cover image How Do We Know Ourselves? Curiosities and Marvels of the Human Mind

How Do We Know Ourselves? Curiosities and Marvels of the Human Mind

David G. Myers. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-60195-9

In this edifying volume, Myers (Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith), a psychology professor at Hope College, helps readers “think smarter about their lives, and... savor the wonders within and around us.” Adapted largely from Myers’s Talk Pysch blog, these 40 short essays provide “glimpses of psychology’s wisdom” on the self, relationships, and society. Readers of pop psychology will be familiar with much of Myers’s material, which covers such psych 101 topics as hindsight bias, confirmation bias, and inattentional blindness. Myers’s accessible explanations read as if he’s describing the concepts to a friend over lunch, as when he outlines the availability heuristic, which refers to the tendency to “estimate the commonality of events based on their mental availability,” by noting that more people fear flying than driving despite flying’s superior safety record because of the prominence of stories about airplane crashes in the media. More advanced students of psychology will appreciate the final chapter’s evaluation of psychological theories that have been absorbed into the mainstream, but have since been called into question. Myers’s bite-size treatment of the current state of social psychology research makes for a quick and illuminating overview of the human mind. Novices would do well to pick up this breezy primer. [em](Nov.) [/em]