This book’s opening is as follows:

You are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is.

You are as deluded as the rest of us, but that’s OK, it keeps you sane.

If you are looking for a very readable and accessible book about thinking, behaviour and how biases play tricks on us this is a very good choice. Self-proclaimed psychology nerd David McRaney collects in this book 48 cognitive biases, including priming, conformity, the affect heuristic, learned helplessness and the fundamental attribution error. Each one opens with a Misconception/Truth statement like above. Then the bias/fallacy/phenomenon is discussed on just a few pages and illustrated with examples, often taken from psychological studies (references found back in the book), everyday life or personal experiences. Not everything may be perfect (I wonder if the mixing up of frequency illusion with confirmation bias in chapter 3 is correct) but maybe McRaney even did this on purpose to see if you are paying attention.

Make sure to visit McRaney’s companion site to his books with regular updates:


McRaney, David (2011) You Are Not So Smart. New York: Gotham Books.