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

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

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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.

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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."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592407361
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
91,608
Product dimensions:
4.99(w) x 7.50(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

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