Hodder & Stoughton has pre-empted The Intelligence Trap by award-winning BBC science journalist David Robson within 24 hours of submission.
Drummond Moir, publisher at Hodder & Stoughton Non-Fiction, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to the book, subtitled Why Smart People Make Stupid Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, from Carrie Plitt at Felicity Bryan Associates, in what the agency is counting as one of Plitt’s first "major" deals since joining FBA.
The Intelligence Trap blends cutting-edge research from diverse areas of psychology, neuroscience and philosophy to demonstrate the many counterintuitive ways that intelligence can lead to failure – and to build an argument for a wiser way of thinking. Hodder and Stoughton will publish in 2019.
Moir, who pre-empted the rights based on Robson's proposal, said the submission was "exemplary" and "could not have arrived at a more perfect time", following the politics of the past year.
"If the political and ideological upheavals of the past 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that even those among us who would claim to be smart, rational, intelligent people often get things utterly wrong," he said. "Drawing on recent research in psychology, David Robson will show, for the first time, that supposedly smart people are not only just as prone to errors of judgement and bias blind spots as everyone else – they may be even more susceptible to them. Along the way he’ll explain why consumer fraud victims are almost twice as likely to have a university degree compared to the general population, and why people with IQs of more than 140 are also more than twice as likely to exceed their credit limit. Perfect for fans of international bestsellers such as Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit or Rolf Dobelli’s The Art of Thinking Clearly, this superb book will force us to reassess our notions of intelligence, and hopefully even help us sidestep the occasional intellectual landmine."
Plitt said: "For me, David Robson has written the perfect smart-thinking proposal: it’s well written, rigorously researched, has a brilliant idea behind it, and is packed with loads of facts and practical tips about how we can all be wiser. I certainly have had to re-evaluate some of my own assumptions about intelligence, and I now understand the science behind mistakes ranging from the Oscar best-picture mix-up to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. I’ve been blown away by Drummond and his team at Hodder’s enthusiasm for it, and couldn’t be more pleased that this is one of my first major deals at Felicity Bryan Associates."
Robson added: "Ever since I first took an IQ test at school, I’ve been fascinated by the question of intelligence, and the reasons that it rarely prevents us from acting stupidly. Now psychological research can explain why, with insights that can help anyone avoid those errors, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with Hodder & Stoughton to bring this cutting-edge work to a wider audience."