You Are Not So Smart
Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Del
By David McRaney
(Gotham, Paperback, 9781592407361, 320pp.)
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
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An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name.
Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us—but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.
Growing out of David McRaney’s popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them. But often these stories aren’t true. Each short chapter—covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency—is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.
Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.
A two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award, journalist David McRaney writes the blog youarenotsosmart.com. A self-described psychology nerd, he lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
"Every chapter is a welcome reminder that you are not so smart-yet you're never made to feel dumb. You Are Not So Smart is a dose of psychology research served in tasty anecdotes that will make you better understand both yourself and the rest of us. It turns out we're much more irrational than most of us think, so give yourself every advantage you can and read this book."
—Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit.com
"You Are Not So Smart is the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things."
"You'd think from the title that it might be curmudgeonly; in fact, You Are Not So Smart is quite big-hearted."
—Jason Kottke, Kottke.org
"In an Idiocracy dominated by cable TV bobbleheads, government propagandists, and corporate spinmeisters, many of us know that mass ignorance is a huge problem. Now, thanks to David McRaney's mind-blowing book, we can finally see the scientific roots of that problem. Anybody still self-aware enough to wonder why society now worships willful stupidity should read this book."
—David Sirota, author of Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now—Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything
"We're smarter after reading McRaney's book."
—The Charlotte Observer
"Even seasoned psych lovers will learn something new."
"McRaney argues, with amusing exasperation..."
—The Wall Street Journal