There are now thousands of self-improvement books out there, many of them just repeating the same ideas. This book stands out as taking the opposite point of view: you can change your thinking (your self-beliefs, emotions etc.) by first changing your life (your behaviour)! For example, many companies make most of their profits from a minority of their customers, only a minority of your clothes get worn a lot, only a minority of music tracks and movies get bought or seen by the majority of the audience. Most of the advise centres around the golden rule of treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself. Our subconscious minds seem to a€?speaka€™ in the language of visual images more than words. The book is not about increasing intelligence per se, more about teaching you a range of a€?tricksa€™ or skills which will make people assume you are highly intelligent!
We all have a feeling that life often becomes too a€?robotica€™ and feels futile, whilst moments of intense happiness or aliveness show us that it doesna€™t have to be this way, but they are too rare. The author observed that some people find it very difficult to learn to draw, whilst others can pick it up rather quickly. Wiseman presents evidence from a whole range of studies that show by first acting a€?as ifa€™ you are happy, confident etc.


There seems to be a peculiar type of a€?cosmological gravitya€™ at work in nature that makes similar activities a€?clump togethera€™ in space and time. Seeing things from the other persona€™s perspective, and treating their ideas with respect helps you become more influential with people and better able to communicate your ideas to them. When we close our eyes and relax, we often start to see brief glimpses of visual imagery, these are produced by your subconscious mind.
These include: how to memorise a pack of cards, how to name the day of the week for any given date, how to win at Blackjack, get into Mensa and calculate square roots.
She also observed that students could often draw something better when it was positioned upside down rather than the correct way up!
The corollary of this for self-improvement is that its highly likely that there are a small number of techniques or changes you could adopt which would have a disproportionately large positive effect on your life.
I listened to a really great interview with one of the authors (Mark McKergow) which summaries the content of the book, and I had a much easier time in following his spoken description than I did in getting engaged by the text of the book.
This was because their perceptions of what the thing was werena€™t getting in the way of their drawing. The basic idea is called a€?solutions focused brief therapya€™, and is based on the idea of ignoring problems and only focusing on solutions.


The more we focus on something, the more we can strengthen our own conscious energy, and the richer our perceptions become. This starts a positive feedback cycle: the richer are our sensory perceptions of the world, the more engaged and energised we become.
Edwards draws on research from the world of neuroscience to distinguish between two ways our brains have of perceiving the world: one based on linear structures in time, and one based on patterned structures in space. It is the latter that we need to flip into when drawing, and as soon as a person can make that perceptual flip, learning to draw becomes comparably easy. Firstly, you need to learn to generate imagery that ita€™s bold, clear and long-lasting enough to see. This is a bit like dream-interpretation: the images arena€™t always literal (although they can be) and are more often allegorical or symbolic.




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