The self-help industry puts out a number of books, some more credible than others. I don’t know if anyone really believes they can think themselves thin, but books like that tend to sell. I’ve found some of them to be useful, particularly those related to meditation.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, has recently published a book that examines many self-help strategies in light of clinically proven psychology. For example, he considers the idea that you should “visualize a better you,” and notes that this is the exact opposite of what psychological studies have shown. Instead, Wiseman says that you should “visualize the steps to a better you” and do concrete goal setting.

He also takes the format of many self help books – “in just one minute, you can _______” – by creating a blog (and a book) called 59 seconds. These have advice you can follow in 59 seconds, and it’s all backed up by the psychological establishment.

The concept is interesting, and it’s definitely something I want to read more in depth. I haven’t read his book yet, and thus I can’t whole-heartedly recommend that you buy it. If you want to learn more about the concept, you can sample it by perusing his blog, watching some YouTube videos, and listening to a radio interview on NPR.

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