Coverage for
Hidden Motives in Everyday Life


Piyush Kamal, Why is it Necessary to Build Consciousness of Having Enough?, January 31. 2019.

Suzie Mulesky, The Virtue Economy, Quillette, January 31, 2019.

T. Greer, On Words and Weapons, The Scholar's Stage January 29, 2019.

John Mandrola, Have We Missed the Hidden Cause of Medical Overuse?, Medscape, January 28, 2019. Category: The Elephant in the Brain - Hanson and Simler, Answers Versus Questions, , January 23, 2019.

Walker Wright, DREditors’ Best Books of 2018, Difficult Run, January 15, 2018.

Michael Kitces, Why Evolutionary Psychology May Be Better Than Behavioral Finance Research To Understand Financial Behaviors, Nerd's Eye View, January 9.

Fitzy, Pantomime Politics, The Armchair Capitalist, January 8, 2019

Kent Hendricks, 52 things I learned in 2018, Kent Hendricks Blog, December 26, 2018.

Mithaq Kazimi, Notes from The Elephant in the Brain, Inverted Passion, December 14, 2018.

Rory Sutherland, E6: Be Successful or Be Loved: The NHS Dilemma, BBC Radio 4, Thought Cages, November 26, 2018.

Par Cécile Philippe, Phébé - Avons-nous un éléphant dans le cerveau ?, Le Point, November 14, 2018. Peter Coghill, Podcast: Tinder lies, Cognitive Engineering, November 9, 2018.

Sean, Speech: Robin Hanson explains human signaling, Sean's Utility Maximizer Blog, November 18, 2018.

Danny Crichton, Why we lie to ourselves, every day, Tech Crunch, November 4, 2018.

Katherine Gougeon, Are You the Biggest Liar in Your Own Life? This Book About Self-Deception Thinks So, Fashion, October 5, 2018.

Koen Smets, Identiteit: keuze en gebruik, apache, September 28, 2018.

James Altucher, Tucker Max, 394 – Tucker Max: Speak Your Truth or Be Silenced [Part 1], The James Altucher Show, September 25, 2018.

Magnus Vinding, Narrative Self-Deception: The Ultimate Elephant in the Brain?, Magnus Vinding Blog, September 27, 2018.

Holden Cantrell, Why You Should Question Your Motives and Presuppositions, Medium, September 20, 2018.

Justin Murphy, Motives and Institutions with Robin Hanson, Other Life, August 31, 2018.

Richard Atherton, #21 What Are Your Hidden Motives?, Being Human Podcast, August 17, 2018.

Oscar Schwartz, You're Weirding Me Out Honestly, The Outline, August 16, 2018.

Neil Soni, The Elephant in the Brain Key Takeaway, Thoughts on Innovation, Strategy, and Life, August 12, 2018.

Ryan Ferris, CTP #025 - Robin Hanson (Hidden Motives, Assassination Markets and Twitter Mobs), Cosmic Tortoise, August 6, 2018. Ricardo Lopes, Robin Hanson: The Elephant in the Brain, Selfishness and Prosociality, Social Progress, The Dissenter, August 2, 2018.

Kevin Cook,Facebook Faceplant: First AI Failure, More to Come, Nasdaq, July 26, 2018.

Nick Barr, #41 — Markets vs Morals, Barrcast, August 1, 2018.

Katherine Gougeon, The Dark Yet Life Affirming Magic of Self Deception, Fashion, pp. 48-50, August, 2018,

Robert Wright, The Elephant in the Brain, The Wright Show,, July 20, 2018.

Chris Rivers, Top summer books recommended by successful financial advisers, Investment News, July 2018.

China's risque live-streaming apps are now objectifying men too, The Straits Times, July 11, 2018.

Marvin Olasky, Books: Death and dying, World Magazine, July 5, 2018.

Michael Kitces, Summer Reading List of “Best Books” For Financial Advisors – 2018 Edition, Nerd's Eye View, June 18, 2018.

