A bit like speed dating, just replace the Hunks and/or Hotties with general psych topics centered on self-delusion. The voicing is witty and casual and reads like a somewhat snarky friend who is done taking crap from his co-workers. Chapters are brief and feel more like blog entries than science writing, approaching their topics with sufficient information to communicate the colors and contours of each concept but never getting grittily into details. This makes the book great as a (VERY) quick survey of self-delusion for those who have a slight or budding interest, but less than great for those already familiar with the scientific treatment of self-delusions and who might be interested in a more in-depth treatment. Little to no effort is made to prove points, and much of the information is presented in a "well, just believe me" kind of casual style. This is perhaps frustrating in light of the fact that ALL of the phenomena covered by the book are very well-evidenced in the psychology literature and are grounded on far firmer footing than McRaney makes them seem. With this considered, perhaps YOU ARE NOT SO SMART is best evaluated as Gateway Reading, with its merit lying more in pulling psychological phenomena into public awareness than in explaining or exploring them in any sordid detail.
I've read books like this before but written by the scientists or researchers. David McRaney however is a journalist and therefore makes conveys the information faster, in a more entertaining manner, and in a way that is easier to absorb. In other words he doesn't go on and on detailing experiments, their shortcomings, and so on. He also often talks in the language on a common man, cuss words and all, which drive home the points and makes them easy to relate to. Great fun but sometimes a bit depressing to know how dumb I am. Of course there is the famous saying that goes... "The more I know, the more I know I don't know". Loved it
The tone is smug, the analysis superficial, and the research the book references is all retread material from Lehrer, Gladwell and Ariely. McRaney brings absolutely nothing new to the table; not even the insights he gleans from the research is new. McRaney appears to have read the same books we have, and then just rewrapped the material in a smug package. No, thanks.
Stick with the real thing and pass on this; I wish I had.
I really enjoyed this book. Each chapter discusses some condition, brain quirk or tendency we all share, and makes us all, "Not So Smart". There's a new show on National Geographic Channel that touches on many of the same topics you can find in this book. If your interested in such things, or just want a book to point out that you aren't nearly as smart as you think you are, (and who doesn't love that), this is definitely worth the read.
Read like a list of hypotheses, that I had no interest in ... or any reason to be. I kept hoping for the "list" to stop, so that the author would provide me with a reason to find any of it layperson compelling.. I couldn't make it through this one. I'm sure,however, a textbook read like this will be of value to some. The title and packaging drew me in (brilliant marketing), but was left yawning.
It has such interesting insights into why we do what we do, which is often different from what is popular belief. Every idea is backed up by an experimental study which has results that are counter-intuitive, or at least interesting. Highly recommend this one!!
A different narrator. Don Hagan almost put me to sleep with his lackluster voice. As far as the content, I found some of the information enlightening. But after about 45 minutes of listening, I couldn't go any further and will not finish the audiobook. It was a waste of my money. Sorry...
Dick Hill would have been much better!
I love learning, teaching, and exploring!
I enjoyed listening to this book. It was fun hearing about the many ways our memories fail us and the studies that support these findings. There were 40+ different psychological effects. Each started with a misconception about how we perceive our memories and the world, followed by the reality. Then the author went into detail about the scientific studies and findings. I liked this format of organization, although in some examples I was hoping for more detail.
One small organizational suggestion would be to group similar effects into categories. I'm having a hard time recalling all 40+ effects, although I can recall the general scope of the book. I think categories would have made the information easier to record and recall.
Overall, it was a fun listen! The narrator sounded familiar even though I don't think I've listened to him before. It was well done.
I loved this book. McRaney has covered some very useful areas of recent research on the brain and how it can make "us" feel like we are in control, when in fact we are highly pre-disposed to certain kinds of behavior and thought processes. It is often very amusing and certainly never dull. I find myself often referring to it in conversations because it provides so many good illustrations of the way in which our perception/thinking is flawed and/or foretold by our evolutionary development. I can't wait for his next book.
A book that summarizes a great deal of recent research into how we think. It points out the shortcuts our brain takes in perception and memory.
The examples it gives do make you question yourself and some of your own actions... but that is a good thing (right??).