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:
©2011 David McRaney (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp
"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)
If you are a narcissistic, self deluded, douchebag, this might be for you. Because that is what this book claims every human being is.
Summary... "you think you are smart and that other people idolize you. You think the world revolves around you and that all other human beings are morons. You are wrong. Only the author of this book is that smart. Not you." This book is simply that message repeated about 100 times in different words.
So unless you really want to take a hard look at what makes us all "tick", and would prefer to see the world through the same lens you've always used, don't buy this book. If, however, you'd like some fresh insights on how you form opinions, make decisions, and develop ideas, this is the book for you! I enjoyed it cover to cover. Uniquely insightful! Entertaining to boot! 2 Thumbs Up!
This is an intriguing book, but the choice of reader is completely off-base.
The voice of the author is a youthful one; one that inserts silly and somewhat snarky remarks here and there. The reader, however, delivers everything in a flat, humorless monotone. The humor and wit of the book are, as a result, lost.
This started a little slow for me, but it picked up quickly. There were some interesting psychology principles presented in an easy to understand manner; some of them I was familiar with from undergrad and life, and some were surprising (yet made perfect sense once explained).
I have to say that the narration was very good. I was highly amused because the author uses the word "asshole" or expressions like "you are not the shit" sporadically. It came far and few between enough so that I chuckled each time. The narrator has this very cultured, proper voice, and that is how I picture him. When he calmly reads "you are not the shit" in the same tone as the rest of the book, it really is quite funny (or I just have a strange sense of humor, which is also quite possible).
There were some logic games that were fun to do. I also enjoyed the exposure of the logical fallacies that we all (yes, ALL of us) commit. Even your feeling of "I would never fall for that" is not as unique as you think!
Some of the chapters I enjoyed the most involved the memory and how false memories are created. I had the image that he described of memories being retrieved like files on a disc; however, that is not true. We reconstruct memories based on experiences and the author shows how false memories are created. I also really like the chapter about egocentrism and how you feel that everyone is noticing you - the big zit on your forehead, your new haircut, new outfit, etc. In reality, that is not the case and people are too busy focusing on themselves to focus on you as much as you think. There was a bit about catharsis that I can apply to may daily commute to work. The author explains how you feel good after making a rude gesture to someone after you are cut off in traffic. However, this does not get rid of the negative emotions that the cutting off evokes; what it does do is provide a cathartic effect so it feels good to you. In turn, you seek out that feeling again. Hm, that would explain why I find the need to use "sign language" so often as I drive to and from work!
I'm sure that most people will have different chapters that they feel are interesting or pertinent to them, but there is enough in this book that I think many people will find several interesting areas.
I love the chapter on hypochondria and how a hypochondriac uses the excuse of not feeling well to avoid projects that feel overwhelming to them or so that they avoid failure. The author also explains how the self-fulfilling prophecy works and how you can talk yourself into things. On that note, I need to end this review now......suddenly, I'm not feeling well.
Most of these things are, well, not to say rehashed, but somewhat of a collection of familiar stories. It's pop sociology/psychology, for sure - but I'm giving it four stars because it's well-written and organized, and, as collections go, it's fun and informative to read.
I could give this man a hug for writing this book. Our world would be a better place if we all recognized our limitations as humans, and tried to overcome our own nature to improve our world.
The narration is gold! A rich and smooth tone with good modulation and cadence. So very easy to listen to and understand.
This is a great book that gets you thinking about thinking, it's broken up into bite size chunks which makes it easy to digest. Each topic is laid out in a similar format so it's easy to follow.
This guy is the king of narrators. Rich, smooth voice. Very easy listening.
No, i listen to it on my commute and it's broken up perfectly for that.
Can't wait to start this authors next book.
I had already heard some of things in this book, and some of it I flat out don't believe. the studies mentioned in the book sound like they were performed on mostly idiots. I truly do not believe most people are this stupid, and if they are I am scared.
Todd W. Brown
It takes a little getting used to as the studies are listed and the myths about your normal thought process are systematically dismantled. And I imagine a lot of people are going to become a bit uncomfortable hearing some of the things that we do in our heads all the time, everyday, but this can really be a great book to launch a change in cognitive thought.
I already have a few areas that I am trying to really focus on right now, and I will likely return to this book over the next year or two as I try to self-improve how I approach things in life that I often come at with my biased lens and misconceptions.
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.
"Interesting and accessible psychology"
This books deals with aspects of the way we make sense of things and does so without saying "cognitive psychology" too often. We all live in our own heads and so understanding how and why we simplify, distort and just generally make things up is both informative and entertaining. At the end of this book you may never see advertising quite the same way again and it may even have you doubting your own memory (hint: all memory is a construct and not very reliable)
I really enjoyed is book and it's short chapters make for great short snippets while driving/commuting.
"I loved this book"
At least I think I did!
This book makes you question everything you think and even how you think. Presented in a very entertaining way, it uses research and evidence to back up and explain every point brilliantly. The narration was wickedly dry and humourous. It will challenge and some people might find that too difficult but if you allow yourself to look at your own behaviour with the knowledge from this book, you might just laugh at what you see. Fantastic listen, highly recommended.
The title and synopsis sounded so interesting, but the further I got through it, the more I resent having lost hours of listening to this book.
Initially the book's premise is interesting, however the further you progress the more you realise that there's a good reason that people in general don't notice these subtle flaws in human nature -- because its easier to progress through life not beleiving you are as selfish, egocentric and predictable as everyone else.
Sadly Don Hagen's narration is monotonous and uninspiring as the book. My main critism is that the author glosses over good nature and avoids giving recommendations to become better people - which seems like a missed opportunity in such a negative book.
My advice: Go read a cheerful book full of escapism and good nature instead. You might be less enlightened, but you'll feel better for it.
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