Read This Book

Exploring Cognitive Biases and Modern Irrationality

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Kendra Winchester

Contributing Editor

Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women, a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her off hours, you can find her writing on her Substack, Winchester Ave, and posting photos of her Corgis on Instagram and Twitter @kdwinchester.

Welcome to Read this Book, where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, I’m sharing the perfect pop social science book that’s ideal for anyone who loves a funny, informative book.

a graphic of the cover of The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell

I know that when I pick up an Amanda Montell book I’m in for a good time. Her previous books include Wordslut and Cultish, both of which have this delightful tone like Montell is sitting across from you with a cup of coffee. You’re going to have a fun conversation, but Montell isn’t going to hold back. She’s going to put the truth out there.

The Age of Magical Overthinking tackles ideas around how human beings try to “manifest” a reality that is most likely not going to happen. The chapters are organized around thought fallacies, like the “Sunk Cost Fallacy,” which can keep us holding onto projects, goals, or relationships that aren’t working for us. Or the “Halo Effect” which can make us always assume the best about our favorite singers and other celebrities.

Like her other two books, The Age of Magical Overthinking is conversational. Its witty asides and healthy dose of snark make for a perfect pairing with Montell’s ideas. She presents her subject in a funny, accessible way that doesn’t go light on the research. She balances fun and substance to perfection. I especially love how she uses stories and interviews to communicate her ideas. She has this down-to-earth way of telling a story that makes your eyes become glued to the page.

For audiobook fans, I can’t recommend the audio edition enough. Montell reads the audiobook herself, bringing to life her snappy prose, dialogue from her interviews, and funny anecdotes. Her performance enhances that feeling that she’s sitting down with you over drinks talking about all of her ideas around magical thinking, manifesting, and the positive vibes that people try to put out into the world.

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