Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Are Not So Smart

One of my favorite blogs, You Are Not So Smart, recently came out with a book by the same name. As the name may indicate, it's all about the ways our brains trick us into thinking things that aren't true.

It's written by David McRaney, a young journalist based in the South (Mississippi, if I remember correctly). He has a day job, but started the blog because he was fascinated by psychology. On the blog's About page, he explains:
The central theme here is that you are unaware of how unaware you are. There is branch of psychology and an old and growing body of research with findings that suggest you have little idea why you act or think the way you do. Despite this, you create narratives to explain your own feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and these narratives become the story of your life.

I am not the only person writing about these topics, or the first, or even close to the smartest. I want my stuff to be fun and entertaining... [I] not a psychologist or an economist. I am a journalist and fan writing about what those super-smart and hard-working people are discovering on these topics. 
If everyone would read McRaney's posts on confirmation bias and hindsight bias, I wonder what effect it might have on our national political discourse?

I got the book, and found it contains material you won't see on the blog, including a great chapter on priming.

A favorite short quote:
The stupid monkey part of your brain wants to gobble up candy bars and go deeply into debt.
 I haven't finished it yet, but hope to soon. But reading through McRaney's full list of posts (there are only 23 of them) is almost as good.

No comments: