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You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself Hardcover – July 30, 2013


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You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself + 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 Deluding Yourself + Thinking, Fast and Slow
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; 1st Printing edition (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592408052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592408054
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for YOU ARE NOT SO SMART by David McRaney

"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. You’ll find new perspectives on your relationships with people you know, people you don’t, and even brands. 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, Co-Founder of Reddit.com)

“You Are Not So Smart is positively one of the smartest books to come by this year — no illusion there.”
(Maria Popova of Brain Pickings)

“Simply wonderful.  An engaging and useful guide to how our brilliant brains can go badly wrong.”
(Richard Wiseman, bestselling author of 59 Seconds and Quirkology)

“McRaney’s sweeping overview is like taking a Psych 101 class with a witty professor and zero homework.”
(Psychology Today)

“You Are Not So Smart [is] the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things.”
(Lifehacker.com)

“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)

“Want to get smarter quickly? Read this book”
(David Eagleman - neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the)

“A much-needed field guide to the limits of our so-called consciousness. McRaney presents a witty case for just how witless we all are.”
(William Poundstone - bestselling author of Are you Smart Enough to Work at Googl)

“Fascinating… After reading this book, you’ll never trust your brain again.”
(Alex Boese - bestselling author of Elephants on Acid and Electric Sheep)

“Deflating to a certain audience that wants to believe in exceptions, You Are Not So Smart is a tonic to the noxious sweetness of overachievement, an acknowledgment of ordinariness that glories in the quirks of being human without forcing them into a triumphant pyramid. That which cannot be overcome is a part as vital to the human experience as that impulse to try even harder to overcome nature. And if that fails, the flip side to a population crediting itself with falsely inflated powers of observation is that no one might notice if you, too, are not so smart.”
(The Onion A.V. Club)

“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, syndicated columnist, radio host and author of ���Back to Our Future)

“[The] fusion of wry prose and enlightening minilessons is what makes this book so special- page after page, readers will be laughing, learning, and looking at themselves in new ways. McRaney is a fine stylist, easily balancing anecdote, analysis, and witty asides… this book is seriously informative.”
Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“A lively look at our myriad self-delusions and how we can beat or exploit them.”
Parade
(Praise for You are Now Less Dumb) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David McRaney is a journalist and self-described psychology nerd. He has written for several publications, including The Atlantic and Psychology Today. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

More About the Author

David McRaney is a journalist who loves psychology, technology and the internet.

Before going to college, he tried waiting tables, working construction, selling leather coats, building and installing electrical control panels, and owning pet stores.

As a journalist, McRaney cut his teeth covering Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and in the Pine Belt for several newspapers. Since then he has been a beat reporter, an editor, a photographer and everything in between.

He is now employed as director of new media for a broadcast television company where he also produced a television show focusing on the music of the Deep South.

He is married to Amanda McRaney and they live in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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A well writen, fun and easy to read book.
Pablo Gonzalez Bucchi
I really love the way the book is laid out with the Misconception and then The Truth -- just like the first one.
Jarie Bolander
Have read and re-read this book, highlighted sections, dog-eared pages.
Upallnight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By D. Graves TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As one who has always been fascinated by psychology, yet not formally educated in it (beyond a few college courses) and not inclined to read dry textbooks on the subject, this book is a treat. It blends the latest research in individual and social psychology with funny anecdotes and insights into why we behave the way we do. Don't be put off by the title if it seems a bit frivolous: this is a serious, thought-provoking book (though quite humorous and entertaining, as well).

This is more or less a continuation of the author's previous book, "You Are Not So Smart", but you need not feel compelled to read the former: you don't really need to know the themes and ideas of the first book to read this one. In essence, the book shows us how knowledge and understanding of our self-delusions can be used to help us become, well, 'less dumb'. Using recent discoveries and research into behavior to help us see that we are not the objective observers of our lives we believe ourselves to be, but, rather, delusional lemmings stuck on autopilot, the author gives us 17 examples of how we fool ourselves in life.

Each example is brilliantly written and fascinating, incorporating science, funny anecdotes and trivia. But don't get the idea that this is just a whimsical 'pop psychology' book; this is a serious study of our irrational unconscious selves, yet presented in a highly entertaining way (much like how Richard Feynman could make quantum physics accessible and understandable to the average person, as Carl Sagan did with cosmology - complicated science explained in an engaging manner).

The author's central theme is that scientific method has saved - and continues to save - mankind from it's delusional dumbness.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Diogo Freire on March 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As much as I love McRaney, I was a bit disappointed to see that this is a re-edited version of "You're not so smart". As brilliant and informative as it is, I would rather not have spent the money as I already had the first book.
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36 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Peter Koziar on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book spends a lot of time saying how you're deceived, and almost no time saying how to deal with it, how to find the truth. Also, he falls prey to his own biases, especially an anti-religious bent, where plenty of examples instead abound other places (Piltdown man, anyone?). As far as he's concerned, science never gets anything wrong, but religion never gets anything right.

I think the best part of the book was the section on the "Narrative Fallacy," which helped me understand why I've been investing (sometimes unsuccessfully) the way I have been.

The worst part was probably the section on the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, which was very disorganized, and I think he got it completely wrong. The fallacy isn't about people violating the principles of the group and getting chastised (justly) for it, but, rather, someone who acts in a way that isn't considered typical for the group. For instance, "No true NRA member would campaign for bans on rifles" is not this fallacy, but saying "No true NRA member would vote democratic" would be.

The ending of the book was also a little odd. It just kind of stopped. The last chapter didn't tie things up or reach any conclusions, just dealt with another fallacy like all the rest, then it was done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary W. Matthews on May 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The good: I enjoyed reading this book. McRaney has a light, breezy style.

The bad: the book was so poorly edited that until the acknowledgements, I speculated that it hadn't been edited at all. For example, neither McRaney nor his editors has mastered the elicit/illicit and elusive/illusive distinctions, among other minor errors of syntax. McRaney's explanation of the Scotsman's Fallacy was unfocused, and his explanation of circular reasoning (petitio principii) was confusing.

The main reason I dinged two stars off this book, however, was McRaney's mini-biography of Freud, which was so poorly written that I initially thought it was a joke and kept hunting for the punch line. Now I keep wondering: what ELSE about this book should I find untrustworthy?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pandora Spox on March 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This promised to be "a course in behavioral psychology taught by a fun, clever professor… and zero homework!" (Eye-roll). It was that, I suppose, but the psychological experiments, reactions, and explanations weren't satisfying to me on the whole. They were interesting and made you think, but either it seemed obvious people would react a certain way, or what they did seemed weird and I was pretty sure I wouldn't react that way.
BUT… the author goes on to point out we rationalize and reinvent and think we're better than we are… so maybe I'm fooling myself that I'd choose more logical behaviors in an experiment or in life. Depressing thought.
He belittles the idea that anything bad that happens to us has an outcome for our greater good, saying all people have the capacity and inclination to make themselves believe that. It diminishes meaningful experiences to think I'm just naively making connections that aren't there. He goes on to say we externalize that theory to suppose some being or force is watching out for us. In the end he says we're resilient, etc., but it seems like backpeddling for the disses. It's not *that* negative, but it didn't leave me feeling enlightened… maybe a little less dumb and at the same time a little more dumb.
Also, I'm guessing the "conquer mob mentality, buy happiness, outsmart yourself" subhead was tacked on by an editor or publisher, because there's really no actionable advice to be found.
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