Title: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty
Author: Dan Ariely
Number of pages: 336
Genre: psychology, non-fiction
Book Number/Goal: 48/52
My Rating: 4/5

The author, a professor of psychology, explains why the majority of good & honest people lie and cheat under many different circumstances. (Apparently the social factors dramatically influence people's behavior, even when they're not consciously aware of it.) He shares results of his research, with detailed descriptions of the experiments, along with the ideas how to decrease cheating in various situations.

The book is written in easy but non-condescending language; the inevitable anecdotes from the author's biography are well placed and do not overshadow the main content. It's not only educational but amusing read.
Title: Reality Transurfing 1: The Space of Variations
Author: Vadim Zeland
Number of pages: 182
Genre: non-fiction, psychology, esoterics
Book Number/Goal: 26/52
My Rating: 1/5

Make your wishes come true - not by changing yourself or the world, but by navigating to another version of reality where you are already successful. The book presents the model of reality composed of infinite number of possibilities existing simultaneously in the space-time continuum, where it's possible to change your fate only by the power of thought. However, it doesn't mean "wishing for success", because there is the law of balance which sabotages every intention as long as you consider it important. In particular, you attract everything you hate or despise, and repel everything you strongly desire. Besides, the world is populated with malicious energy-devouring entities called "pendulums", which arise from human activity but exist for their own sake (such as, every organization and every popular idea is a pendulum). These should be avoided, or at least not taken seriously.

This book is a hybrid of The Secret and Taoism. It claims that a certain way of thinking allows to achieve everything you wish for, but the approach is ripe with contradictions. What's the use of success anyway if you're not allowed to "really" want anything? The theory is supposed to be taken on faith, as there is no proof save for primitive analogies. It sounds kind of scientific and doesn't appeal to any higher force, but unlike religious and occult systems, it has no aesthetical or emotional benefits. The book doesn't include any practical techniques either, though maybe they're presented in the sequels (there's at least 5 books in the series).

There are some interesting concepts, such as love and hate being basically the same thing from the energy point of view. But as a whole, it's just another New Age nonsense.
Title: The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success
Author: Kevin Dutton
Number of pages: 288
Genre: non-fiction, psychology
Book Number/Goal: 22/52
My Rating: 4/5

The author analyses character traits commonly found in psychopathic criminals, and shows that these traits are favorable for succeeding in other, non-criminal, activities, and in fact, are found in many successful people (in which case, the term "psychopath" is probably misleading). He doesn't glorify crime or mental disorder but rather, argues that "psychopaths" have certain talents that everyone would benefit from learning. He calls them "seven deadly wins": ruthlessness, charm, focus, mental toughness, fearlessness, mindfulness, action.

The book includes interviews with psychopathic patients in a mental hospital/research center, results of psychological experiments, and examples from the lives of famous killers. Sometimes the style is too technical and sometimes too informal, but overall it's amusing and insightful, although not really helpful, because the author just conveys the information but doesn't teach the reader how to become a psychopath - and after reading the book, it starts to feel like a really good idea!

In the words of one of the patients, "The problem with a lot of people is that what they think is a virtue is actually a vice in disguise. It's much easier to convince yourself that you're reasonable and civilised, than soft and weak, isn't it?"


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