THE BLOG
11/16/2012 08:38 am ET | Updated Jan 16, 2013

10 Reasons Why You Are Not So Smart

Scientists have added a number of important chapters to the instruction manual for the human body over the last few decades.

You now know about trans-fats and cigarettes, glutens and stress along with a bevy of other dangers worth fretting over in an effort to avoid an early grave.

Unfortunately, the chapter on the brain hasn't been updated in a good long while. In your efforts to be a better person you've had to take in the tattered, aging advice of Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow, Dr. Spock and Dr. Phil. Even worse, you've been subjected to the mystical run-around on your bookshelf. You feel no wiser after learning the secret of the purpose-driven life or the seven habits of highly effective people who don't worry about who moved their cheese.

Thankfully, the wisdom of the last 30 or so years of research into the human mind is now bubbling to the surface, and it has revealed some wonderful information that can finally flesh out the instruction manual for being a person. The most-recent evidence suggests you might be a creature capable of reason and rationality, but that doesn't mean you use it very often. Science is telling you that not only are you the unreliable narrator in the story of your life, but you are absolutely terrible at noticing this truth about the human condition. In fact, you feel just the opposite. You feel confident, reasonable, logical, and in your search for meaning, you've developed a story about who you are, why you do what you do, and why you think what you think. It's a good story, and you believe it day-to-day, but that story is mostly fiction.

Here are 10 ways you delude yourself between every shower and meal, each of which you can read about in more detail in my book, You Are Not So Smart [Gotham, $15.00]:

10 Reasons Why You Are Not So Smart