David McRaney's first book, "You Are Not So Smart," evolved from his wildly popular blog of the same name. Read more...
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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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-05-13
- Reviewer: Staff
McRaney’s newest, a follow-up to 2012’s You Are Not So Smart, explores the ways in which the brain “cheats and edits and alters reality.” The Mississippi-based journalist and blogger ranges far and wide in his explication of various theories of individual and social psychology, in the process shedding light on the personal blind spots that skew reality while also allowing us to navigate it. In a section on “ego depletion,” the author walks readers through a recent study that tested the relationship between feelings of being excluded and eating habits. Turns out those in the ostracized test group, when presented with a bowl of cookies, just kept “mushing into their sad faces.” From there he goes on to discuss Freud’s theory of the ego and Henry David Thoreau’s decision to willfully exclude himself from society. That fusion of wry prose and enlightening minilessons is what makes this book so special—page after page, readers will be laughing, learning, and looking at themselves in new ways. McRaney is a fine stylist, easily balancing anecdote, analysis, and witty asides. Despite a flippant and self-helpy title, this book is seriously informative. (Aug.)