Pros: Fun and insightful
Cons: You have to like pop psychology to enjoy the book and game
When I first saw this little yellow book at the local Book Outlet, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Kokology. The book cover provided a definition for me. Kokology 2 offers, all new psychological games designed to reveal your hidden attitudes about sex, family, love, work, and more. Did I mention that I was perusing the Book Outlet with a co-worker on our lunch break? I mention this now because after I purchased Kokology 2, I spent the remainder of the day playing this game between appointments and short breaks with the rest of my co-workers. Everyone at my workplace became hooked on taking the short, revealing, and sometimes funny, quizzes.
The Practice of Kokology
Kokology 2 includes 50 different psychological quizzes in the form of short scenarios with multiple choice answers. After you choose your response, a turn of the page will take you to the part where the response choices are explained. The quizzes are a step up from the Cosmopolitan quizzes I used to look forward to, but not overloaded with psycho-jargon. They are meant to be psychological quizzes, though, so some of the quizzes do dive pretty deep into your mind.
Authors, Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito start with an introduction about Kokology and its history before the section that contains the quizzes. The information that they provide should be interesting and helpful for anyone unfamiliar with Kokology. Apparently, Kokology was initially developed to bring Western psychological ideas over to Japan.
The book is actually a game. I have taken the quizzes with groups of friends and co-workers and by myself. There are advantages to both. If you are looking for a good game to play with friends who enjoy a little psychological discovery and good conversation, this book can be a party in itself. Sharing answers with others also helps to reveal more about ourselves, so the book can also work as a getting to know you better, deeper, or at another level icebreaker. Play with friends that you can laugh with. When I have taken the quizzes alone, I still wanted to share the quiz results with someone, but the fear of not knowing what your answer might say about you might inhibit some people.
What Exactly Does a Kokologist Do Again?
If you play the quiz games in the book, you will be considered a budding Kokologist. Author, Tadahiko Nagao, defines Kokology in an interesting way, Its kind of like a Rorschach test that uses words instead of pictures. In essence, the quizzes help to find hidden meanings, feelings, and thoughts that we may not have been aware of. The game is played by taking the quizzes and possibly discussing the responses with other players. The quizzes are great for promoting long discussions over surprising response meanings.
Each quiz is unique, with a different scenario to read and respond to. The authors offer a section with eight tips for playing Kokology at the beginning of the book. One of the tips includes the suggestion to not read the quiz until you are ready to play the game. This tip crosses over with the tip to give your first thought as your answer. Reading ahead will not be helpful if you want to take the quizzes and get honest answers. With that in mind, I will try to describe one of the quizzes without ruining the fun for potential readers.
*****SKIP the NEXT PARAGRAPH if you DO NOT WANT TO SEE A QUIZ QUESTION EXAMPLE****
Star Material is a quiz that provides the scenario that you are a manager of a hot new band that seems to have everything going for it except the record sales. The scenario asks that you explain why this group with so much potential is not selling records at the rate that they should be able to. A few more details are provided in the scenario, but the general idea is to respond and answer why this is happening. The interpretations of responses are quite interesting. This example is fairly representative of the type of quizzes in Kokology 2.
What Do I Think About Kokology 2?
I think I better answer that question with my first response. I love this little book and have had some good times taking the quizzes with my closest friends and co-workers. There were quizzes that I liked better than others and a few that seemed a little simple. Overall, the quizzes seemed to provide some entertainment and insight, just to different degrees of both. I do not know of any other book that offers this type of psychological game aside from the first Kokology book by the same authors. I did not read Kokology 1 but I am going to look for it online so I can take more of these little quizzes.
My guess is that some people would really enjoy this book and others would shun it as an irrational thought. People tend to fall on both ends of the spectrum with psychology and the idea of a game revealing hidden thoughts and feelings. Rational minds may want to pass this book by, but those that are at least half-way between pure science and pure entertainment, Kokology 2 can be fun in the least and insightful at best.
Last Lingering Thought
I wondered what I would do after I had completed all 50 quizzes. My experience has answered that question for me. I bought this book 2 years ago and initially went through the book at a rather fast pace, leaving a few quizzes unread to play at later meetings with my co-workers (who were also considered friends). After that I had to shelve it until I forgot my responses. The book is fun to play with new groups of friends to keep the game fresh, so that was another way that I made use of the book after the first reading. I plan to take the book to our next family gathering to try the game in the uncharted territory of playing with relatives.
Format: Paperback, 172 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 01, 2001)
Measurements: 7"(h) x 5"(w) x 0.5"(d), 0.35 lbs.