David Levy

American psychologist

David Anthony Levy (born 1954) is an American psychologist, professor, author, stage director and actor. He has provided psychological perspectives on current events in numerous broadcast and publication media, and is co-author of an internationally best-selling textbook on cross-cultural psychology and critical thinking.

"The human capacity for denial and rationalization is always shocking, but never surprising."


"Insight is the booby prize of life."
  • Insight is the booby prize of life.
    • Tools of Critical Thinking: Metathoughts for Psychology (1997)

Humor in Psychotherapy (2007)

Humor in Psychotherapy: Lectures delivered at Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education and Psychology (2007)
  • There are only three things needed to eliminate human misery. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.
  • The human capacity for denial and rationalization is always shocking, but never surprising.
  • Intuition is usually the first word, and is sometimes the last word, but should never be the only word.
  • I would do anything to keep indulging...including quitting indulging.
  • Nowadays, the absence of catastrophic news is great news.
  • Don’t worry, there will always be something to worry about.
  • When a psychoanalyst takes on the role of a blank screen, all he really learns is how the patient responds to people who try to act like they’re a blank screen.
  • When it’s bad, I get depressed; when it’s good, I get nervous.
  • Social psychology is the scientific study of the obvious, which invariably leads to conflicting results.
  • Facts are like kryptonite to teenagers.
  • To the optimist, pessimists are neurotic; to the pessimist, optimists are deluded.
  • There are two types of people in this world — those who think that there are two types of people in this world, and those who don’t.
  • I used to fear that taking medication would change my personality; now I fear that it won’t.
  • To be neurotic is to spend one’s life perpetually replacing one worry with the next.
  • Things could always be worse. In fact, the overwhelming odds are that they will be.
  • All’s well that changes least.
  • Emotion trumps logic.
  • Winning isn’t as fun as losing is miserable.
  • It always is...until it's not.

Quotes about Levy

  • Levy’s style combines erudition with simplicity and earnestness with humor. The result is clear and compelling, accessible to lay persons and mental health professionals alike.
    • Thomas Szasz, State University of New York at Syracuse, in publisher's excerpt for Tools of Critical Thinking: Metathoughts for Psychology (1997)
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