YANSS Podcast 018 – How Benjamin Franklin dealt with haters

The Topic: The Benjamin Franklin Effect

The Episode: Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Soundcloud


Benjamin Franklin knew how to deal with haters, and in this episode we learn how he turned his haters into fans with what is now called The Benjamin Franklin Effect (read more about the effect here).

Listen as David McRaney reads an excerpt from his book, “You Are Now Less Dumb,” explaining the psychology behind the effect and how the act of spreading harm forms the attitude of hate, and the act of spreading kindness generates the attitude of camaraderie.


Time Magazine: 1 in 4 Americans Apparently Unaware the Earth Orbits the Sun



  • Batson, C. Daniel, Diane Kobrynowicz, Jessica L. Dinnerstein, Hannah C. Kampf, et al. “In a Very Different Voice: Unmasking Moral Hypocrisy.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 72, no. 6 (1997): 1335–348.
  • Cacioppo, John T., Joseph R. Priester, and Gary G. Berntson. “Rudimentary Determinants of Attitudes: II. Arm Flexion and Extension Have Differential Effects on Attitudes.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65, no. 1 (1993): 5–17.
  • Festinger, Leon, and James M. Carlsmith.“Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 58, no. 2 (1959): 203–10.
  • Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Ed. Frank Woodworth Pine. Garden City, NY: Garden City Pub., 1916.
  • Jecker, Jon, and David Landy. “Liking a Person as a Function of Doing Him a Favour.” Human Relations 22, no. 4 (1969): 371–78.
  • Myers, D. G. Social Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Schopler, John, and John S. Compere. “Effects of Being Kind or Harsh to Another on Liking.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 20, no. 2 (1971): 155–59.
  • Tavris, Carol, and Elliot Aronson. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007.
  • Wicker, Allan W. “Attitudes Versus Actions: The Relationship of Verbal and Overt Behavioral Responses to Attitude Objects.” Journal of Social Issues 25, no. 4 (1969): 41–78.
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The Overjustification Effect

The Misconception: There is nothing better in the world than getting paid to do what you love.

The Truth: Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane because you attribute your motivation as coming from the reward, not your internal feelings.

Office Space – Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Money isn’t everything. Money can’t buy happiness. Don’t live someone else’s dream. Figure out what you love and then figure out how to get paid doing it.

Maxims like these often find their way into your social media; they arrive in your electronic mailbox at the ends of dense chains of forwards. They bubble up from the collective sighs of well-paid boredom around the world and get routinely polished for presentation in graduation speeches and church sermons.

Money, fame, and prestige – they dangle just outside your reach it seems, encouraging you to lean farther and farther over the edge, to study longer and longer, to work harder and harder. When someone reminds you that acquiring currency while ignoring all else shouldn’t be your primary goal in life, it feels good. You retweet it. You post it on your wall. You forward it, and then you go back to work.

If only science had something concrete to say about the whole thing, you know? All these living greeting cards dispensing wisdom are great and all, but what about really putting money to the test? Does money buy happiness? In 2010, scientists published the results of a study looking into that very question.

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