You Are Not So Smart
“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

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.

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 Now Less Dumb

Here are just a few of the hundreds of new ideas you’ll stuff in your head while reading You Are Now Less Dumb:

  • You’ll finally understand why people wait in line to walk into unlocked rooms and how that reveals a universal behavior that slows progress and social change.
  • You’ll discover the connection between salads, football, and consciousness.
  • You’ll learn why people who die and come back tend to return with similar stories, and you’ll see how the explanation can help you avoid arguments on the internet.
  • You’ll see why Bill Clinton, Gerard Butler, and Robert DeNiro all believe in the same magical amulet because they are all equally ignorant in one very silly way that you can easily avoid.
  • You’ll learn about a scientist’s bizarre experiment that tested what would happen if multiple messiahs lived together for several years and how you can use what he learned to debunk your own delusions.
  • You’ll learn why the same person’s accent can be irritating in some situations and charming in others and you can use that knowledge to make better hiring choices and improve education.


You Are Now Less Dumb is “a book about self-delusion, but also a celebration of it,” a fascinating and pleasantly uncomfortable-making look at why “self-delusion is as much a part of the human condition as fingers and toes,” and the follow-up to McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart, one of the best psychology books of 2011. McRaney, with his signature fusion of intelligent irreverence and irreverent intelligence... [explores] such facets of our self-delusion as why we see patterns where there aren’t any, how we often confuse the origin of our emotional states, and more.”Maria Popova of Brain Pickings