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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 | [David McRaney]

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

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 David McRaney (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1316 )
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  •  
    Hal Huntsville, AL, USA 03-02-13
    Hal Huntsville, AL, USA 03-02-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "Enjoyed Listening Even to the Stuff I Knew Already"

    I was hesitant to purchase due to the other reviews that claimed the book to be a rehash of old material. As a fan of books on decision making and the brain, I found plenty of new material. I even enjoyed listening to the material that I heard heard before because of the way this book is organized. Each chapter is a brief discussion of a common misconception. I found the splashes of humor to be effective. Some may find the grand conclusion of the book depressing - we behave more like self absorbed pack animals than high order spiritual beings. I found it liberating. I am no so smart...but neither are most of the people around me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah 02-25-13
    deborah 02-25-13
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    1
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    "Very informative, easy to follow."
    Where does You Are Not So Smart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Presents new ways of analyzing human behavior.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Compels critical thinking and self analysis.


    Any additional comments?

    I will be listening to this multiple times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John B MILFORD, NEW JERSEY, United States 02-24-13
    John B MILFORD, NEW JERSEY, United States 02-24-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    83
    16
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    "A review for the not so smart"

    It's ironic to write a review for a book that has a section that slightly mocks reviews, but I'll do it anyway.

    This is not my first trip into a psychology book, but it is the one of the most interesting. I've heard a lot of the studies before, and at the beginning I was worried that I'd have heard every single piece of evidence that was going to be mentioned. Luckily, I was very wrong. I found many new studies and they were all told in a way that I found both entertaining and informing.

    Most psychology books are a pretty easy 4 stars with me, but the way this one was presented made me have to give it a boost above the other ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor-Vartan Bucharest, Romania 02-17-13
    Victor-Vartan Bucharest, Romania 02-17-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Umm... err... you know... like... good book"
    Would you listen to You Are Not So Smart again? Why?

    I enjoyed listening to this audio book and it sums up a lot of modern psychology ideas with examples. I came to notice some of the biases in the people around me and also some of my own. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to get a bit closer to "reality".


    What other book might you compare You Are Not So Smart to and why?

    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a really good book for that covers some of the same issues as this one, but in a more elaborate way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nadia Edmonton, AB, Canada 02-07-13
    nadia Edmonton, AB, Canada 02-07-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "If You Tell Someone Something Long Enough..."
    What did you love best about You Are Not So Smart?

    There was plenty of information that was interesting and somewhat applicable to life.


    Any additional comments?

    He said your not so smart long enough that i was starting to believe it. I didn't appreciate that. "You are.. You would.. You think..." was littered throughout the story and was worth the deduction of a star or two. If that was taken out of the story I probably would have listened to it for a second time just because the studies were mind boggling and made me well informed on the topic at hand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GS 02-02-13
    GS 02-02-13 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    184
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    46
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    "Amazing! Brilliant! Don't miss it!!!"

    This is a great book and I highly recommend buying it. There’s some great knowledge to be had here.

    David McRaney is a journalist with a psychology major and carefully dissects our mental quirks and explains how they lay us low. The book is extremely insightful in explaining these mental quirks, the why’s and the how’s. And, David is bloody good on providing a convincing argument.

    I think some people might find the title “you are not so smart” confronting. However, the book does make you eat humble pie. The bad thing and the good thing are the same though – the author doesn’t offer detailed solutions for each of the quirks (he does offer some). He does leave it up to people to come up with more detailed strategies. I would have preferred a longer book with more aspects covered on how to deal with these specific issues. Still, this is a great introductory book and a must get. It is smart and has some dry humor. I enjoyed it so much, that I emailed all my friends with to get this book.

    Don Hagen does an excellent narration of the book as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer 01-25-13
    jennifer 01-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    11
    11
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    1
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    Story
    "Interestring If Your Into This Type Of Thing"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was easy to listen to, and very interesting. It made sense, and sheds a different light into the way I think about things, or how things appear in my world. It is worth a listen you will learn something and enjoy this book. Have a listen it is a nice way to spend your time. worth a credit

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Carmichael, CA, United States 01-19-13
    john Carmichael, CA, United States 01-19-13 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself! I am a high school graduate with some college. I am 56 and have been a construction worker my whole life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Think your above average? Everyone does."
    Would you consider the audio edition of You Are Not So Smart to be better than the print version?

    I would consider the audio edition better. I can do other things at the same time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was in small segments. A perfect listening book. Even for someone above average, like me.


    What does Don Hagen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I can't sound as "wise guyish" as he dose.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The June Beetle, Super Sexers.


    Any additional comments?

