Superstitions: And Why We Have Them

USD $24.99 USD $17.49 Tax Included


Some people casually say ‘touch wood’ when they speak of something they hope will happen. Others won’t allow peacock feathers into the house. And almost anyone who finds a four-leafed clover will treasure it and keep it. Why? Some superstitions are so ancient and have been practised for so long that they have come to be regarded as just harmless and widely observed ‘customs’, without people realising they are basically superstitions.

In a book full of surprises and revelations, Max Cryer explains the origins of many of the things we commonly say and observe and why we continue to include them in our lives: kissing under the mistletoe, the unlucky number thirteen, the significance of the bridal bouquet, saying ‘bless you’ after sneezing, the hanging of a horseshoe, ‘the Scottish play’, the danger in opals, the Leap Year proposal … so many aspects of our lives are coloured by superstition.

SPECIFICATIONS: Paperback | 203 x 127 mm / 8 x 5 Inches | Incidental B&W illustrations |

Max Cryer is a well-known writer, broadcaster and entertainer. In a long career, he has been a schoolteacher, a compere and television host, as well as a performer on the opera stage in London and in cabaret in Las Vegas and Hollywood. He also has a regular spot on radio talking about aspects of the English language. Now a full-time writer living in Auckland, he has written many books, including The Cat’s Out of the Bag, Every Dog Has Its Day, Is It True?, Who Said That First?, Love Me Tender, The Godzone Dictionary, Preposterous Proverbs and Curious English Words and Phrases.

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John and Garry Podcast, May 2017
John and Garry talk to Max Cryer, author of ‘Supersitions and why we have them’. Click here to listen in.

Tasmania Times, December 2016
“The book contains explanations for many familiar superstitions but also some unfamiliar ones, for instance, Max documents how the humble window blind has its origins in Norse mythology and an acorn.” – Click here to read the interview in full.

Atlas Obscura, December 2016
Atlas Obscura have mapped out the origins of a number of superstitions across the globe. Max Cryer even gets a nod!
“Pinning down the origins of superstitions can be baffling,” Max Cryer writes in his book Superstitions: And Why We Have Them. “Unlike epigrams, quotations, proverbs and literary allusions, superstitions often grow without visible ancestry.” 

TV3, The Cafe
Max Cryer sat down with Mike and Mel to talk about his latest book Superstitions. Click below to watch Max’s segment. 


Animal Voices, Spring 2016
Animal Voices ran a double page extract of Superstitions in their Spring 2016 issue! Click the images below to have a read and also find out how to enter a Superstitions giveaway!

superstitionsanimalsvoice1superstitionsanimalsvoice2, July 2016 ran a great piece on Superstitons, which of course features author Max Cryer’s signature wit!
Read the full article here.

Superstitions featuring on

Sydney Morning Herald (Executive Style), May 2016
“Cryer’s advice is to just sit back and enjoy them”.

ABC 720 Perth, May 2016
Click below to listen to this great interview with Max Cryer!

Mature Traveller, May 2016
“One of Max Cryer’s best, and one that will be talked about in years to come!”


Open Book Society, December 2016
“I did enjoy this book and learned so much. It can be fun at times as well. I would recommend Superstitions and Why We Have Them to anyone interested in where these things come from” – Click here to read the full review.

Mature Traveller, May 2016
“One of Max Cryer’s best, and one that will be talked about in years to come!”


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