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

Written by David G. Myers

From Farrar, Straus and Giroux:

“Each chapter is a gem of insight into the human experience, cut and polished to perfection by the renowned psychologist David Myers. Better than any book I can recall, this book answers questions about why we think, feel, and act as we do―but also makes us curious to learn more.” ―Angela Duckworth

A delightful tour of the wonders of our humanity from David G. Myers, the award-winning professor and author of psychology’s bestselling textbook.

Over the past three decades, millions of students have learned about psychology from textbooks by David G. Myers. To create these books and to satisfy his own endless curiosity about the human mind, Myers monitors the leading journals to discover the most extraordinary new developments in psychological science.

How Do We Know Ourselves? is a compendium of the most wondrous verities that Myers has found: a thought-provoking book about psychological science’s insights into our everyday lives. His astute observations and sharp-witted wisdom enable readers to think smarter and live happier.

Myers’s explorations range from why we so often fear the wrong things to how simply going for a walk with someone can increase rapport and empathy. He explains why we repeatedly mishear song lyrics and how the color of President Obama’s suits aided in his decision-making. Myers also explores the powers and perils of our intuition, explaining why anything can seem obvious once it happens.

Each of these forty essays offers fresh insight into our sometimes bewildering but ever-fascinating lives, all drawn from psychology’s latest research. Myers is engaging and intellectually provocative, and he brings a wealth of knowledge from more than fifty years of teaching and writing about psychology to this lively and informative collection. He inspires us to ponder timeless questions, including what might be the most intriguing one of all: How do we know ourselves?

“This book’s title is understated, like its author. It is so much more than ‘curiosities’ and ‘marvels.’ In forty short and engaging essays, David Myers offers guidance on how to think, and wisdom about leading a life of meaning and connection in a world increasingly hostile to such pursuits.”
―Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the New York University Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind, and coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind

“We psychologists are often frustrated that our science fails to satisfy people’s curiosity about what makes us tick, how we relate to one another, and how we can use such knowledge to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. But in this book David Myers, who knows a thing or two about psychology, shows how it can be done. These essays are both scientifically responsible and filled with insight about life, mind, and society.”
―Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of How the Mind Works

“A witty, enjoyable book with plenty of food for thought.” ―Kirkus

“The book’s format makes for a comfortable, nearly conversational read, while also engaging readers in a deep dive of pondering their lives … highly recommended for those interested in psychology, self-help, reflections, and the desire to understand society.” ―Library Journal, starred review

“A quick and illuminating overview of the human mind.” ―Publishers Weekly