    This was such a fun book to listen to, ive listen to it about ten times. It answers so many quesitons. Even ones you didnt know you had.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scottyfromco Denver, CO 01-14-13
    scottyfromco Denver, CO 01-14-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    "Wonderful read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This was a fantastic read, the narrator was great, and the book was well written. The laid back, informal tone of the book made complex psychology concepts easy to digest and understand. Great book all around.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall Allen Alamogordo, NM, US 12-20-12
    Randall Allen Alamogordo, NM, US 12-20-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    7
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    "I'm glad I read this!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Things I wish I knew before college, high school, and life.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of You Are Not So Smart?

    Conformity and The Spotlight affect


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, this is better absorb chapter by chapter to think about what you heard.


    Any additional comments?

    Finally the book I was looking for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Derrick
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    1/30/12
    Overall
    "Maybe a Little Smarter Now Than I Was Before"

    An excellent entertaining and informative listen.
    Delivered in a laid-back style that seems to really suit the material. Lots of fact mixed in with a dry sense of humour that worked well in keeping my interest throughout. While I've heard a lot of the content before, I've never heard it all in one place or with such a witty and entertaining presentation.
    Well worth the listen.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Conrad
    Mitcham, United Kingdom
    5/27/12
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    This is one of the most played books in my Audible library. In fact It is currently the MOST played book in my library. Lots of food for thought, and offers you a new way to look at yourself. YOU are not so smart.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    United Kingdom
    4/21/12
    Overall
    "I'm not so smart"

    Great book to follow the excellent blog. Essential management reading because none of us are as smart as we think we tend to think we are.
    @upfinder

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Noble
    Dorset
    2/8/12
    Overall
    "Psychology made easy (and fun)"

    The narrative was monotone so early into the book I was concerned that would make it a grind to get through. Even the humour and occasional swearing don't deviate much from the baseline. However, that was easily counter-balanced by the excellent material. The book is in bite size chunks and while I really wanted to remember the names for each term described they were soon forgotten, in most cases they are clarifiedwith an easy to understand real life example.

    I particularly liked the section on branding and definitely more aware of how we are all being played like pawns. Pespi or Coke, Apple or Microsoft. Likelihood is you are an avid fan of one, why is that? Just one of the things which the book sets off a lightbulb.

    One of the few books I'd probably go back and listen to again. I imagine as a "read" its 5 stars but just 4 from me because of the delivery.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • RA
    Bridgwater, United Kingdom
    7/19/12
    Overall
    "Outstanding,"

    I have so enjoyed this audio book the 30 odd times I have listened to it. The narration is perfectly matched to the briliant content. Whether psychology is your thing or not, listen to 15 minutes of it and you will be hooked.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Loughton, United Kingdom
    6/6/12
    Overall
    "What a great book!"

    In my view this is a great book about the way the mind works. Every chapter is packed full of interesting and amusing explanantions about how and why we human beings act the way we do. The laid-back narration by Don Hagen makes it even better. I can highly recommend this great audio book and I would add that it's one of the most fascinating I've listen to on audible after 7 years of membership.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    Haywards Heath, United Kingdom
    3/31/12
    Overall
    "Clever stuff!"

    I really enjoyed this book, well, my flawed memory tells me I did! You learn so much about why people behave the way they do ... then about half way through, the author tells you that you are the same, to the extent that all the way through you have convinced yourself that you are not like everybody else - proving that in fact, you are!!!
    Complex psychological subjects are dealt with using a minimum of jargon, so you don't need a psychology Phd to understand it. The examples are underscored with examples of past experiments on hapless subjects all delivered with a wry humour, occassionally ireverant.
    The explanations have a ring of truth resonating throughout, so that you find yourself smiling in recognition and occassionally laughing out loud.
    My only reason for a 4 out of 5 is that I would have liked some advice on how not to be quite such a moron as we, as a species, seem to be ... that said, a fascinating "read".

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Morad
    Jerusalem
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Eye opening..."

    I was never into psychology and all that social science stuff, but this book really blew my mind away, it opened my eyes to so many things we humans do but never notice, it's amazing really the book doesn't tell you something "new" but it's all things that have been happening right in front of you and you never noticed them...



    It's a great read for everyone, I highly recommend it...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    2/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Smug but fun"

    A little too smug for its own good, but fun and insightful.
    We really are a bunch of numpties...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • E
    Buckingham, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Explains a lot of things I thought but didn't know"
    Would you listen to You Are Not So Smart again? Why?

    Yes as there is so much to take in - should really listen to it in parts next and consider each idea as it's explained


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I wouldn't - happy with it as it was


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes - I really liked the narrators tone - it made it sound exciting and easy to listen to and understand.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. So much to think over it would have been a waste to have it all read in one go.


    Any additional comments?

    Very enjoyable, interesting and educating!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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