7. You Are Not So Smart (My favorite books in 2020)

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, by David McRaney (2012)

The gap between our actions and the explanations we give to them is explained with simplicity and humour by David McRaney in his enjoyable book “You are not so smart”.

The book consists of 48 short chapters, each dedicated to explaining a specific misconception of our own selves. I already knew about Confirmation Bias, Procrastination, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and Groupthink. So, I was amazed to find at least 44 other biases, effects and fallacies, and even more shocked when I could identify most of them in my own life.

The book does not have specific remedies to this zoo of delusions, and I presume it is because their manifestation might be so diverse that only therapy may solve the most severe cases. However, I think that just by pointing them out, making them visible to your consciousness, is already an excellent first step in the right direction.

Unless you are a psychologist, you may find the list a bit long and difficult to recall at any given moment. My suggestion: Write each of the 48 misconceptions in individual index cards, with a short description of what they are, and every morning, for half a year, pull one at random and reflect on the times that you have been the victim in that specific way of your own brain and emotions.

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2 Comments

  • Posted January 12, 2021
    by Wilmer

    Any chance I’m better off not knowing these things?

    • Posted January 12, 2021
      by Ricardo Pachon

      Haha, well. It depends on what you mean by “better”.

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