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113 Reviews
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm deluded, but better for knowing it
A refreshingly well written, clear and entertaining book, which wears its learning lightly.

By telling the story through 47 small bite sized chapters, each of which deals with a common area of our lives, the author manages to make serious science entertaining and humorous; an easy and light read. The author is also careful to keep on solid ground and not to...
Published 18 months ago by M. D. Holley

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but best taken in small doses
A useful compilation of "pop psychology" and "pop neurology" - nothing I hadn't seen before in other books and TV programmes, but clearly if somewhat repetitively presented. It is more for dipping into than reading straight off, so put it somewhere for sampling. Its origin as a series of short pieces is apparent. McRaney is careful to reference his...
Published 15 months ago by J. Marriage


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm deluded, but better for knowing it, 3 Jan 2013
By 
M. D. Holley (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: You are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself (Paperback)
A refreshingly well written, clear and entertaining book, which wears its learning lightly.

By telling the story through 47 small bite sized chapters, each of which deals with a common area of our lives, the author manages to make serious science entertaining and humorous; an easy and light read. The author is also careful to keep on solid ground and not to make spurious or 'wacky' statements.

It really is shocking and very humbling to have to come to terms with how deluded we all are. Some of the chapters made uncomfortable reading for me personally, as I reluctantly had to admit that I myself am totally deluded in the way the author suggests.

But the realisation that we are personally deluded is an important one, and if everyone accepted this truth the world might become a better place with less dogmatism and less hatred. Maybe they should teach this stuff in junior school.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has made me even more boring, 5 Feb 2013
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The number of people I've "entertained" with facts and information from this book more than justifies its asking price. A great way to change the way you think about life, business and pretty much everything. The only thing that annoys is the way the author tries to squeeze "You are not so smart" into every darn point.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't pass this most fascinating book by - almost the instruction manual to avoiding life's greatest errors., 1 Dec 2011
By 
Mr. T. White (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Please ignore the fact that this book's title is suspiciously patronising, and instead try being open to the great wealth of possibilities this book offers as a compelling and most readable guide to the sheer irrationality of much human thinking. As you read each small yet satisfyingly complete chapter you'll find an error of rationality outlined, then the author uses facts and real life examples to show how you, too, are quite possibly not so dissimilar from your fellow humans, in at least some (but hopefully not all!) respects. For instance, in every great disaster, there will be people who appear to be stunned into just sitting in their seats (be it a plane crash, train derailment etc.) while others are screaming and running for the nearest escape route as soon as possible. Meanwhile, those who remain seated while being stunned into calm bewilderment, and yes, most extraordinarily this has happened time and time again in all kinds of major disasters - from the Titanic's sinking, to that fateful post millennial day in September... will invariably not live to tell the tale of what happened. Survivors later recount bizarre tales of how not everyone was panicking, as you might reasonably assume, and trying to escape as fast as possible. Instead, contrary to reason, those who remained in calm bewilderment were not only victims of fate but of what psychologists have come to term 'normalcy bias': The temporary but possibly fateful inability of reasoning whereby one judges extreme and potentially catastrophic situations, as being normal, while one's extreme state of confusion persists.

Some reviewers have criticised the author for not giving enough solutions to counter the errors of reasoning described herein, but that is quite unfair, in that once the error is sufficiently explained and exemplified, surely it's up to you as to how you wish to change yourself so as to avoid the described errors when life presents similar situations to you? Another minor criticism is that some of the ways you've been acting contrary to reason, have been widely presented and expanded upon in other similar texts - such as the 'bystander effect', 'the argument from authority' and 'the halo effect'. Still others - such as 'Apophenia' and the 'Dunning-Kruger' effect - were, I must confess, newly elucidated to me at the time of reading. Nonetheless, this book remains all engrossing and by that I mean it is a compellingly wholesome read. I liked too that the author takes time to describe many lesser related terms when describing a primary deficiency of reasoning. For example, on discussing the irrationality of 'brand loyalty', he mentions the feeling of 'post decisional dissonance' that is, on buying an item and worrying later whether you could have better spent your money. Now how many of us have bought something we longed for only to wonder later whether we were wise at all to do so? At least we've now got a term to comfort ourselves with, in knowing we're not alone in our contained state of madness. LOL

