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31 of 33 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 on 3 Jan. 2013 by M. D. Holley

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by it's Amazon 'Look Inside' preview
This book is full of interesting facts and studies. A lot of them are fascinating even. A big thank you to the author for compiling them all in this volume - it's provided lots of avenues for further reading. Unfortunately, they are rarely expanded on here and the author's insistence on fitting them into his 'you are not so smart' mantra starts to become rather...
Published 22 months ago by elephvant


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31 of 33 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
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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58 of 63 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born to make mistakes..., 30 Aug. 2013
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)
Having read this priceless and 'very' accessible book a number of times I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in self-delusion..or maybe those who know they are able to self deceive - because this is an essential step in the right direction which buying this book would suggest you have already taken. 'You Are Not So Smart' lists so many cognitive biases, fallacies, effects, heuristics and errors - 48 in total - it is a small wonder that anything we say or do isn't tinged or laced with "cobbled together narratives" and ill informed opinions out of our human propensity not to recognise the danger of mental stumbling blocks, the power of the adaptative unconscious and our animal brains!!

Without trying to describe any content it is noticeable that many of the more powerful topics are dealt with in clusters such as the priming of expections, confirmation/hindsight biases and self-serving but fulfilling narcissism that can blight and prop up our behaviours. Just for the record the aforementioned mental traps alone might account for a stack of self-development books, and then to add another 44 should give the reader an indication of the amount of condensing that had to be done to keep the book relatively brief and digestible.

However David McRaney presents a copious amount of phenomenonological research from the field of social psychology which would make a great introduction for anyone wanting to study for a psychology course in the subject -- however, has there yet to be a course for this kind of stuff ever invented? (see below).

I dare anyone not to read each chapter without a wry smile of recognition and amusement, especially as the style is deadly witty and irrevrently upbeat with the continual shocking mantra that "you are not so smart". Whether the author's repetitious figurative flagellation can be taken as an exercise in some form of Buddhist humility certainly the time taken to ponder on the truth of each chapter - as opposed to the premise of the delusion - is some form of an egoic release and often the homespun homilies hit the mark more accurately than a Texas Sharp-shooter Fallacy!

I understand that this version has been written for the UK market, mostly lifted from the American original with some editorial changes and a refreshed front cover. There is in the acknowldgements section a rather poignent dedication to the inspiration for 'You Are Not So Smart' with a tribute to Jean Edwards, an influential past tutor, who in ancient Socratic style - though benefitting from sophisticated modern gadgetry - was able to create an air of discovery in the minds of her class to interogate the mystery of human perception.. boy, and what a mystery!! You are entering into the same mystery that the ancient philosopher tried to decipher.

Finally, Jean and her star pupil should be gainfully employed by the world's educational council.
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17 of 19 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great return on your investment, 26 Mar. 2013
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)
This is one of those books you will read and then ask yourself one or both of the following question:
i) Why have I not read this before now? Why has no-one recommended this to me?
ii) Why hasn't everyone read this book?

I really cannot heap praise on this book enough, for it checks the boxes for so many of the factors that make a text great. It is well-researched, based on empirical data, it is witty and slick, smooth to read. It has a flawless balance between anecdote and hard facts. It is well written, yet neither panders nor speaks down to the reader, and finally, it is packed and filled cover-to-cover with the most amazing facts and insights that will occupy your mental space day and night when you are in the process of reading it.

it is a rare book that you can pick up at the airport or train-station and find as enjoying to read as a trashy novel yet simultaneously realise that you are actually learning something and actually getting a return on your meagre investment.

I read this at the same time as a colleague (who I recommended it to) and we enjoyed countless discussions on the contents; sharing our thoughts and insights. I can only imagine what fun you could have with this if you read it for a book-club or a reading-circle. The conversations would never stop!
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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 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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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by it's Amazon 'Look Inside' preview, 22 May 2013
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This book is full of interesting facts and studies. A lot of them are fascinating even. A big thank you to the author for compiling them all in this volume - it's provided lots of avenues for further reading. Unfortunately, they are rarely expanded on here and the author's insistence on fitting them into his 'you are not so smart' mantra starts to become rather infuriating. First chapters are probably the best and are why I bought it. Should have judged it by its cover.
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