Thursday, March 4, 2010


Publisher's Summary. What is it about the number seven that has such a hold on us? Why are there seven deadly sins? Seven days of the week? Seven wonders of the world, seven colors of the spectrum, seven ages of man, and seven sister colleges? Why can we hold seven numbers or words in our working memory--but no more? Author Jackie Leo explores everything about this mystical, magical, useful, and fun number in her new book.


1. SEVEN is a tool to improve the quality of your life. It is a way to define time, synthesize ideas, and keep your mind performing at top speed in an era of distractions.

2. SEVEN is culturally significant. It pops up everywhere, structuring our world in ways so fundamental, we notice them only when we pause to look. Across the ages and across cultures, the number has acquired a huge scientific, psychological, and religious significance.

3. SEVEN is intriguing. Why, out of hundreds of recipes in a cookbook, do people return to the same seven, over and over? Why, when asked to choose a number between one and ten, does such a large majority of people choose seven? Why does it take seven rounds of shuffling to obtain a fully mixed deck of cards?

4. SEVEN is influential. You'll learn how the number seven shapes our thinking, our choices, and even our relationships.

5. SEVEN is practical. Throughout this book are Top Seven lists covering the best ways to get someone's attention, to build your personal brand, and to put yourself in the path of prosperity and good luck.

6. SEVEN is fun. You'll encounter surprising facts, intriguing puzzles, and hilarious anecdotes.

7. SEVEN is wise. You'll hear stories about the meaning of seven from Mehmet Oz, Sally Quinn, Liz Smith, Christina Ricci, and many others.
Artfully designed and full of enough insights to keep you engaged in conversation at the water cooler for years, SEVEN will provoke, enlighten, and amuse.

Review. According to author Jacqueline Leo, the number Seven is more than just a lucky number, it is “the brain’s natural shepherd, herding vast amounts of information into manageable chunks.” That is, “seven digits, letters, words or other elements” are the approximate short term memory limit for the human brain.

Armed with this insight into the biological underpinnings of Seven’s popularity, Leo traces the number Seven throughout society. Each chapter analyzes the referenced topic through the prism of Seven. Before reading Seven I had no idea of the impact of the number Seven. From holding the keys to happiness (according to Confucius there are seven ways to a good life: “love and be loved; participate in your community; work hard: have fun; respect your body: seek knowledge: and be responsible”) to setting the natural limits of acquisition (for instance the average cookbook buyer only uses an average of 7 out 1,000 recipes); Seven holds the key.

Seven is an interesting book that would have made a great magazine article, but is a bit tedious as a full fledged book. Then again I think if I had read Seven in snippets, as each chapter is self contained, rather than all at once I would have enjoyed it better. Still thanks to Leo I have a new found respect for the number Seven.

Publisher: Twelve (December 7, 2009), 272 pages.
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.


  1. 7 really means this? I never knew, from how I was raised, number 3, 6, 8, 9 are the numbers that mean all that.... By the way, my book is giving away free books and free jewelry to book lovers, please feel free to participate.

  2. Great review. I found out about 7 from your blog I look forward to reading it as it is my favourite number, I didn't even realise all the meanings.

  3. So that is what seven means - mm shame my favourite number is three and all its multiples!