Tony's Reviews > Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative

Why Smart People Hurt by Eric Maisel
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2013, reviewed, lifehacking, non-fiction

This is a difficult book to rate or review, not least because I generally have a hate-hate relationship with "self-help" books, and this one pushes too many of my wrong buttons (if it is indeed a book, and not purely a giant informercial for the author's "Natural Psychology").

But ...

It also provided a enough "aha" moments, and insight into some things that have been bugging me for a while, for me to give it a high rating, regardless of its many, many flaws.

The constant refrain of the book is that smart people are really, really good at thinking themselves into all sorts of traps, and really, really bad at being smart about the challenges of being smart. Maisel sets out fifteen key areas in which this often applies, and suggests a variety of techniques for addressing them.

I'm not entirely convinced by many of the proposed solutions (and got increasingly more irritated by the constant framing of them in terms of what "an adherent of natural psychology" would do), but simply providing a framework to notice and name a lot of bad thinking traps — many of which I'm well aware of falling into regularly, but have never really been able to identify with this level of clarity — is (hopefully) of sufficiently high value on its own.

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Reading Progress

September 25, 2013 – Started Reading
September 26, 2013 – Shelved
September 26, 2013 –
page 150
58.59% "There is al­most cer­tainly no sin­gle path to a life­time of acute mean­ing­less­ness. There are so many ways to kill off meaning: by not caring, by not committing, by not finding the courage, by not choosing, by not besting demons, by not standing up."
September 26, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 5, 2014 – Shelved as: 2013
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
October 12, 2014 – Shelved as: lifehacking
May 23, 2015 – Shelved as: non-fiction

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Beth Gea It also felt like an infomercial to me. Thank you for your review.

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