In conclusion, this is quite unquestionably, a five star book, and will appeal to anyone who loves learning and dabbling in the fruits of recent psychological research. Albeit, it is not presented as a psychology manual per se; yet it very much manages to capture the best of recent academic scientific and psychological research in a delightfully succinct manner. So, even if... you're still veering on perfection, on reading this book you'll at least be able to understand why so many others around you are not as rational as you, and moreover, why!

Lastly, if you've not read them already, I must very much recommend at least three other brilliantly inspired books which are similar to this one in subject matter: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, secondly Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisionsand also most recently the most excellent Thinking, Fast and Slow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but best taken in small doses, 13 April 2013
By 
J. Marriage (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
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A useful compilation of "pop psychology" and "pop neurology" - nothing I hadn't seen before in other books and TV programmes, but clearly if somewhat repetitively presented. It is more for dipping into than reading straight off, so put it somewhere for sampling. Its origin as a series of short pieces is apparent. McRaney is careful to reference his sources, which I liked - so many writers skip that when writing for a wide audience. The "translation" from American into British English is rather odd. Money has been converted into , and some company names (used as examples) have been converted to their UK equivalents - but not all, and it still feels very US-centric.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - relates results from psychology experiments to everyday behaviour, 27 Nov 2012
This review is from: You are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself (Paperback)
Excellent. I bought this on spec after glancing at it in an airport bookshop and was glad that I took the trouble to read it. It refers to a lot of experiments relating to psychology - much to my surprise I found this subject matter really interesting, even if one or two of the results were already familiar. If you think that psychology in nothing but all that early 20th C Freud-Jung psychotherapy guff, this is a good book to set you straight.

It is very fragmented in its structure, but that does make it easy to dip in to.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slightly ambiguous yet interesting, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Adam Smith - See all my reviews
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This review is from: You are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself (Paperback)
The good;
A mixture of 48 common and not so common beliefs proved wrong with the truth by case studies, reports and surveys etc. Some very intriguing and practical such as the truth behind procrastination and habit kicking written in short (2-5 page) chapters with an easy summary.

The bad;
Some chapters 'truths' are left far too ambiguous and with little real world application or practical advice

The conclusion;
A charming sunday afternoon/bath tub read which can make you think and may will have some practical uses
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recognition factor, 1 Feb 2013
I recognised someone close to me in many chapters. Sadly, that someone was me. A very smart exercise by David McRaney.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so smart, 3 Jan 2013
By 
JAN HOLBEN (Folkestone, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book as a fun read and it is that...but it is also more than that it gives me further evidence which Is useful for me in terms of how I work as a therapist with clients (to bring positive change) on how the human mind works and how memories of events can be so easily distorted.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 24 Nov 2012
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I bought this book on a whim - and I am glad I did!
Once you get past what seems to be a patronising title, it is fascinating. It explains a lot about how humans think - you can easily identify with almost everything within the book. I found it interesting and it made me think. Whilst most books relate to research in an academic way, this author brings it down to a more digestible level, which makes you think and, to be honest, I identified traits that myself and people I know have. I have read this twice now.
We really are not as individual as we think we are!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really brilliant, informative, suprising read!, 14 Mar 2013
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I saw this book in the airport book shop and thought, I'm getting it for the flight, but don't get me wrong, it was the front cover and the colours that attracted me haha.
This book was well worth getting. I'm an 18yo girl who studied psychology at college, so some of the studies in the book are familiar, but McRaney really puts the studies into perspective and also relates them to real life situations. This book has prompted so many interesting conversations with family members about human behaviour, and I would recommend it to anyone. A really great read!
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