Universal History of Stupidity

Original title: Histoire universelle de la connerie

Publication Date:

October 2019



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

Italy (Nuova Ipsa)
Romania (Litera)
South Korea (WillBooks)
Arabic (Hayat)


History, Psychology

Foreign Covers

Will Books

Universal History of Stupidity

Original title: Histoire universelle de la connerie


Stupidity: a good thing that we all have and Humanity shares it as a whole. A fun and enlightening reading! –  Europe 1, Un livre pour l’été

Stupidity, a mixture of ignorance and arrogance that isn’t opposed to intelligence, but to wisdom. The stupid man believes that he is right, knows everything, and often cultivates cruelty. – Radio-Canada, Dessine-moi un dimanche

The topic of this study may seem absurd, yet it is so obvious that we wonder why no one had thought about it sooner. Studying idiots is the goal set by psychologist Jean-François Marmion in Psychology of Stupidy published in 2018. This year, he was interested in the history of human stupidity, and published Universal History of Stupidity. What if putting the stupidity of yesterday and today into perspective, could help us imagine a less dark future? –  Vice

A bad fairy with a thousand faces has looked at the cradle of humanity: bullshit. It walks with us, faithful among the faithful, reinventing itself over the centuries and cultures. It castigates differences, enslaves, stirs up violence, cultivates cruelty, deflects technological advances, betrays political hopes, gangrene ideologies, and destroys the planet. It’ll follow our species to the grave, and maybe dig it. The worst part is that we are more often its accomplices than its victims!

From the Neolithic to the present day, more than thirty historians have told us the naked and mischievous truth about stupidity.

Edited by Jean-François Marmion, Psychologist and editor-in-chief of the journal Le Cercle Psy, editor of The Psychology of Stupidity.

Contributors: Antoine de Baecque, Jean-Patrice Boudet, Vincent Capdepuy, Anne Carol, Elisabeth de Castex, Sylvie Chaperon, Myriam Cottias, Aurélie Damet, Rolf Dobelli, Bruno Dumézil, Jean-Paul Demoule, Jean-François Dortier, Christian Duquennoi, Gilles Ferragu, Marc Ferro, Stéphane Feuillas, Martine Fournier, Anthony Goreau, Martine Groult, Virginie Larousse, Patrick Lemoine, Jean-François Marmion, George Marshall, Florence Maruéjol, Chantal Meyer-Plantureux, Alain Montandon, Marylène Patou-Mathis, Steven Pinker, Émilie Ponceaud, Robert Sutton, Laurent Testot, Marie Treps, Jacques Vauclair, Paul Veyne, Catherine Vidrovitch.

Table of contents

  1. The prehistory of bullshit, Jean-Paul Demoule
  2. Is bullshit man’s own business? Jacques Vauclair
  3. The natural selection of assholes, interview with Steven Pinker
  4. Have we always been violent? Marylène Patou-Mathis
  5. Bullshit in Egypt, Florence Maruéjol
  6. The Greek bullshit, Aurélie Damet
  7. Seneca versus Twitter, interview with Rolf Dobelli
  8. Were the barbarians assholes? Bruno Dumézil
  9. Bullshit and the Middle Ages, interview with Jean-Patrice Boudet
  10. Bullshit and religion, Virginie Larousse
  11. Bullshit according to Buddhism, Laurent Testot
  12. Bullshit in India, Emilie Ponceaud and Anthony Goreau
  13. Bullshit in China, Stéphane Feuillas
  14. From the Silk Road to the Information Highways, the import-export of bullshit, Laurent Testot
  15. Bullshit according to the Enlightenment, Martine Groult
  16. Bullshit and slavery, Myriam Cottias
  17. Colonialism, Marc Ferro
  18. Colonialism: the African case, Catherine Vidrovitch
  19. History of racist insults, Marie Treps
  20. Antisemitism and homophobia in the show, Chantal Meyer-Plantureux
  21. History of sexism, Martine Fournier
  22. Bullshit about feminine sexuality, interview with Sylvie Chaperon
  23. The Fear of Cretinism during the 20’s, Antoine de Baecque
  24. Dandysm, an answer to bullshit, Alain Montandon
  25. Medical errors, Anne Carol
  26. Bullshit and madness, Patrick Lemoine
  27. The bullshit of peoples, from the will of power to the desire for normality, interview with Paul Veyne
  28. The arms race, Vincent Capdepuy
  29. Terrorism, Gilles Ferragu
  30. Globalization, a global bullshit? Vincent Capdepuy
  31. Bullshit in Silicon Valley, interview with Robert Sutton
  32. Homo detritus: the long history of our waste, Christian Duquennoi
  33. Transhumanism: the future of bullshit? Elisabeth de Castex
  34. Are we too stupid to save the world? Interview with George Marshall
  35. Bullshit, the engine of history, Jean-François Dortier

Marketing Information

  • 24,000 copies sold
  • Under option: World English, Portugal, Korea, Poland, the Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, China, World Spanish




Foreign Covers

Will Books