Caleb Brown, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, CATO Institute Daily Podcast, May 22, 2018.

Omar Al-Ubaydli, Economics 101: Why do productive people hate meetings so much?, The National, May 21, 2018.

Kassey Vilches, How to Get Things Done Faster and Better That Will Ultimately Contribute to Your Success, Medium, May 16, 2018.

Micah Redding, Ep 37: Robin Hanson & The Elephant in the Brain, Christian Transhumanist Podcast, May 16, 2018.

Ross Douthat, The Redistribution of Sex, New York Times, May 2, 2018.

Gretchen Wagner, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, Tulsa Book Review, April, 2018.

Kelly Jane Torrance, What We’re Reading, National Review, April 26, 2018.

Katherine Oktober Matthews, Nevertheless Unable to Escape Ourselves, Riding the Dragon, April 25, 2018.

Tyler Cowen, Holding Up a Mirror to the Intellectuals of the Left, Bloomberg View, April 24, 2018.

Allen Saakyan, Big Ideas - Dr. Robin Hanson, Simulation, April 17, 2018.

Matt Heath, You can't always get what you want, , April 16, 2018.

Christian Sears, #22 - Robin Hanson - The Elephant in the Brain, Christian Sears Investigates, April 14, 2018.

Dave Denslow, Biases separate us from reality, Gainesville Sun, March 31, 2018.

Zac Cichy, Andrew Clark, Episode 10 - Going Where the Conversation Isn’t, With Robin Hanson, The Menu Bar, March 30, 2018.

Robert Wiblin, 25 - Why we have to lie to ourselves about why we do what we do, according to Prof Robin Hanson, 80,000 Hours, March 28, 2018.

R Maruy, Reading note: The Elephant in the Brain (Kevin Simler & Robin Hanson), rmaruy_blog, March 26, 2018.

Dave, Bring Back the Boom Box!, Sentence of Dave, March 25, 2018.

Chris DeRose, What is the function of politics? with Robin Hanson, Bitcoin Uncensored, March 23, 2018.

Kevin Price, Robin Hanson- The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, The Price of Business, March 22, 2018.

Joaquín Mayorga, El elefante en el Carnaval, La Razon, Tendencias, March 21, 2018.

Jean-Marie Buchilly, The Book - 'The Elephant in the Brain' by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, Medium, March 20, 2018.

Rhys Lindmark, #34 Robin Hanson, Elephant in the Brain: Norms, Motives, Signaling, Weaponized Sacredness (and Mechanism Design!), Creating a Humanist Blockchain Future: a Systems Podcast, March 16, 2018.

David Wright, Robin Hanson Will Change How You Think, Not Unreasonable Podcast, March 15, 2018.

Sam Harris, Hidden Motives, Waking Up with Sam Harris, March 12, 2018.

Shelly Irwin, The Elephant in the Brain, WGVU News Radio, March 8, 2018.

Nolan, Malone, Kullik, Matt Granite, Robin Hanson, Morning Show Feud, and Paul Reiser, Majic Morning Show, 1:08-1:18, March 6, 2018.

Scott Young, Elephant In The Brain (Book Club, February 2018), Book Club, March 5, 2018.

Joaquin Mayorga, El elefante en el carnaval, Estrellas Distantes, March 2, 2018.

Charles Lee, Frank Ling, Elephant Brain, Groks Science Show, February 28, 2018.

Tyler Cowen, Robin Hanson on Signaling and Self-Deception (Ep. 35), Conversations with Tyler, February 28, 2018. See also blog post.

Steven Zuber, Eneasz Brodski, 54 – Nothing Can Prepare You For Robin Hanson, Bayesian Conspiracy Podcast, February 28, 2018.

Mike Carruthers, 151 The REAL Reason Why You Do the Things You Do & Important Etiquette in the 21st Century, Something You Should Know, February 26, 2018.

