Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book of the Month: You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

Hey, y'all! One of my goals for 2014 is to read at least one non-school related book per month. I have a separate reading goal for over the summer, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there! Anyway, I realized that since I've been in college, constantly surrounded by friends, and bombarded by homework, I haven't had time to read. Or, at least, I haven't taken the time to read. I mean, I haven't even reread Harry Potter in the last couple years, which is a crime in itself.

I figured that since I'm attempting this goal, I should blog about it (because whenever I ask myself if I should blog about something, my mental response is "why not?!"). As of now, I haven't chosen a book for February yet, but I have a feeling that by the end of this, I'll have chosen one. It'll probably be pictured at the end of this post. I do, however, already have a March book chosen, because there's a rather large book I've been wanting to read, and I'll have a bit more time to read while travelling in March.

Alright, on to the book! My January choice was You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. Ever since I decided to study Psychology (along with my Music major), I've had a growing interest in nonfiction Psych books. I know, I know, when you hear the word nonfiction, it conjures thoughts of stuffy, boring books with overly intellectual prose that will put you to sleep. That's definitely not the case with this book.

You Are Not So Smart takes almost anything you believe about life and turns it on its head. McRaney takes you through 48 ways you're deluding yourself into believing something that just isn't true. If you're like me, you see this as a bit of a challenge. "Of course I'm not deluding myself! I've actually taken the time to think about my decisions and what influenced them." Cue a chapter about introspection and how you make things up to explain your decisions and opinions.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that McRaney never talks down to you. He's a journalist, not a psychologist, so he doesn't speak to you with technical terms that you don't understand. He explains concepts as if he's a friend, not someone with a Psychology doctorate trying to dumb things down for you to understand. He's already explaining why you're not so smart, so no one would want to continue reading if they felt like the author was talking down to them. There's also a very lighthearted and clever tone to his writing, which keeps the reader engaged. You can tell upon reading the book that he's a funny and witty person. Another thing that he does which I really like is that he speaks directly to the reader several times, presenting a scenario and asking the reader to react to it. Usually he uses this to show you why you're just as deluded as everyone else.

Another factor to this book that I really enjoy is that it's divided into 48 chapters, each focusing on one of the ways people delude themselves. McRaney covers topics as well known as brand loyalty (c'mon, you didn't think you were loyal to just one brand because all their products are perfect, did you?), ones that are fairly commonplace in Psychology, like the Confirmation Bias, to completely random ones like "The Public Goods Game." 48 chapters may seem like a lot, but each chapter is short, and makes it easy to read it in small snippets of time, which is basically all I really have for reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed You Are Not So Smart. I feel like it's a book that is marketable to a much wider audience than most Psych books. Everyone at one point or another has wondered why they or someone else did something, and I feel like this book could explain almost any of those situations. There is a sequel out called You Are Now Less Dumb, and I might pick it up for an upcoming month.

As I predicted at the top, I have decided on a book, and already went out and bought it.

I'm obviously not going to talk about it in detail since I haven't read it and I'm going to do it next month once it's done, but it seems creepy and oddball, which is totally my thing. It's been sitting on my desk since Sunday and I really want to get started on it, but I'm not allowed to start until February. I'll probably post these "book of the month" posts either the last or second-to-last day of the month, depending upon where that falls. 

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed my little mini-review of You Are Not So Smart. Have you read it? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments! Don't forget to check back Saturday for chapter 2 of The Secret Lightning Scar! If you enjoy my posts, make sure to subscribe/follow, as it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. Thanks, y'all!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing what you thought of my posts, so feel free to let me know! Feedback that is respectful towards myself and other commenters is ALWAYS appreciated, but I WILL delete comments containing foul language, so please just don't use it. Let's keep it clean, people! Thanks, y'all!