ Get someone to do you a favor to make them like you. People who make mistakes are more likeable. Say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues as your the traits you communicate are associated with you. Save your favors for strangers so they appear to come from the heart, not the head.

Personal stories are more convincing. Charity boxes become 200% more effective if painted red, labelled ‘Every penny counts’ and placed anywhere except Birmingham.

Get someone to agree with a small request before asking for a larger one – far more likely to comply. Strange requests make people pay more attention and increases the likelyhood of compliance.

Wallets with cute baby pictures are most likely to be returned.

A gentle touch is perceived as a sign of high status.

Mirror movements to help convince someone that the chemistry is right. If you are too good to be true keep some of your assets under wraps. On the first date go somewhere scary and don’t be afraid of intimate conversation – common sense says strange, science irresistable. 1. Who would you ask to the perfect dinner party? 2. Name two ways you consider yourself lucky 3. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do and why haven’t you done it4. Describe one of the happiest days of your life

The odd licking of the lips might indicate it will be your lucky night.

People feel to each other when they agree about dislikes rather than likes.

Choose a Labrador to relieve stresses and strains, partly by maximizing the chance of increasing social contact.

Carrying out hte activities associated with early courtship can help rekindle past passions, just as gazing into the eyes of a complete stranger can induce feelings of mutual attraction. Surrounding yourself with objects that remind you of your partner is good for your relationshpi.

Men misunderstand how romantic behaviour is perceived by women. Top romantic gestures include (in order): 1. Cover her eyes and lead her to a lovely surprise 2. Whisk her away somewhere exciting for the weekend 3. Write a song or poem about her 4. Tell her that she is the most wonderful woman that you have ever met 5. Run her a relaxing bath after a hard day (more in the book)

It takes five instances of agreement and support to undo the harm caused by a single criticism.


To reduce eating start normally but then reduce the speed and savour every mouthful. Put chocolates in opaque jars. Use a smaller spoon. Do not allow distractions while eating. Keep a food diary. Put a mirror in the kitchen as a last minute motivation to skip a binge. To reduce drinking stick to tall, narrow glasses.

Thinking about how much you will regret not going to the gym helps to motivate. You feel less exhausted and more revitalized if running in front of a bare wall than a mirror.

Venting anger pours petrol on the fire. Punching pillows will increase agression. Instead focus on benefits that have risen from negative events underlying your anger. Write down how you have benefitted and how your life is better as a result.

Laugh at least 15 minutes each day.

To reduce heart rate and blood pressure in less than a minute go online and watch a video of a cute animal.

Find 2D:4D ratio by dividing the length of your first finger by the length of the third finger.


Pick initials without a negative association. Surnames towards the start of the alphabet are more successful. Royal associations seem successful and intelligent.

Children vary in their ability to control impulses. For those who can’t, the smaller the threat, the bigger the impact.


Keep the conscious busy to give the subconcious a chance to speak up. Prime your mind by working feverishly on a problem before resting with something completely different, especially immersion in novel ideas and experiences. Immerse yourself in novel ideas and experiences. Change perspectives and become more curious about the world. Your brain becomes too contrained if you are too serious.

Morning types are attracted to concrete thinking rather than abstract thinking and they like to rely on logic rather than intuition. Introverts and self-controlled ang eager to make a good impression on others. Evening types are the opposite.