The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life

by Kevin Simler, Robin Hanson

A random find—it was randomly pitched to the author’s mailing list that I forgot I was on—this one played my skeptical fiddle extraordinarily well. Through a range of topics, the author(s) break down why we do what we do and how (e.g., political or religious affiliations), more often than not, what we do is backed by hidden motives. It definitely had me questioning my own motives but also made me more empathetic toward inconsistency in the beliefs and motives of others. There weren’t many surprises in this book, but it was nice to see all of the concepts organized and illuminated together.