The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes

The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes

by David Robson


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A “startling, provocative and potently useful” (James McConnachie, Times UK) examination of the stupid things intelligent people do.

The Intelligence Trap explores cutting-edge ideas in our understanding of intelligence and expertise, including “motivated reasoning,” “meta-forgetfulness,” and “functional stupidity.” David Robson reveals the surprising ways that even the brightest minds and most talented organizations can go wrong—from some of Thomas Edison’s worst ideas to failures at NASA—while offering practical advice to avoid mistakes based on the timeless lessons of Benjamin Franklin, Richard Feynman, and Daniel Kahneman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393541465
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/16/2021
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 356,756
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

David Robson has worked as an editor at New Scientist and BBC Future, and his writing has appeared in the Atlantic, the Observer, and the Washington Post. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 The downsides of intelligence: How a high IQ, education, and expertise can fuel stupidity

1 The rise and fall of the Termites: What intelligence is-and what it is not 11

2 Entangled arguments: The dangers of "dysrationalia" 38

3 The curse of knowledge: The beauty and fragility of the expert mind 65

Part 2 Escaping the intelligence trap: A toolkit for reasoning and decision making

4 Moral algebra: Toward the science of evidence-based wisdom 89

5 Your emotional compass: The power of self-reflection 115

6 A bullshit detection kit: How to recognize lies and misinformation 138

Part 3 The art of successful learning: How evidence-based wisdom can improve your memory

7 Tortoises and hares: Why smart people fail to learn 167

8 The benefits of eating bitter: East Asian education and the three principles of deep learning 190

Part 4 The folly and wisdom of the crowd: How teams and organizations can avoid the intelligence trap

9 The makings of a "dream team": How to build a supergroup 215

10 Stupidity spreading like wildfire: Why disasters occur-and how to stop them 238

Epilogue 261

Appendix: Taxonomies of Stupidity and Wisdom 265

Notes 271

Acknowledgments 311

Illustration Credits 313

Index 315

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