Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Book - 2015
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"Entertaining, illuminating and--when you recognize yourself in the stories it tells--mortifying." -- Wall Street Journal

"Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made--but not in this book!" --Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Why is it so hard to say "I made a mistake"--and really believe it?

When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right--a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by years of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me ) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification--how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. This updated edition features new examples and concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.

"A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians--and all of us--pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and--if we're honest--ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer." --Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

Publisher: Boston : Mariner Books, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780544574786
Branch Call Number: 153 Tav
Characteristics: xiv, 378 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Aronson, Elliot - Author


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AbigailCurious Nov 29, 2014

the concept is mindblowing.

Aug 27, 2012

The beginning of the book is GREAT! The second half is more application and repetition.

Aug 29, 2011

A very good read, but it got a little heavy into the psychological research a few times, which might make some want to put it down.

Cdnbookworm Jun 21, 2011

This book takes a look at behaviour: people dodging responsibility when things go wrong, public figures unwilling to take responsibility for mistakes they make, people blind to the hypocrisy they exhibit to others, and goes after the reasons behind them. Making mistakes affects our feelings about ourselves and we are wired to lessen that feeling of cognitive dissonance. We do this by standing by our decisions, making excuses and explanations, and expanding the blame to others (i.e. he started it). Often this means that others lose respect for us, and we exacerbate the original mistake. As the authors did the research they discovered that knowing about this instinct doesn't mean you are immune to it, but at least being aware means that you can choose to stop when you see yourself going down that road. They give real life examples from false memory syndrome to wrongful convictions, from mistakes in the workplace to marital relations. I recognized myself and the society I live in. This book looks at how we self-justify and why, showing that we minimize our own actions or their effects whenever possible and make excuses when we can't minimize. This drives us further away from an honest accounting and real resolution. Required reading, particularly for those in a position of power or authority.

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