Monday, August 24, 2015

You are not so smart - David McRaney

After a long long time,I'm back here with my new reading experience..However,I'm tired of spilling my silly opinions on various topics and rigid preconceived notions and pseudo intellectual blabberings everywhere..Somehow,I got terribly bored with the verbal expressions of every damn experience..I know I know I've started again...:P

Let me come to the point..I recently finished reading "You are not so smart" by David McRaney..This comes under nonfiction category,Yeah,after a long time I picked a book from this genre..No story to tell you here,but I would like to share few interesting lines from the book..Though I enjoyed the read,I skipped some experimental parts related to psychology..Here are few of my favourite lines from the book..Don't forget to read the last paragraph on conformity.

Image courtesy Google

THE MISCONCEPTION: You are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is.
THE TRUTH: You are as deluded as the rest of us, but that’s OK, it keeps you sane.

You are naturally hindered into thinking in certain ways and not others, and the world around you is the product of dealing with these biases, not overcoming them.

You are a story you tell yourself. You engage in introspection, and with great confidence you see the history of your life with all the characters and settings—and you at the center as protagonist in the tale of who you are. This is all a great, beautiful confabulation without which you could not function.

THE MISCONCEPTION: You know when you are being influenced and how it is affecting your behavior.
THE TRUTH: You are unaware of the constant nudging you receive from
ideas formed in your unconscious mind.

THE MISCONCEPTION: You know when you are lying to yourself.
THE TRUTH: You are often ignorant of your motivations and create fictional narratives to explain your decisions, emotions, and history without realizing it.

You want to be right about how you see the world, so you seek out information
that confirms your beliefs and avoid contradictory evidence and opinions.people weren’t buying books for the information, they were buying them for the confirmation. (Some time back,I said the same lines while talking about my reading habits..:P)

Over time, by never seeking the antithetical, through accumulating subscriptions to magazines, stacks of books, and hours of television, you can become so confident in your worldview that no one can dissuade you. Remember, there’s always someone out there willing to sell eyeballs to advertisers by offering a guaranteed audience of people looking for validation. Ask yourself if you are in that audience. In science, you move closer to the truth by seeking evidence to the contrary. Perhaps the same method should inform your opinions as well.

THE MISCONCEPTION: After you learn something new, you remember how you were once ignorant or wrong.
THE TRUTH: You often look back on the things you’ve just learned and assume you knew them or believed them all along.

Charles Darwin said it best: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does
knowledge.” Whether it’s playing guitar or writing short stories or telling jokes or taking photos—whatever—amateurs are far more likely to think they are experts than actual experts are.

THE MISCONCEPTION: You are more concerned with the validity of information than the person delivering it.
THE TRUTH: The status and credentials of an individual greatly influence your perception of that individual’s message.

When you see the opinions of some people as better than others on the merit of their status or training alone, you are arguing from authority.

THE MISCONCEPTION: If you can’t trust someone, you should ignore that person’s claims.
THE TRUTH: What someone says and why they say it should be judged

THE MISCONCEPTION: People who are losing at the game of life must have done something to deserve it.
THE TRUTH: The beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it, and bad people often get away with their actions without consequences.

On fashion and consumerism,
Wait long enough, and what was once mainstream will fall into obscurity. When that happens, it will become valuable again to those looking for authenticity or irony or cleverness. The value, then, is not intrinsic. The thing itself doesn’t have as much value as the perception of how it was obtained or why it is possessed. Once enough people join in, like with oversized glasses frames or slap bracelets, the status gained from owning the item or being a fan of the band is lost, and the search begins again.You would compete like this no matter how society was constructed. Competition for status is built into the human experience at the biological level. Poor people compete with resources. The middle class competes with selection. The wealthy compete with possessions.You sold out long ago in one way or another. The specifics of who you sell to and how much you make—those are only details.

A wonderful description about conformity,
Most people, especially those in Western cultures, like to see themselves as individuals, as people who march to a different beat. You are probably the same sort of person. You value your individuality and see yourself as a nonconformist with unique taste, but ask yourself: How far does this nonconformity go? Do you live in an igloo made of boar tusks in the Arizona desert while refusing to drink the public water supply? Do you speak a language you and your sister created as children and lick strangers on the face during the closing credits of dollar-theater matinees? When other people applaud, do you clap your feet together and boo? To truly refuse to conform to the norms of your culture and the laws of the land would be a daunting exercise in futility. You may not agree with the zeitgeist, but you know conformity is part of the game of life.Chances are, you pick your battles and let a lot of things slide. If you travel to a foreign country, you look to
others as guides on how to behave. When you visit someone else’s home, you do as that person does. In a college classroom you sit quietly and take notes. If you join a gym or start a new job, the first thing you do is look for clues as to how to behave. You shave your legs or your face. You wear deodorant. You conform. As psychologist Noam Shpancer explains on his blog, “We are often not even aware when we are conforming. It is our home base, our default mode.” Shpancer says you conform because social acceptance is built into your brain. To thrive, you know you need allies. You get a better picture of the world when you can receive information from multiple sources. You need friends because outcasts are cut off from valuable resources. So when you are around others, you look for cues as to how to behave, and you use the information offered by your peers to make better decisions. When everyone you know tells you about an awesome app for your phone or a book you should read, it sways you. If all of your friends tell you to avoid a certain part of town or a brand of cheese, you take their advice. Conformity is a survival mechanism.

The world outside your head and the world inside it are not identical. The information flowing into consciousness from your senses is not only limited by your attention, but also edited before it arrives. Once there, it mixes like paint with all the other thoughts and perceptions swirling inside your cranium. The way you feel, the culture you grew up in, the task at hand, the chaos of technology and society—it all creates a granular, busy visual world. Only a slice of it arrives in your mind. Despite this, the great circus of human activity and invention goes on. You choose what to see more than you realize, and then you form beliefs without taking into account your selective vision. You can’t do much about it other than to choose wisely when it is important. Don’t put faith in your senses when you wear a hands-free headset in the car or lose yourself in a book in a public place. The unexpected isn’t guaranteed to jar you out of your daydream.

THE MISCONCEPTION: You are one person, and your happiness is based
on being content with your life.
THE TRUTH: You are multiple selves, and happiness is based on satisfying
all of them.

Happy reading friends..:)


sahithya sridhar said...

nice read!

Amit Agarwal said...

Nice review, Nagini:) Long time..!

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thank you Amit Jee..Happy to hear from you..A little bit busy living outside the virtual world..:) :)