You Are Not So Smart – David McRaney

Unlike some of the other books I have read recently, I know exactly why I read David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart. I read because David McRaney has a podcast of the same name, about largely the same thing, and it is great. The You Are Not So Smart podcast singularly added close to 100 items to my ‘to be read’ list, because almost every damn episode is about a fascinating person doing fascinating research, and they have almost all put our a book or three.

It may be a hot take too far to call our reality an illusion, but certain aspects of it really are. We tend to walk around thinking that we active agents in the world around us, making choice based on facts and considered opinions. David McRaney wrote this book in order to dispel that myth and gives us a better understanding about who we really are and how we really operate.

It is interesting stuff, but I end up being pretty stuck against having an opinion on the book itself. As I already mentioned, I am subscribed to the podcast and thus a lot of this was already old hat. Frankly, I think it is about time I get off the pop science versions of some of these phenomenon and start reading the actual books that go into these ideas more profoundly. That might be a laziness on my part, but as I have said before, this is another one of those books that is great if you are looking for your introduction into the world of cognitive psychology and its fascinating and terrifying intricacies. Terrifying? Yea. The book does not do much to address to what extent we are slaves to the phenomena it covers. Likely, some of these facts are pretty immutable. And that is scary

In light of that, this is another book where the low star amazon reviews are pretty damn funny. A whole lot of people are there desperately trying to defend their ego.

I am not sure this is as useful a book to have read as it is a book to have at hand, ready to pull out when you are having a heated argument with one of your friends – you know the one, the guy who simply will not fucking listen to reason, who makes a game of denying everything you say and taking the contrary point? Yea, him. This is a handy book to pull out for those occasions, and try to explain the science to those people in your life. But I am glad I read, and will be happy to keep it as a reference for more things to read in the future.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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