The As If Principle

The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

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About The Book

From a bestselling author and the most-followed psychologist on Twitter, this “intriguing new slant to personal transformation” (Kirkus Reviews) shows you how to take control of your life in an instant.

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 nondominant 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.

About The Author
Photograph by Antje M. Pohsegger

Richard Wiseman currently holds Britain’s only professorship in the area of public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, where he has gained an international reputation for research into luck, perception, belief, and the science of self-help. He has written four bestselling books that have been translated into more than thirty languages: The Luck Factor, Quirkology, 59 Seconds, and Paranormality. He lives in London.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 2014)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451675061

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Raves and Reviews

“'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.”

– Kirkus

"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 . . . A convincing argument for the power of action."

– Publishers Weekly

"Wiseman's The As If Principle explains how to instantly take control of your emotions. Whether it's quitting a bad habit, persevering through a difficult task or achieving your dream self, you can make it happen."

– AskMen.com

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