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You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, an d 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself Paperback – November 6, 2012
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"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, Co-Founder of Reddit.com
"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
"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
About the Author
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.
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Listening to You Are Not So Smart is a great way to discover some of most common ways we naively delude ourselves into taking our imperfect interpretations of ourselves and other people. David McRaney's sarcastic sense of humor makes it a bit easier to swallow the bitter pills he asks us to swallow.
I didn't connect with the professional narrator. I wish the author had decided to read it himself, but that tends to be my personal preference. If you find this to be the case, too, you might want to opt to read this one instead of listening to it.
I would also recommend doling these lessons out over time instead of plowing straight through. Cracking personal illusions can be empowering in the long run, but dismantling too many of them at the same time felt a bit too vulnerable. It would also been helpful to get more specific strategies to compensate for the blind spots that are exposed.
I think the book is intended to kick off the exploration, however, and I look forward to discovering more of the author's insights and ideas by visiting his blog.
Where the book really faulters is in being too prescriptive in almost every chapter. I presume people can draw their own varying lessons from each of the chapters. Why the need to go all "thou shalt"?!
Overall, a very good read, if one can ignore author's closing advice in most chapters.
PS: the title of the book got me to read it, but it's also what's keeping me from gifting it to anyone!
Then it was a moment of epiphany, as a sudden comforting sense of humbleness engulfed me. We are inherently evolving souls who are in a constant flux of change. This humbleness implies three life-changing lessons:
1- No matter how strong your beliefs or opinions are, hold them weakly, and take them with a grain of salt. You do not know which biases you are succumbing to.
2- Scientific methods are the only available tool so far to make distinction between facts and delusions. One caveat here: science is continuous process to figure out natural phenomena, so do not use it in reductionist way, not seeing the forest for the trees. It is all about engaging in the scientific discovery journey.
3- Historically speaking, dogmas, rituals, supernatural beliefs, religions, and the like have played critical roles in our development and emergence as human beings. Although no ideology must be immune to critique, no matter how sacred or holy it is in the view of the followers. Viewing these in the context of human mind biases endows us a more balanced and a more human-centered perspective. This is the anthropologist viewpoint that gives us a sense of our shared human existence and the belonging to the same boat.
There is a pretty decent bibliography, but I don't see any footnotes anywhere, and I sure would of liked that in a printed book. However, if you like the new brain psychology books – this book is decently well written and meant to be mildly entertaining – which I don't consider a fault.
Not a bad book. And there are lots of bad books on brain psychology.