Sarah Rice, Susie Meister, Ep198: Swimsuits, Sewers, and Secret Talents, Brain Candy Podcast, February 25, 2018.

Jon Perry, Ted Kupper, 077: Robin Hanson on The Elephant in the Brain, Review the Future, February 25, 2018.

Armen Shirvanian, An Interview With Kevin Simler And Dr. Robin Hanson, Interviews with scientists and informational authors, February 12, 2018.

Venkatesh Rao, The Elephant in the Brain, Ribbon Farm, January 30, 2018.

Rory Sutherland, A nice, cuddly NHS would be bad for us, The Spectator, January 20, 2018.

Adam Ford, Robin Hanson - The Elephant in the Brain, Science, Technology, and the Future, January 16, 2018.

Jacob Morgan, Hidden Motives In Everyday Life: How Our Brains Deceive Us At Work And In Life And Whether Or Not We Have The Power To Change, Future of Work Podcast, January 8, 2018.

Aaron Watson, 272 Unpacking the Instruments of Our Self-Deception with Kevin Simler & Robin Hanson, Going Deep Podcast, January 4, 2017.

David Wright, Robin Hanson Will Blow Your Mind. Not Unreasonable Podcast, January 3, 2017.

Tyler Cowen, *The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life*, Additions to my best books of the year list, Outline of the new Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler book, Marginal Revolution, January 3, 2018, December 24, February 20, 2017.

Phil Bowermaster, The Elephant in the Brain, World Transformed Podcast, January 2, 2018.

Issac Morehouse, 135 - Robin Hanson on 'The Elephant in the Brain', Issac Morehouse Podcast, January 1, 2018.

Frank Conway, 122: Robin Hanson on The Elephant In the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, Economic Rockstar Podcast, January 1, 2018.

David Scharfenberg, You're probably a jerk. We all are. Boston Globe, December 30, 2017.

Garrett Petersen, The Elephant in the Brain, Hidden Motives, And Self-Deception with Robin Hanson, Economics Detective Podcast, December 29, 2017.

Michael Covel, Ep. 615: Robin Hanson Interview with Michael Covel, Trend Following Podcast, December 15, 2017.

Matt Davio, Hidden Motives in Everyday Life w/ Robin Hanson, One Minute Trader Podcast, December 14, 2017.


See also reviews at Amazon and Goodreads.

"Much better than I expected. Simple idea, skillfully executed. Especially the chapter on self-deception … [and] medicine. … I found it too long, with later chapters spelling out again and again the same idea in different variations." Daniel Issing, My Year in Books, Medium, January 5, 2018.

"Although Elephant in the Brain is one the most cynical books I’ve read in quite a while, it is also one of the most interesting and provocative. … The idea that our deeper motivations are much more Machiavellian than we realize, and that we might actually be designed to self-deceive ourselves is not a fun theory, but it does seem to map onto reality better than most other explanations for sub-optimal behavior." John Leven, The Top 5 Books I Read in 2018, Unrestrained Curiosity, December 31, 2018.

"one major argument of the book is one I gravitate towards more and more since working in large corporate organizations as well as university administrations; things are rarely what they seem" William Carmichael, Book Look: The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, HR Professionals Magazine, December, 2018.

"It’s newly published & Ogilvy recommended. What’s apparent, reading it is that evolutionary psychology helps to reframe familiar questions, making them appear in a new light." Simon Shaw, Book Review – The Elephant in the Brain, changing my mind, June 22, 1018.

"There were three chapters that were engaging enough to make me forget that I didn't like the narrator: Religion, Education and Conspicuous Consumption. Art was pretty good too but not as compelling as the other three. I wouldn't recommend this to most people but it might be better to get the regular book and just read the good chapters!" Gina, November Book Reviews, Daily Express, November 13, 2018.

"is a unique new title in that it dives directly into the way that human beings hide our motives for our actions, even from ourselves, and how much of a disruptive impact it has on every single aspect of our lives." Thomas, The Elephant in the Brain – Book Review New Rationalist, November 14, 2018.

