Who knew there was so much to being wrong? it's not a bad book and not a collection of wrong actions, although there is some of that. It is a thesis on being wrong and points out some aspects of being wrong that I never considered. All in all, not bad.
A thought-provoking look at what makes us fallible as mere mortals. Kudos to Schulz on many counts . . . except she seemed hesitant to dig deeply into the -- albeit difficult -- fields of religion and monogamy. Otherwise, an insightful and important book.
This book focused on many of the heuristics detailed in Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. Like David McRaney, in his book You Are Not So Smart, Schulz is a bit more relatable than Kahneman, which makes the study of heuristics (fallible thinking), easier to digest. Unlike McRaney, Schulz does a much better job of making arguments that do not fall prey to the very heuristics being argued against. She got tripped up a few times, in that her argument for one thing could just as easily have been used to argue for the opposite position. Despite her succumbing a few times to obvious heuristics, this book was considerably better quality than Raney's You Are Not So Smart.
One of my favorite things about it was her unapologetic argument for the value of heuristics. At the end of the day, Schulz views the brain as a probability machine. Instead of the brain being a stupid fallible organ, Schulz sees it as brilliant and right much of the time, and accepts that a percent of the time, it will get things wrong. The wrongness arises not from the fallibility of the brain, but from its absolutely brilliant strategy of calculating the probabilities. I fear I made this part of her argument sound slightly boring. It was not. This argument in particular was the highlight of the book. I probably would have given it 5 stars if not for the last chapter. I felt slightly annoyed, like it was a bit preachy. But, I am not certain if it really was. It might have been a bad fit for me, but could be a great way to end the book for other readers.
No matter how much I liked this book, no book on heuristics could be better than Tarvis' Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me. I looked up Tarvis and it appears that she might even be a self help type of writer. This is shocking to me because I loath self help books, unless they have actual studies to back up their claims and those studies have robust methods. For me, most self-help books are the new snake oil. But Tarvis' book was not simply one of the best books I have read on fallible thinking but one of the best books I have ever read period. Somehow she avoids, more so than Schulz and significantly more so than McRaney, tripping over the very fallibility she argues against. To me, that is quite impressive. So, Schulz's book was really good, but not up to par with Travis. If I were to rank books on decision making, the order would be as follows:
1. Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow (it is the seminal work and has myriad studies but a tiny bit dry at times)
2. Tarvis' Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me (the writing was fantastic and every page causes the self reflective reader a mini existential crisis)
3. Being Wrong by Schulz
4. I feel certain there are many books I have not read that are better than the next choice
N. McRaney's You Are Not So Smart.
If you are only going to read one book, make it Tarvis' Mistakes were Made. If you are willing to read more than one book (because, let's face it, your brains is super interesting and probably a bit narcissistic and would love it if you gave it multiple books to read about itself), then I highly recommend Schulz book as well.
I've wanted to read this book for a couple years...ever since I saw Kathryn Schulz TED talk on the same subject. The book did not disappoint. It's a book I feel like everyone would be better off for reading. She combines research with anecdotes and personal stories to explain how valuable being wrong really is.
Yes. I wasn't fond of the delivery. I thought the narrator was a bit 'wooden'. But the content more than makes up for it.
Schulz occupies a philosophical niche long overdue- a look at error. She examines why we err drawing heavily on the work of William Hirstein, what being wrong means and ends with a kind of therapeutic outlook. She notes that realizations of being wrong can be an existential crisis for the person who undergoes a conversion, a loss of identity and she explores several cases of it. This work is comprehensive and the reader should not expect a simplistic, Malcolm Gladwell style exposition. Despite the detail she is often hilarious and entertaining. Everyone should dedicate a week to sitting down and reading this masterpiece. I'm very glad I did.
I think this is a very good book on an important topic. The book made me more thoughtful about my fallibility.
One thing I really liked about this book is that I could learn a lot of new things in various areas like Psychology, Philosophy, Science, History etc in addition to the main points of the book. I think I am a better person after listening to this book and I hope that I can apply the things I learned in this book for a better life.
On a final note, I think this book can be a value addition to everyone. It has in great detail the author's perspective on human fallibility and how its benefits can be unleashed.