The Elephant in the Brain

by Kevin Simler, Robin Hanson · read December 6, 2023


I enjoyed this book — it was an exploration of one key idea, that human behaviour is frequently underlain by self-interested motives that are infrequently acknowledged or discussed. (One of the examples in the book is higher education, which is ostensibly about learning but functionally also about credentialing, signaling prestige, networking, etc.) I anticipate that the true value of this book to me will be to apply this lens of questioning to my own experiences and see where it bears fruit.

What will emerge from this investigation is a portrait of the human species as strategically self-deceived, not only as individuals but also as a society.

Julia Rodenburg © 2024