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How Do We Know Ourselves?

Curiosities and Marvels of the Human Mind

David G. Myers

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

How Do We Know Ourselves? Download image

ISBN10: 037460195X
ISBN13: 9780374601959


272 Pages



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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?


Praise for How Do We Know Ourselves?

How Do We Know Ourselves? is a treasure. 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. I loved it!”—Angela Duckworth, author of Grit

“For four decades, David Myers has been the foremost communicator of the science of psychology to the outside world. Now, we are privileged to have access to his innermost thoughts and his wisdom about what it all means for ourselves and our future. This is the capstone work of a great psychologist.”—Martin Seligman, Zellerbach Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Hope Circuit

“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 Reviews

"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

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


You surely know why you chose your town, your partner, and your vocation—all for good reasons, no doubt.

But might other, unknown reasons—operating beneath your awareness—also have nudged your choices?...

About the author

David G. Myers

David G. Myers is a social psychologist and a professor of psychology at Hope College. His articles have appeared in dozens of scientific periodicals and magazines, from Science to Scientific American. He is also the author of seventeen books, including psychology’s most widely read textbook, which has sold more than eight million copies worldwide. Myers resides in Holland, Michigan.

David G. Myers

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