“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. You’ll find new perspectives on your relationships with people you know, people you don’t, and even brands. 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 positively one of the smartest books to come by this year — no illusion there.” - Maria Popova of Brain Pickings
“Simply wonderful. An engaging and useful guide to how our brilliant brains can go badly wrong.” - Richard Wiseman — bestselling author of 59 Seconds and Quirkology
“McRaney’s sweeping overview is like taking a Psych 101 class with a witty professor and zero homework.” - Psychology Today
“Want to get smarter quickly? Read this book”- David Eagleman — neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
“A much-needed field guide to the limits of our so-called consciousness. McRaney presents a witty case for just how witless we all are.” - William Poundstone — bestselling author of Are you Smart Enough to Work at Google
“Fascinating… After reading this book, you’ll never trust your brain again.” - Alex Boese — bestselling author of Elephants on Acid and Electric Sheep
“Deflating to a certain audience that wants to believe in exceptions, You Are Not So Smart is a tonic to the noxious sweetness of overachievement, an acknowledgment of ordinariness that glories in the quirks of being human without forcing them into a triumphant pyramid. That which cannot be overcome is a part as vital to the human experience as that impulse to try even harder to overcome nature. And if that fails, the flip side to a population crediting itself with falsely inflated powers of observation is that no one might notice if you, too, are not so smart.” - The Onion A.V. Club
“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, syndicated columnist, radio host and author of “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now
You Are Not So Smart is a book about all the wonderful ways you delude yourself every day. You are unaware of how unaware you are, and you've become the unreliable narrator in the story of your life.
You could use a healthy dose of humility, and inside this book you’ll find entries on topics like priming, expectation, confabulation, apophenia, normalcy bias, the fundamental attribution error, and many more.
With each new subject you will soon realize you are not so smart, and thanks to a plethora of cognitive biases, faulty heuristics and common fallacies, you are probably deluding yourself minute by minute just to cope with reality. That’s ok though. We’re all in this together, and these are our shared mental stumbling blocks.
Self delusion makes you human, but you can do something about it. Delusion, that is. You’re stuck with the human thing.
That’s the tagline for my new book, “You Are Now Less Dumb,” which you can find in bookstores everywhere right now, and it’s an attempt to explain that my second book is very different from my first.
When I was doing interviews for my first book, I kept getting asked variations of the same question: “How can we stop being so deluded?” My answer was almost always that you couldn’t, that you were stuck with these cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and weird heuristics. I wanted to describe not prescribe. But, after a while, that approach started to bother me, so when I started writing the new book I tried writing something new – advice.
Sure, you can’t remove these things from your brain. Sure, everyone shares similar flawed perceptions and biased cognitions. But that doesn’t mean you are powerless to their influences. It just means you shouldn’t pretend like they don’t exist. Once you stop doing that, you can easily rearrange your life in all sorts of ways to avoid stumbling over your own brain. In my new book, you’ll not only learn about 17 new forms of self delusion, but you’ll see how to keep them from making a mess of things in your life, your job, and the institutions and communities you care about.
Early on I write, “You are not so smart, but there are some concrete, counterintuitive, and fascinating ways to become less dumb.” After that, I take you on a fun, bizarre, flabbergasting ride through the most twisted up and difficult to notice parts of your mind. It’s pretty badass, and I think you’ll love it.
Go deeper into understanding just how deluded you really are and learn how you can use that knowledge to be more humble, better connected, and less dumb in the sequel to the internationally bestselling You Are Not So Smart.