You Are Not So Smart. There, I said it.

Insulting book titles are a good attention grabber; but it was the subtitle of David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart that really drew me in. “Why your memory is MOSTLY FICTION, why you have too many FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself.” I studied psychology at university so McRaney is very much in my wheel house here, but this is a book for people with even a passing interest in the way we think and behave. Pop psychology has a bit of a negative stigma that it doesn’t really deserve but McRaney’s blog of the same name is doing its bit to remind everyone that psychology can be cool. It’s interesting to read about the misconceptions that govern the way we think and live but people generally don’t enjoy having every sentence end in (Boredom, 1999), or have access to psychological journals for light reading.

So have you ever wondered more about why you Procrastinate (Chapter 6)? Or the benefits and costs of group work (Social Loafing, Chpt 35)? In the chapter on the Bystander Effect, McRaney will have you shocked and appalled at our tendency to defer responsibility onto others, a tendency that gets worse the more ‘others’ are around. Chapter 13 on Brand Loyalty is a good one:

“The Misconception: You prefer the things you own over the things you don’t because you made rational choices when you bought them.
The Truth: You prefer the things you own because you rationalise your past choices to protect your sense of self.”

Disappointed? Fascinated? Intrigued even? This could be the book for you. As for why you have too many friends on facebook well, you might have to read it to find that out…

Paperback, $17.95.

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Filed under Gift Ideas, Non-fiction Reviews, Reviews

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