You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, an d 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself

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Penguin, Oct 27, 2011 - Humor - 320 pages
42 Reviews
An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework.

Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday, including:

  • Dunbar's Number - Humans evolved to live in bands of roughly 150 individuals, the brain cannot handle more than that number. If you have more than 150 Facebook friends, they are surely not all real friends.
  • Hindsight bias - When we learn something new, we reassure ourselves that we knew it all along.
  • Confirmation bias - Our brains resist new ideas, instead paying attention only to findings that reinforce our preconceived notions.
  • Brand loyalty - We reach for the same brand not because we trust its quality but because we want to reassure ourselves that we made a smart choice the last time we bought it.

    Packed with interesting sidebars and quick guides on cognition and common fallacies, You Are Not So Smart is a fascinating synthesis of cutting-edge psychology research to turn our minds inside out.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - heradas - LibraryThing

Filled with 48 cognitive biases, failures and quirks, 'You Are Not So Smart' illustrates the different ways that our brains fail us. For a book chock full of psychological studies and examples of ... Read full review

Review: You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself

User Review  - Paige - Goodreads

2 or 2 1/2 stars. Why oh why do I get suckered into pop psychology again and again? This book started out as a blog and maybe it should have stayed that way. It seems like great material for a blog ... Read full review


Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Introduction
Confirmation Bias
Hindsight Bias
The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
Normalcy Bias
The Argument from Authority
The Argument from Ignorance
The Straw Man Fallacy
The Ad Hominem Fallacy
The JustWorld Fallacy
The Public Goods Game
The Ultimatum Game
Subjective Validation

The Availability Heuristic
The Bystander Effect
The DunningKruger Effect
Brand Loyalty
Cult Indoctrination
Supernormal Releasers
The Affect Heuristic

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