The Folly of Fools
By Arnold Kling
That is the title of a new book by Robert Trivers. Tyler Cowen thought it was worthwhile. Not me. The book is supposed to be about deception and self-deception, but that seems to be an excuse for Trivers to opine on any topic of his choosing.
When Trivers talks about biology, he seems to be on reasonable ground. I thought I learned something from reading his discussion of the battle that takes place between one’s immune system and the world of viruses and such. He hints that the placebo effect may result from creating a mood that reduces other stresses, allowing the immune system work to more effectively.
When the book turns to human behavior, it becomes more ideological and less surprising. It just so happens that those who are most badly self-deceived and guilty of perpetrating deception, according to Trivers, are the usual villains of an academic lefty–corporate executives, market-oriented economists, and political conservatives. Most of the book is filled with what I think David McRaney would call asymmetric insight. (My first post on McRaney was two months ago.)
I think I am a little burnt out on psychology books right now. But if I read another one soon, it probably will be McRaney’s.