Get Smart – Good Reads
Here are a few websites and books that have been feeding my hunger for knowledge.
1. You Are Not So Smart
You Are Not So Smart – A celebration of self-delusion. David McRaney explores misconceptions and fallacies in an entertaining and enlightening approach. If you are interested in human psychology, I think you will appreciate the author’s ideas on why humans do silly things.
Here are a few of my favorite posts from the blog:
Deindividuation – The Misconception: People who riot and loot are scum who were just looking for an excuse to steal and be violent. The Truth: You are are prone to losing your individuality and becoming absorbed into a hivemind under the right conditions.
Confirmation Bias – The Misconception: Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis. The Truth: Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions.
Procrastination – The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well. The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
The website has become popular enough to spawn a book:
You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself.
I haven’t read the book yet, but it is on my wish list (see below for link to this book on Amazon.com).
2. Arachnoid.com by Paul Lutus
I consider Arachnoid a hidden gem of useful knowledge. I really enjoy Paul’s writing, especially his take on various psychology topics. I say Arachnoid.com is a hidden gem — because it deserves more popularity than its traffic stats reflect.
Paul is ahead of the times, and has unique and thought-provoking opinions on a variety of subjects. Here are some of my favorite reads from his site:
Is Psychology a Science? – A critical evaluation of modern clinical psychology.
Evolution – What we can learn from biology’s most important theory.
A Society of Victims – How to Whine your way to Sympathy. One of my fav’s from Arachnoid. Please read this, and pass the link on.
Confessions of a Long-Distance sailor – Complete, online e-book — an account of Paul’s around-the-world sail. (I’ve started reading this, but think I will buy a hard-copy version…I still prefer reading on paper over a screen).
3. Paul Graham’s Essays
Paul Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor. I have no idea how I found his website, but have spent hours reading through his articles on a variety of topics. His book “Hackers & Painters” is on my to-read list, as well. Here are some of my favs from his website:
Lies We Tell Kids – “Adults lie constantly to kids. I’m not saying we should stop, but I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why…”
How to Disagree – …”What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy…”
Why TV Lost – “About twenty years ago people noticed computers and TV were on a collision course and started to speculate about what they’d produce when they converged. We now know the answer: computers.”
Stuff – “I have too much stuff. Most people in America do. In fact, the poorer people are, the more stuff they seem to have. Hardly anyone is so poor that they can’t afford a front yard full of old cars…”
Books mentioned in this Post:
If you dig their websites, you might want to check out the above mentioned author’s books: