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)
In the beginning the examples were better because he talked about logical flaws. Later the examples were more about observational flaws, and seemed more for little kids.
I feel torn about this book.
Every living organism with a human brain needs to read this book. If we were all more aware of our heuristics, it would be a win for the human race. There is scarcely a more important subject for the masses to digest and understand. It would certainly help us communicate with one another in more effective ways. I loved examining at all of my faulty wiring. This book is especially great for people capable of self-reflection. I always think of the adage, the brain is the most outstanding organ in the world.... according to the brain. It is really fun to think about how flawed every single brain is, regardless of how educated a brain can be.
I feel shock, utter shock, that someone who wrote an entire book about critical thinking is often, too often, not capable of critical thought. Some of the studies McRaney included were incredible. Some were not. Regardless of the study's methods, McRaney seemed wholly unaware of the potential problems with various studies (are you measuring what you think you are measuring, are the methods of the study sound, etc). He failed to even raise a red flag for David Buss' studies that look at current behaviors and very probably create just so stories about evolution. Zimbardo was one of the most unethical researchers and his methods were extremely flawed, which make his findings flawed. Yet, McRaney seems captivated by both Buss and Zimbardo; so much so, that he cannot even include a few words of caution. I do not know what to say about that, except it makes me sad. I loved his book so much, but his failure to understand the many heuristics that aided people like Buss, Zimbardo, and others to reach their conclusions really affected the credibility of his book. It is absolutely necessary to include these heuristics in a book about heuristics.
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Really enjoyed this...learned SO much about myself and everyone else. Everyone should listen to this one. Excellent narration.
You are not so smart is a collection of interesting articles from the podcast of the same name. The books material is very interesting however, presented one right after the other it becomes a series of short monologues and quickly starts to feel very very dry and and less interesting than the topics themselves warrant. This would make a great bathroom book, one that you digest in small bites over a long period of time but misses its mark in the audio format when you're listening for long stretches.
Say something about yourself!
I liked the book but it was not really a story. It is more of a list of things we presume about ourselves that do not necessarily square with reality.
The amount of useful information exists I actually look forward to listening to the book again. Humor coupled with facts is a cogent way to present. Freaking loved it. Explains behavior so that you say "ah ha".... That explains it!
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