"You should read it, although I think most people don’t actually want to know its contents. … For that reason, I’m not sure this book will be popular. Most people write, and maybe think, based on slogans. … This book is likely to be read by weirdos who may not have much effect on the rest of society." Jake Seliger, The Elephant in the Brain – Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler, The Story's Story, November 11, 2018.

"For the most part, don’t people really care about doing the right thing for the right reasons? According to Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson’s beautifully cynical new book, “Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life,” the answer to this question is an emphatic no." Dan Williams, Am I The Sarah Huckabee Sanders Of My Brain?, Dan Williams Philosophy Blog, August 26, 2018.

"After finishing this book I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out why I didn’t think in these terms before. All the pieces were there. Elephant didn’t bring me much new information but it hammered its point home over 400 pages." John Nerst, Facing the Elephant, Everything Studies, August 24, 2018.

"Read with an open mind, it can not only raise questions about why humans act in certain ways, but also act as a call for institutions to be more honest about their motives, which could allow for better outcomes in a variety of fields." Bryan Kam, The Elephant in the Brain, Museless Aiming , August 16, 2018.

"At a time when accusations of 'bad faith' and 'virtue signaling' have become rampant on the internet, indicating a belief that our antagonists are not merely wrong but cynical and dishonest as well, the book offers a welcome reminder that much if not most of the time, we’re just honestly deluded." Park MacDougald, What You’re Really Arguing About When You Argue About Politics, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, August 15, 2018.

"Many of the details of Hanson and Simler’s thesis are persuasive, and the idea of an “introspective taboo” that prevents us from telling the truth to ourselves about our motives is worth contemplating. … Some of their most provocative ideas are in the area of education … I found that account painfully close to the reality of what modern schooling is like." John Lanchester, Can Economists and Humanists Ever Be Friends?, New Yorker, July 23, 2018.

"a genuinely terrific book; … the bottom line is that I learned a lot (about others & about myself) and had a lot of fun along the way. There was never a moment when I wanted to put this book down." Steve Landsburg, The Elephant in the Brain, The Big Questions, July 17, 2018.

"For those with a contrarian bent, reading Hanson and co is like the sweetest crack cocaine. … This is the best book I’ve read so far this year." Richard Meadows, The Madness Of Crowds, Deep Dish, July 9, 2018. Also, The Best of the Best Books I Read in 2018, Deep Dish, December 15, 2018.

"the most cheerfully cynical book I have read … successful people mostly already agree with the book’s core claim and behave accordingly, but explicit social consensus mostly denies or downplays particular instances of the claim" Paul Christiano, The Elephant in the Brain, Sideways View, July 8, 2018

"Buy the book; its a great read. Fun read; fairly quick. It looks longer than it is. … They don't waste pages; its very concise; its a lot of information." Nat Eliason, Neil Soni, Hidden Motives in Everyday Life. The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, Made You Think, June 12, 2018.

"The argument that Simler and Hanson make is rather comprehensive, and compelling. … The Elephant in the Brain comprises 300-plus pages of academic rigor on the magic tricks of the mind against—and for the benefit of—itself." Katherine Oktober Matthews, Nevertheless Unable to Escape Ourselves, Riding the Dragon, April 25, 2018.

"This is an intriguing book, very interesting and meant to be a little (or a lot) discomforting. … It is really fascinating, and well worth the read." Gretchen Wagner, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, Tulsa Book Review, April, 2018.

"I simply enjoyed the book so much. … Analyses a multitude of points that seem quite distinct, but in reality all come together at the end." Anirudh Pai, Slice of Insight: The Elephant in the Brain, , April 9, 2018.

"Pretty great, especially given the authors' own caveat that 'we are no doubt wrong in many places, not just in the details, but also in some larger conclusions' and that 'to demonstrate that hidden motives are common and important' they 'don’t need to be right about everything.' Though I wish it was more clearly flagged that one key reason much of the book is likely wrong is just that the underlying research is false, as must be true for ~all books summarizing large amounts of 'soft' science."

