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Extended Audio Sample 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 Audiobook, by David McRaney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,870 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David McRaney Narrator: Don Hagen Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2011 ISBN: 9781596593121
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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 is a book about how humans lie to themselves everyday and how these delusions are a vital part of the human experience. In fact, it celebrates these lies even while explaining how illogical the human mind can be.

You Are Not So Smart is written based on decades worth of psychological research studies. It applies scientific evidence about how the human mind works to everyday situations. The book is broken into 46 chapters, each an example of a different lie most, if not all, humans tell themselves. These unconscious mental processes are usually unproductive although they are usually harmless. In many situations they are actually helpful. In the worst case situations, though, the delusions can hinder or even prevent positive change in our lives.

The book explains psychological concepts in everyday speech. It discusses cognitive biases including hindsight bias and confirmation bias, and it explains Dunbar's Number, along with its implications in social media and modern society. It talks about everything from heuristics and fallacies to the real reason people are so loyal to their favorite brands.

You Are Not So Smart author David McRaney is best known as a journalist, having served as a reporter, editor, photographer and in his current position at a television station as the director of new media. He has a passion for psychology which inspired his blog, also titled You Are Not So Smart. The blog was turned into a book in 2012.

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 forty-six 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fascinating! You’ll never trust your brain again.”

    Alex Boese, author of Elephants on Acid

  • “Simply wonderful. An engaging and useful guide to how our brilliant brains can go badly wrong.”

    Richard Wiseman, author of 59 Seconds

  • “You’d think from the title that it might be curmudgeonly; in fact, You Are Not So Smart is quite big-hearted.”

    Jason Kottke, Kottke.org

  • 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. 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, cofounder of Reddit.com

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wake3d | 2/10/2014

    " Listened to the audio book of this and knew I needed a print copy. Some of it is just a reminder of what you learned in Logic class (you did take, Logic, didn't you) and some of it is a review of studies on the strange ways our brains behave. Quick read, but lots to chew on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel | 2/9/2014

    " While the author's promise that will also focus on logical fallacies, there is not a half dozen articles on this topic. In fact, most of the articles concentrates on behavioral psychology. although the book is a bit tiring and repetitive, the majority of the articles are indeed pretty interesting. There is none much new information, however, if you are familiar with the works of Daniel Kahneman, Maria Konnikova or even Chaim Perelman. That is, the book presents with light, amusing and sufficiently well constructed short articles, all sorts of cognitive biases and "automatic" behaviors that are responsible for much of our choices and worldview. It is a funny and fast read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dustin | 2/6/2014

    " Good book it does make you think more about who you are and what is going on around you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jillian Kapp | 2/2/2014

    " Though the topics can occasionally leave you feeling like a shit for being so inconsistent and oblivious to life, the analysis of common self deceptions is down to earth and easy to digest. This accessibility helps when analyzing small facets of life, such as why you think everyone is an 'idiot' but when pressed on many topics, you're just uninformed. Not stupid. This book can help self actualization and penetrates some serious issues with the human psyche and getting around it's road blocks to a more productive and healthy life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edelhart Kempeneers | 1/25/2014

    " Heel goed; zie ook The Willpower Instinct, Thinking Fast & Slow, The Power of Habit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 1/22/2014

    " Really. You will feel less smart after you read how you constantly delude yourself. But any insight into our behavior is welcome if it can help us understand why we do what we do. This is a book that does not need to be read sequentially to appreciate. Start anywhere you like and marvel at how your inner self often takes you for a ride. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben Phillip | 1/19/2014

    " Great book on how we lie to ourselves everyday when it comes to behavior, personality, memory, and more. The chapters were quick to read; each one began with a debunked fact and then justified the point of the chapter with many examples. Overall, very good! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Breanna | 1/9/2014

    " I finished this a while ago. At first it was really fascinating and then it just got repetitive and dry. I tend to love this kind of book but it seemed to be telling me the same thing over and over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Kessler | 1/2/2014

    " A solid book with a lot of really interesting/useful information about psychology and the irrationalities of the human brain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave | 12/18/2013

    " A few fun ideas here. McRaney does some debunking of popular myths. But it's like cotton candy--fun to consume but not much substance to it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sebastien St-hilaire | 12/6/2013

    " interesting book. Funny, practical and help understand odd behavior "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen | 12/6/2013

    " A good overall review of psychology but not much new here. If you're already well read in books like Tipping Point and the Power of Habit, you may not find new material here, but it is presented in a very easy-to-read way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda Parker | 11/26/2013

    " I didn't finish, I just wasn't that interested in this. Not saying the book is bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlotte McClain | 7/22/2013

    " I highly recommend the first half of this book to everyone. The second half, not so much. It's still pretty good, but all the A material is in the first half. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lillian Martin | 11/24/2012

    " Holy Smoke! Loved it. As a communications major with an interest in anthropology, I love the premise that we are all delusional about our own perceptions of the world around us. Read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harrison | 6/28/2012

    " Loved it! This has been one of my favorite blogs for a long time. It has a few weak chapters in the middle, and a lot of it could have drawn out to be longer, but it's a great read, and if you take the time to really absorb it, it can be life-changing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 4/7/2012

    " Great, quick read that shows how alike we are...even though we think we're not. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 bryan | 3/25/2012

    " This might be one of the most important books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 1/10/2012

    " Brilliant fun and insightful with it! "

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About the Author

David McRaney is the author of You Are Not So Smart. A successful journalist, McRaney cut his teeth covering Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; he is now director of new media for a broadcast television company. He lives with his wife in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

About the Narrator

Don Hagen has been behind the microphone since fifth grade. He is a nine-time winner of the Peer Award for narration/voice-over and twice winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award. He has also been heard in radio and television commercials and documentaries. In addition to his freelance voice work, he is a member of the audiobook narration team at the Library of Congress.