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.
The author of the bestselling You Are Not So Smart shares more discoveries about self-delusion and irrational thinking, and gives readers a fighting chance at outsmarting their not-so-smart brains
David McRaney’s first book, You Are Not So Smart, evolved from his wildly popular blog of the same name. A mix of popular psychology and trivia, McRaney’s insights have struck a chord with thousands, and his blog–and now podcasts and videos–have become an Internet phenomenon.
Like You Are Not So Smart, You Are Now Less Dumb is grounded in the idea that we all believe ourselves to be objective observers of reality–except we’re not. But that’s okay, because our delusions keep us sane. Expanding on this premise, McRaney provides eye-opening analyses of fifteen more ways we fool ourselves every day, including:
The Misattribution of Arousal (Environmental factors have a greater affect on our emotional arousal than the person right in front of us)
Sunk Cost Fallacy (We will engage in something we don’t enjoy just to make the time or money already invested “worth it”)
Deindividuation (Despite our best intentions, we practically disappear when subsumed by a mob mentality)
McRaney also reveals the true price of happiness, why Benjamin Franklin was such a badass, and how to avoid falling for our own lies. This smart and highly entertaining book will be wowing readers for years to come.
This book reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains “happy” leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult.
Author David DiSalvo presents evidence from evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics. And he interviews many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today.
From this research-based platform, DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains’ foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Ultimately, he argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives.
Have you ever wondered why a trumpeter of family values would suddenly turn around and cheat on his wife? Why jealousy would send an otherwise level-headed person into a violent rage? What could drive a person to blow a family fortune at the blackjack tables?
Or have you ever pondered what might make Mr. Right leave his beloved at the altar, why hypocrisy seems to be rampant, or even why, every once in awhile, even you are secretly tempted, to lie, cheat, or steal (or, conversely, help someone you never even met)?
This book answers these questions and more, and in doing so, turns the prevailing wisdom about who we are upside down. Our character, argue psychologists DeSteno and Valdesolo, isn’t a stable set of traits, but rather a shifting state that is subject to the constant push and pull of hidden mechanisms in our mind. And it’s the battle between these dueling psychological forces that determine how we act at any given point in time.
Drawing on the surprising results of the clever experiments concocted in their own laboratory, DeSteno and Valdesolo shed new scientific light on so many of the puzzling behaviors that regularly grace the headlines. For example, you’ll learn:
• Why Tiger Woods just couldn’t resist the allure of his mistresses even though he had a picture-perfect family at home. And why no one, including those who knew him best, ever saw it coming.
• Why even the shrewdest of investors can be tempted to gamble their fortunes away (and why risky financial behavior is driven by the same mechanisms that compel us to root for the underdog in sports).
• Why Eliot Spitzer, who made a career of crusading against prostitution, turned out to be one of the most famous johns of all time.
• Why Mel Gibson, a noted philanthropist and devout Catholic, has been repeatedly caught spewing racist rants, even though close friends say he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.
• And why any of us is capable of doing the same, whether we believe it or not!
A surprising look at the hidden forces driving the saint and sinner lurking in us all, Out of Character reveals why human behavior is so much more unpredictable than we ever realized.
You may not realize it but simple, irrelevant factors can have profound consequences on your decisions and behavior, often diverting you from your original plans and desires. Sidetracked will help you identify and avoid these influences so the decisions you make do stick—and you finally reach your intended goals.
Psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino has long studied the factors at play when judgment and decision making collide with the results of our choices in real life. In this book she explores inconsistent decisions played out in a wide range of circumstances—from our roles as consumers and employees (what we buy, how we manage others) to the choices that we make more broadly as human beings (who we date, how we deal with friendships). From Gino’s research, we see when a mismatch is most likely to occur between what we want and what we end up doing. What factors are likely to sway our decisions in directions we did not initially consider? And what can we do to correct for the subtle influences that derail our decisions? The answers to these and similar questions will help you negotiate similar factors when faced with them in the real world.
For fans of Dan Ariely and Daniel Kahneman, this book will help you better understand the nuances of your decisions and how they get derailed—so you have more control over keeping them on track.