Luke Muehlhauser, Books, music, etc. from Q1 2018, Luke Muehlhauser blog, April 1, 2018.

"Every once in a while I come across a book that I know will have a large impact in the way I think about things. Currently it’s The Elephant In The Brain." A.J. Taylor, Robin Hanson and The Elephant in the Brain, Medium, March 25, 2018.

"I finished it in one night. Which doesn’t often happen anymore. … really well written … Its a great book. You guys rock." Jo, The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, Mighty Jo, March 19, 2018.

"Some implications of the thesis of The Elephant in the Brain, may change the way we look at social sciences and help us see how to really leave others alone." Shanu Athiparambath, You Hate the State, But Do You Hate Politics? How Self Deception and Coalitions Affect Society, The Daily Bell, March 14, 2018.

"a well-written analysis of human self-deception" Peter McCluskey, The Elephant in the Brain, Bayesian Investor Blog, January 31, 2018. "A great new book … So go grab the book. It’ll be required reading around these parts."

Venkatesh Rao, The Elephant in the Brain, Ribbon Farm, January 30, 2018.

"An entertaining and insightful book that sheds light on a diverse collection of perplexing human behaviors." Samuel Hammond, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life—A Review, Quilletee, January 28, 2018. "comprehensive … especially pertinent to designers … failed by existing design literature" Jackson Mohsenin, 16 Book Recommendations from the Quora Design Team, Quora Design, January 25, 2018.

"Jeder will ein guter Mensch sein. Deshalb demonstrieren wir ständig, wie sozial, kultiviert und gebildet wir sind – und belügen damit uns selbst. Das hat gravierende Folgen. Zum Beispiel beim Arzt order auf der Wohnungssuche." Von Tobias Kaiser, Das Problem mit unserem täglichen Selbstbetrug, Welt Am Sonntag, p.34, January 21, 2018.

"the best, most comprehensive, most powerful theory of human nature so far, an account that rigorously explains almost everything." Jason Brennan, You Should Read Simler and Hanson's *Elephant in the Brain*, Bleeding Heart Libertarians, January 18, 2018.

"a fabulous new book" "one of the five best books I have read in the last ten years" Rory Sutherland, A nice, cuddly NHS would be bad for us, The Spectator, January 20, 2018.

"It is a good book … It is because of this thought-provokingness and summarisation of dozens of books into a single one that I ultimately recommend the book for purchase." Artir Kel, This Review is not about reviewing The Elephant in the Brain, Nintil, January 16, 2018.

"A smart synthesis and offers several original metaphors. … Refreshingly frank and penetrating, leaving no stone of presumed human virtue unturned. The authors do not even spare themselves. … It is accessibly erudite." Matthew Hutson, Review: The Tangled Web We Weave, Wall Street Journal, p. A13, January 12, 2018.

"very readable … there are some excellent passages, and some wonderful ideas, but there are also many ideas which are in sore need of greater defence. It's worth reading, quite possibly more than once, but it is not - in my view - Book-of-the-year level good." Andrew, The Elephant in the Brain: some notes, Cafe de la Regence, January 9, 2018.

"I find the general framework deeply insightful, and his presentation to be more clear, analytical, and descriptive than other accounts. … At long last, Hanson and his co-author Kevin Simler have written a nice book that largely satisfies me: The Elephant in the Brain. I highly recommend it." Jess Riedel, Comments on Simler and Hanson, ForeXiv, January 5, 2018.

"A fantastic synthesis of subversive social scientific insight into hidden (or less apparent) motives of human behaviour, and hidden (or less apparent) functions of institutions." Tristan Haze, Two Critical Remarks on The Elephant in the Brain, Sprachlogik, January 3, 2017.

"I highly recommend the book. … This adds up to [my] buying about 90% of claims. For a book making so many bold claims, that's very good." Zvi Mowshowitz, Book Review: The Elephant in the Brain, Don't Worry About The Vase, December 31, 2017.

