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
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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

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by David McRaney
     
 

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An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name. 

Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so

Overview

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name. 

Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us—but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

Growing out of David McRaney’s popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them. But often these stories aren’t true. Each short chapter—covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency—is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.

Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McRaney, a Hattiesburg, Miss., resident and two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award, writes simplified descriptions of psychology experiments on his blog youarenotsosmart.com. He soon found success, receiving between 17,000 to 25,000 hits a day with 6,000 subscribers to the site’s RSS feed. Now McRaney’s past blog posts resurface in this collection, which he describes as “a compendium of information about self-delusion and the wonderful ways we succumb to it.” The format first presents “The Misconception” (“You are a strong individual who doesn’t conform unless forced to”) and “The Truth” (“It takes little more than an authority figure or social pressure to get you to obey, because conformity is a survival instinct”). The “Conformity” chapter describes how hoax phone calls convinced fast-food managers to strip-search employees, followed by the famous Stanley Milgram obedience experiment in which unsuspecting subjects delivered electric shocks to a screaming actor. Other brief essays cover quitting an addiction cold turkey, first impressions, behavior as a reflection of personality, blind taste tests, and self-fulfilling prophecies. In popularizing these experiments, extracted from psychology books and journals, McRaney is poised to follow in the footsteps of folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, who also mined academic publications when he popularized urban legends in a series of books. (Nov. 1)
Lifehacker.com
You Are Not So Smart is the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things.
-Alexis Ohanian
"Every chapter is a welcome reminder that you are not so smart-yet you're never made to feel dumb. You Are Not So Smart is a dose of psychology research served in tasty anecdotes that will make you better understand both yourself and the rest of us. It turns out we're much more irrational than most of us think, so give yourself every advantage you can and read this book."
-Lifehacker.com
"You Are Not So Smart is the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things."
-Jason Kottke
"You'd think from the title that it might be curmudgeonly; in fact, You Are Not So Smart is quite big-hearted."
From the Publisher
"Every chapter is a welcome reminder that you are not so smart-yet you're never made to feel dumb. You Are Not So Smart is a dose of psychology research served in tasty anecdotes that will make you better understand both yourself and the rest of us. It turns out we're much more irrational than most of us think, so give yourself every advantage you can and read this book." - Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit.com

"You Are Not So Smart is the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things." - Lifehacker.com

"You'd think from the title that it might be curmudgeonly; in fact, You Are Not So Smart is quite big-hearted." - Jason Kottke, Kottke.org

"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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592407361
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
81,093
Product dimensions:
4.97(w) x 7.42(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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

Meet the Author

A two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award, journalist David McRaney writes the blog youarenotsosmart.com. A self-described psychology nerd, he lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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You Are Not So Smart 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 29 reviews.
George_D68 More than 1 year ago
Without getting too deep into the book McRaney covers a lot of information in short tidy chapters. Some may think his explanations are a bit short on some subjects but I think the books purpose is to make you realize you have a lot of built in or developed biases in your thought processes. Further study can be in the notes in the back of the book. Would definitely recommend it as a beginning read and then follow up with with whatever you are more interested in from the bibliography.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad I bought this book. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. The author explains everything in ways that make you remember what he talks about, and applies it to situations you can understand. Very entertaining, interesting, and great conversation starters .
punctuation More than 1 year ago
An excellent book which had been recommended to me by a fellow software designer. If you're interested in an overview of how we behave in ways we don't always perceive then this book is jam-packed with anecdotes and examples of experiments and research into thinking and behavior without being too stuffy or scientific. Useful for all sorts of readers from those with an academic interest to folk simply wanting to delight in reading such oddities as why you should never sit in a room with a briefcase and a big office desk when trying to negotiate a better deal from a supplier. No...really. Great stuff - definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good size chapters that will drive some humbleness into life. I often had to quit reading from time to time for a little self reflection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting and entertaining. Some of the chapters dealt with common issues like learned helplessness or priming but it was still fun to read. The book is written well and reviews a lot of social psychology principles and research. I only wish i had enough focus to remember and effectively use these ideas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a good book overall and I enjoyed it, but what annoyed me was his lack of exact information. He would use vague statistics like "people would react [in this way] somewhat more often." It was a good book but would be better if it was  backed up with exact information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun review of the current studies of human behavioral science.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading about psychology, behavior, and social science but a lot of the books I read use more complex and advanced terminology. That's fine and all but it gets old when you're just trying to read for entertainment. This book is informative without being wordy or complex and it even has a refreshing touch of humor. I've found a new favorite book for sure!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth the money! A deep look into the real world we live in and telling us why we do what we do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Resourceful, humorous, and meaningful. Nicely organized into chapters with a different topic. Does not make the audience feel totally stupid, rather McRaney points out the delusions, explains, ensures the everyone is just most likely thinking of the same thing, and offers advice on how to improve. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this on my Nook and now want to buy it in paperback to use it as a reference. I will be thinking about the information and looking back on it for years to come. If you like to think about thinking - this book is for you!!
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