You Are Not So Smart

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

Book - 2011
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An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework.

Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday, including:

Dunbar's Number - Humans evolved to live in bands of roughly 150 individuals, the brain cannot handle more than that number. If you have more than 150 Facebook friends, they are surely not all real friends. Hindsight bias - When we learn something new, we reassure ourselves that we knew it all along. Confirmation bias - Our brains resist new ideas, instead paying attention only to findings that reinforce our preconceived notions. Brand loyalty - We reach for the same brand not because we trust its quality but because we want to reassure ourselves that we made a smart choice the last time we bought it.

Packed with interesting sidebars and quick guides on cognition and common fallacies, You Are Not So Smart is a fascinating synthesis of cutting-edge psychology research to turn our minds inside out.

Publisher: New York : Dutton, [2011]
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781592406593
Branch Call Number: 158 McRa
Characteristics: xvi, 302 pages
Additional Contributors: McRaney, David


From the critics

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Jul 27, 2019

The book introduces us to many fallacies that we all fall into. Good read to make you aware of what we think is rational is really not.

Sep 09, 2018

I heartily agree with the previous comments and I am also going to purchase this book. Really well done and informative and often times humorous.

Dec 30, 2016

read up to page 190

Aug 26, 2016

This is a fantastic book on argument and reasoning fallacies.

Jul 03, 2016

You should read this book. If you can't read, you should get someone to read it to you. If you can't speak English, you should get someone to translate it for you. And why? Why such a universal recommendation? Because it's about us. All of us. Before you get upset at the rudeness of the title, please understand that he means NONE of us are so smart. Our brains work in complicated and confusing ways, none of us are above that, and he's seeking here to shine a light on how we work. It's a psychology text, but its light, and accessible, and the chapters are short. 49 quick chapters about things like memory, illusion, advertising, all sorts of stuff. So, you know, you're a person, with free will, you can do as you choose. But I strongly recommend you read this book. It won't cure you of all your faults and foibles, but it might just help you see a bit more clearly how you work, how we all work, and how we're all in this together.

Nov 28, 2015

You Are Not So Smart --- by --- David McRaney

What an odd, curious book with an intriguing title and an amateurish looking cover. But don’t let those put you off. This little book is both informative and entertaining at the same time. This is no long, drawn out and drowsy book to keep at bedside to help you sleep. Rather this offering is divided into snappy, manageable sections (they’re hardly big enough to be called chapters) that could almost be the basis for a TV game show or a home parlour game.
Author McRaney is a self-styled psychology nerd so you can imagine what “Not So Smart” has in store for you: You Are One Person and Your Happiness is Based on Your Being Content; You See Everything Going on Before You Eyes, Taking In All the Information Like a Camera; and Problems are Easier to Solve When a Group of People Get Together to Solve Them. McRaney demolishes these commonly held notions as he does the others in this book.
Fun to read, accessible, this book is bound to bring your face a smile as you find your own beliefs debunked.

Jul 03, 2014

Very very interesting. I learned a lot about not just myself, but also people in general. Some of the time I found I actually *am* so smart (eg, I couldn't care less what a bottle of wine costs - I just want to like the taste myself) - other times I thought, "Whoa - who knew that?! Better watch out for that!" (eg Extinction Bursts - what a wonderful phrase :o) Definitely heightened my awareness of what's behind some human behaviours. Liked this so much, I'm going to buy it for my personal library.

ChristchurchLib May 12, 2014

"The award-winning creator of the blog by the same name presents a lighthearted tour of the self-deluding belief systems that cause people to feel undue confidence in their intelligence, explaining how delusions are part of a complex psychological defense system while identifying dozens of common misconceptions in such areas as caffeine withdrawal, hindsight and brand loyalty." Popular Culture May 2014 newsletter

JewelMcLatchy Jan 29, 2014

You will find yourself agreeing in parts, disagreeing in others, and then you will come to the stark realization that no, you really are not so smart after all, but it's ok because neither is anyone else. Do not mistake this for a quick and easy read just because the title is humorous. A lot of thought and research went into this book and while it does read like an intro to psychology primer, it is worth taking the time to re-read certain passages to make sure the meaning has fully sunk in. Agree with the comment below that says it would be worth purchasing a personal copy. Will (hopefully) make you question your decision-making process, your perceptions, and force you to become smarter than you are, which honestly shouldn't be too complicated because, afterall, you are not so smart!

brendancarlson Jul 11, 2013

It's so good, it's actually worth purchasing and using for future reference.

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