"Lots of Fun" Jamie Brandon, Notes on 'The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life', Scattered Thoughts December 29, 2017.

"By the end of the book, I was still not sure that I felt comfortable with the objectivity of the thesis, but acknowledge that it is a theory that resonates and an argument that has been well put together." Diarmuid, The Elephant in the brain – Book review, Managerial monkey business, December 28, 2017.

"A thoroughly enjoyable and easily digestible read on a difficult subject." Kieran McCarthy, Simler and Hanson on Our Hidden Motivations in Everyday Life, Joyous and Swift, December 14, 2017.

"Fascinating and accessible introduction to an important subject" The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, Publishers Weekly, July 24, 2017.


Upcoming Talks

Past Talks


“One of the five best books I have read in the last ten years.”
Rory Sutherland, Editor at The Spectator
“Charles Darwin, Dan Kahneman and Malcolm Gladwell walk into a bar.... It's no joke! Reading The Elephant in the Brain is like eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation among a group of well-read and clever iconoclasts as they speculate on why we vote against our economic interests, spend too much on health care, give to the wrong charities and pray to gods we aren’t sure really exist.”
Steven Pearlstein, Columnist at The Washington Post; Pulitzer Prize Winner
“If you want to know what makes people tick, read The Elephant in the Brain. Simler and Hanson have created the most comprehensive, powerful, unified explanation of human nature and behavior to date.”
Jason Brennan, Professor of Business, Georgetown University
“This book will make you see the world in a whole new light.”
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg columnist; author of The Great Stagnation
The Elephant in the Brain is a masterpiece.”
Scott Aaronson, Director, Quantum Information Center, University of Texas, Austin
“In this ingenious and persuasive book, Simler and Hanson mischievously reveal that much of our behavior is for social consumption: we make decisions that make us look good, rather than good decisions.”
Hugo Mercier, Research Scientist, French Institute for Cognitive Sciences
“A thoughtful examination of the human condition.”
David Biello, Science Curator at TED, author of The Unnatural World
“A disturbing and important book.”
Arnold Kling, author of The Three Languages of Politics
“Simler and Hanson have done it again — a big new idea, well told.”
Gregory Benford, Professor of Physics, University of California, Irvine, 2x Nebula Award winner, author of The Berlin Project
“Deeply important, wide-ranging, beautifully written, and fundamentally right.”
Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, author of The Case Against Education
“This is the most unconventional and uncomfortable self-help book you will ever read. But probably also the most important.”
Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at MIT; coauthor of Machine | Platform | Crowd
“Thorough, insightful, fun to read, with the slight negative that everything is now ruined forever.”
Zach Weinersmith, author of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
“This book will change how you see the world.”
Allan Dafoe, Professor of Political Science, Yale University
“A captivating book about the things your brain does not want you to know.”
Jaan Tallinn, Founder of Skype, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, and Future of Life Institute
“It’s hard to overstate how impactful this book is.”
Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
“An eye opening look at how we deceive ourselves in order to deceive others.”
Ramez Naam, author of Nexus
“A provocative and compellingly readable account of how and why we lie to our rivals, our friends, and ourselves.”
Steven Landsburg, Professor of Economics, University of Rochester
“Simler and Hanson reveal what’s beneath our wise veneer – a maelstrom of bias and rationalization that we all must – for survival’s sake - help each other overcome.”
David Brin, 2x Hugo winner, author of Existence
“A thoughtful and provocative book.”
Andrew Gelman, Professor of Statistics, Columbia University
“Simler and Hanson uncover the hidden and darker forces that shape much of what we say and do.”
William MacAskill, Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University, author of Doing Good Better
“There are only a few people alive today worth listening to. Robin Hanson is one of them.”
Ralph Merkle, co-inventor of public key cryptography
“Brilliantly written and entertaining on every page.”
Alex Tabarrok, author of Modern Principles of Economics