If you’re anything like me you’re perfect, right?
You make clean, clear, informed decisions based on logic, forethought and hard evidence. You sail smoothly through the business waters, a logical being who knows exactly what your motivations are.
Self-delusion, in reality, according to David McRaney’s splendid and very popular book, ‘You are not so Smart’, you’re not that smart. And neither am I. So what’s the story?
McRaney’s excellent book explores all sorts of fascinating scientific and psychological research and knowledge to give an insight into what really motivates human beings: stuff like why we have too many friends on Facebook, why our memories are mostly fiction and 46 other ways in which we delude ourselves in every possible situation, in every way.
Why can’t you break that bad habit? Why are group collaborations invariably so tricky? Why are first impressions o challenging to overcome? Every short chapter deals with information designed to help you win a handy advantage over people who still think they’re perfect: learned helplessness, selling out, the illusion of transparency, confirmation bias, hindsight bias and more. It’s a celebration of human beings’ irrational, thoroughly human behaviour and a must for any business owner.
The misconception is that your opinions are the result of a lifetime of rational, objective analysis. In truth they’re the result of years of paying attention to information that confirms your beliefs, while ignoring the information that challenges your preconceived notions. If you’re shaking your head right now, certain that isn’t you, we all do it, every day, to an alarming extent. But once you’re aware of confirmation bias, at least you can give yourself a sanity check and take the sensible route, rather than reacting instinctively.
Luckily it’s far from heavy. It’s hilarious, quirky and packed with fascinating facts, a pleasure to read. You can catch up with David McRaney on Twitter: @davidmcraney