Powerful strategies to combat the design flaws of the human brain that make life in the twenty-first century unreasonably difficult.
If they could study us the way we study them, other animals would be puzzled by our unique ability to inflict misery on ourselves. We expend a lot of energy replaying past anguish, anticipating future distress, and stewing in self-righteous anger. Other animals would call us out for being oddly paradoxical creatures who long to be happy while creating our own suffering, who struggle to adapt to a confusing world that we ourselves created.
In our defense, we haven’t yet mastered our neuron-packed brains, whose incredible complexity evolved in somewhat haphazard ways over millennia in a very different world than today’s, giving rise to the five big design flaws of the human mind: greedy reductionism, which causes us to oversimplify; certainty addiction, which makes us overconfident; emotional hostage-taking, where we overreact to threats and engage in rumination; competing selves, where we are burdened with inner conflict; and misguided meaning, where we constantly struggle to make sense of things.
Hard to Be Human corrals the best insights from psychology, neuroscience, physics, and philosophy to reveal powerful strategies for the five big battles we each face in the war with ourselves. Other animals have a simpler life, but we can have it easier, too.