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Suspicious Minds summary

Rob Brotherton

Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

3.5 (59 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

'Suspicious Minds' by Rob Brotherton explores the psychology behind conspiracy theories and why we fall for them. It challenges the way we think and encourages us to approach information with a critical eye.

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    Suspicious Minds
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    Conspiracy theories are the result of unanswered questions and our own natural instincts.

    Maybe someone has knowingly told you that 9/11 was an inside job planned by the US government; or that climate change isn’t real; or that Elvis is still alive and working at a gas station in Kentucky. These are just a few of today’s popular conspiracy theories. But have you ever wondered where these strange stories come from?

    Conspiracy theories like these are the result of unanswered questions.

    We’re attracted to conspiracy theories because they provide an explanation to a question that has been left unresolved. Or maybe the question has been given an official answer, but there is still contrary evidence that hasn’t yet been properly addressed.

    For example, many popular conspiracy theories of our day revolve around the events of 9/11 and unanswered questions such as: Did Al Qaeda orchestrate the attack or did the US government need a reason to start a war in the Middle East? Or, was Osama Bin Laden really killed or is the CIA keeping him alive somewhere in Washington, DC?

    Conspiracy theorists take questions like these and then furnish unconventional answers: Bin Laden died of natural causes soon after 9/11 but the US government covered this up in order to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It’s natural to think that conspiracy theories like these are simply crazy. However, having such misgivings is also a natural human instinct.

    You may have heard a conspiracy theorist’s voice in your own head from time to time. Perhaps you’ve asked yourself: How can global warming be real when it’s been so cold these past few years? Now just add some natural suspicion about the government and suddenly that thought becomes a conspiracy involving evil scientists trying to control world politics!

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    What is Suspicious Minds about?

    Conspiracy theorists are everywhere. In fact, you might be one of them yourself! Have you ever questioned the official accounts of, say, 9/11 or the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Suspicious Minds (2015) reveals why we look for extreme answers to tragic events and explains that there’s much more to conspiracy theories than tinfoil hats and UFOs.

    Suspicious Minds Review

    Suspicious Minds (2015) by Rob Brotherton explores the intriguing world of conspiracy theories and why they capture our imaginations. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It delves into the psychology behind conspiracy theories, helping readers understand why they are so captivating and pervasive.
    • Through extensive research and analysis, the book debunks popular myths and offers a balanced perspective on the mysterious world of conspiracy theories.
    • By examining historical events and psychological phenomena, it provokes critical thinking and encourages readers to question their own beliefs and biases.

    Best quote from Suspicious Minds

    Approximately 40 percent of US citizens believe that climate change was invented by scientists and the government as an excuse to infringe on civilian rights.

    —Rob Brotherton
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    Who should read Suspicious Minds?

    • People who are suspicious about 9/11
    • Anyone interested in conspiracy theories
    • Psychology students

    About the Author

    Rob Brotherton is a writer and academic psychologist. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at both Barnard College and Columbia University, and specializes in the psychology behind conspiracy theories.

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    Suspicious Minds FAQs 

    What is the main message of Suspicious Minds?

    The main message of Suspicious Minds is that our brains are wired to find patterns and make connections, sometimes leading to conspiratorial thinking.

    How long does it take to read Suspicious Minds?

    The reading time for Suspicious Minds varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Suspicious Minds a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Suspicious Minds is a thought-provoking book that explores the psychology behind conspiratorial thinking. It's definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of Suspicious Minds?

    The author of Suspicious Minds is Rob Brotherton.

    What to read after Suspicious Minds?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Suspicious Minds, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Reality Game by Samuel Woolley
    • Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch
    • Flat Earth News by Nick Davies
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber
    • Think This, Not That by Josh Axe
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • The Situation Room by George Stephanopoulos
    • Behave by Robert Sapolsky
    • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
    • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday