Hattiesburg author and JCJC alumnus releases his new book

Written By: David McRaney-Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-11-08 09:41:47

HATTIESBURG - David McRaney, a 2004 graduate of Jones County Junior College, 2007 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, and current Director of New Media at WDAM-TV, recently signed copies of his new book, "You Are Not So Smart," in Hattiesburg.

McRaney's new career, he explained, has been in the works for years.  "This has been an wild ride, these last two years," said McRaney. "I started a blog about self delusion as a side-project, and it became very popular in a short period of time. I used all the tools I've learned at JCJC, Southern Miss, in newspapers, and then in new media to put together something which spoke to my passions in psychology. People responded well to it, and a book deal came soon after."
The book, McRaney said is a celebration of self delusion.  "The marketing people call it, 'an entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise,' but I prefer the Psychology Today's review which says it is, 'like taking a Psych 101 class with a witty professor and zero homework.' I love that."

McRaney said the idea for the blog, youarenotsosmart.com, and later the book came from inspiration he received in his first psychology class.  "I had an amazing psychology professor named Jean Edwards who really opened my eyes. She loved to point out how deluded everyone was. The blog is just me trying to recapture the head-spinning, multiple-epiphany delivering experience I had when I was first introduced to real psychology by an amazing teacher. Even though I eventually decided to pursue a degree and career in journalism, I spend the first two years of college taking psychology courses, and all those classes came back out again in conversations at parties or on long trips in the car. This blog became a way to smash those two paths back together again. I’m always hoping it will give people the same thrill I got when I started seeing myself as a deluded, irrational being struggling to make sense of things."
Penguin's subsidiary, Gotham Publishing, signed McRaney to a book deal in late 2010 based off of the popularity of McRaney's blog which has been featured in dozens of publications and hundreds of blogs. It was named by PC Magazine as one of the top 100 websites of 2010. Since the book's release, both the New York Post and The Atlantichave run excerpts, and McRaney says the popularity continues to grow.

"The blog has received millions of hits this year, and with the release of the book I suspect it will be even more popular," he said. "It's surreal, but satisfying. I love showing the country what a Pine Belt author, what a Mississippi writer, can do."
You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion.
Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: you are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us—but
that’s okay because being deluded is part of being human.
Growing out of his popular blog, this book sheds light on dozens of the lies that we tell ourselves everyday. From why we love our Macs to why we have too many friends on Facebook to how fallible our memory is, McRaney reveals the groundbreaking
psychology research that explains our decision-making. You Are Not So Smart answers questions like: Why can’t we seem to break that bad habit? Why are group projects always a pain? And why are first impressions so hard to overcome? And each short chapter—covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency—is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.
Written in McRaney’s lively and accessible style, and with elements of popular science and psychology infused with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.
Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday, including:
* Dunbar's Number - Humans evolved to live in bands of roughly 150 individuals, the brain cannot handle more than that number. If you have more than 150 Facebook friends, they are surely not all real friends.
* Hindsight bias - When we learn something new, we reassure ourselves that we knew it all along.
* Confirmation bias - Our brains resist new ideas, instead paying attention only to findings that reinforce our preconceived notions.
* Brand loyalty - We reach for the same brand not because we trust its quality but because we want to reassure ourselves that we made a smart choice the last time we bought it.
"Every chapter is a welcome reminder that you are not so smart-yet you're never made to feel dumb. You Are Not So Smart is a dose of psychology research served in tasty anecdotes that will make you better understand both yourself and the rest of us. It turns out we're much more irrational than most of us think, so give yourself every advantage you can and read this book."
-Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit.com
"You Are Not So Smart is the go-to blog for understanding why we all do silly things."
"You'd think from the title that it might be curmudgeonly; in fact, You Are Not So Smart is quite big-hearted."
-Jason Kottke, Kottke.org
"In an Idiocracy dominated by cable TV bobbleheads, government propagandists, and corporate spinmeisters, many of us know that mass ignorance is a huge problem. Now, thanks to David McRaney's mind-blowing book, we can finally see the scientific roots of that problem. Anybody still self-aware enough to wonder why society now worships willful stupidity should read this book."
-David Sirota, author of Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now
About the Author
A two-time winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award and named one of the top 10 College Journalists in the nation by Scripps Howard Foundation in 2006, journalist David McRaney writes the blog youarenotsosmart.com. A self-described psychology nerd, he lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
David McRaney
Phone and Text - 601-408-6968


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