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Survivorship Bias and the Psychology of Luck

David McRaney (Author)

Mission City
Average rating: ****.
(4.57, 7 ratings)

When failure becomes invisible, the difference between failure and success may also become invisible.

We each want to dissect and apply the lessons gained from the life stories of diet gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes. We’d all like to deconstruct success and reconstruct it in our own lives, but looking to the successful for clues about how to better live your life is, at best, an incomplete strategy and, at worst, a giant waste of time.

David McRaney will tell the story of how the Department of War Math in World War II helped bring to light the psychology of how we miss what is important when it comes to failure, and how the modern understanding of the psychology of luck provides the best game plan for getting the best out of life.

Photo of David McRaney

David McRaney

Digital Media Director, Author

David McRaney is a journalist who created the blog You Are Not So Smart where he began writing regularly about the psychology behind common biases, delusions, heuristics, and fallacies in 2009. That blog became an internationally bestselling book published by Penguin/Gotham in 2011, now available in 14 languages. His second book, You Are Now Less Dumb, was released in July of 2013, also published by Penguin/Gotham.

David currently hosts a podcast that is part of the Boing Boing podcasting family soon to be available on Sirius/XM radio and on Virgin Airlines, and he travels around the planet giving lectures on the topics he covers in his books, blog, and podcast.

David graduated with a degree in journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi where he served as editor of the college newspaper and was named one of the top 10 college journalists in the United States by the Scripps Howard Foundation in addition to winning two William Randolph Hearst awards, one for feature writing and one for opinion writing. Before that, he tried waiting tables, working construction, selling leather coats, building and installing electrical control panels, and owning pet stores.

David cut his teeth covering Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and in the Pine Belt region of the Deep South. Since then, he has been a beat reporter, an editor, a photographer, voiceover artist, television host, and everything in between. His writing work has been featured at The Atlantic, The New York Post, Lifehacker, Gawker, Boing Boing, among many other places. He is now employed as a digital media director with Raycom Media for WDAM-TV where he also produced The Green Couch Sessions, a television show focusing on the music of the Deep South.

He is married to Amanda McRaney, and they live in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.