Top critical review
Enjoyable but ultimately unfulfilling
Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2013
I think this book suffers something of an identity crisis. It wants to be science writing (in the style of Carl Zimmer or [Mary Roach), it wants to be pop psychology (like Malcolm Gladwell), and it wants to be a self-help book. It can't do all three successfully at the same time, so it ends up falling short.
Unfortunately, Manejwala isn't funny like Roach or entertaining like Gladwell. His big reveals all start with "Amazingly..." and end with an exclamation point and, really, aren't that amazing to begin with.
I thought the book was well-written, well-researched, and enjoyable, but I've read quite a bit of this genre and would recommend Charles Duhigg or Daniel Kahneman over Manejwala. Duhigg and Kahneman weren't trying to write self-help books, but they did cover very similar material (habits and cognitive dissonance respectively).
I can't speak to this book's effectiveness as a self-help book (I haven't read many self-help books myself), but I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.
Received through 12books.