Weaving together historical examples, scientific studies, and compelling court cases - from the border collie put on trial in Kentucky to the five teenagers who falsely confessed in the Central Park Jogger case - Benforado shows how our judicial processes fail to uphold our values and protect society's weakest members. With clarity and passion, he lays out the scope of the problem and proposes a wealth of reforms that could prevent injustice and help us achieve true fairness and equality before the law.
©2015 Original Material by Adam Benforado, c/o Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
"As gripping as a Grisham novel, only it isn't fiction. With captivating ease and razor-sharp science, Adam Benforado puts the justice system on trial and makes a bulletproof argument that it's fundamentally broken. This extraordinary book is a must-read for every judge, lawyer, detective, and concerned citizen in America." (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times best-selling author of Give and Take)
"Systems of justice are built by human brains. As such, they're subject to all the foibles of human psychology, from biased decision-making to xenophobia to false memories. With the eye of a scholar and the ear of a storyteller, Benforado marshals the burgeoning research to illuminate the nexus between law and the mind sciences." (David Eagleman, PhD, Neuroscientist, Director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, New York Times best-selling author of Incognito)
"Adam Benforado's Unfair is a beautifully written book that manages to be both engrossing and important - a fascinating blend of psychological insight, legal know-how, and compelling storytelling. If you've ever wondered why the legal system doesn't work as well as it should, Benforado's intelligent take on the relationship between human psychology and the law will enlighten you - and leave you hopeful that we're capable of doing better." (Adam Alter, New York Times best-selling author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, Associate Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, Affiliated appointment, NYU psychology department)
I was recommended this book via the Cracked podcast, and I fully appreciate the recommendation. I cannot say I enjoyed it, as the truths shared are harsh, painful even. Despite that I believe this an excellent work: truly it must have required great effort to amass the information within. If you have any interest in the legal system, believe in the justice of American courts or, like myself, have doubts as to their efficacy, I would strongly suggest this book.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
Unfair is an important book in explaining the problems and issues in the US criminal justice system. My issue with the book is that Professor Benforado repeatedly violates his own statement in the first chapter that one should not assume that correlation necessarily implied causation. In his examples he makes exactly that mistake again and again and again and again. He does so to make points that cannot be logically supported. I expect better of a tenured law professor.
Intolerant of pretense
Lots of compelling data, interesting studies, disturbing case histories - but it all eventually sinks into a morass of repetitious rhetoric and ambiguous calls for reform. Look, I agree with the author about the need for reform and already knew much of what he reports about institutional bias, the unreliability of memory and so on. But his few sensible reforms (problem courts, procedures to tease out and counter bias) are lost amid a lot more that's just pie in the sky absurd: virtual trials without face to face contact, elimination of eyewitness testimony, etc. And the endless rhetoric about justice and unfairness and on and on eventually just conceals in the brain and buries the nuggets of good sense. By the end, he's even equating plea bargaining to medieval torture. A good message from a bumbling, untethered messenger. I was hoping for a real road map to the incremental reforms that are realistic and instead got an impossible dream of "blameless" justice, whatever that means. Might still recommend it for the data and case studies early on, but the last chapters are just a mess.
The book is absolutely groundbreaking.
It needs to be read as soon as possible by as many people as possible if we are to have any chance of reforming our utterly unfair system.
This book should make you mad. Of course, you need to remember that making you mad is kind of its goal, because emotional responses create better word of mouth.
It's definitely worth the time to consume his book, in print or audio.
The reader sounds like a poor man/ Paul Giomatti.
This book, about the fairness and unfairness of our criminal justice system, starts out with a bang. I was riveted. Every hour, though, and I felt the book drag a little more. Too much repetition with not as many fascinating anecdotes. Even though I stopped when I was about two-thirds of the way through this, the good parts were so good that I still recommend this. It is important and interesting material. It just suffered from a lack of good editing, so I just self-edited it. This book did succeed in getting me to look at criminal justice in a new way. Very good narration.
Say something about yourself!
Benforado applies a thorough review of recebt findings in behavioral economics and human psychology to our legal system. The result shows how our systems of "blind" justice can routinely fall prey to the shortcomings of human perception and cognition.
I enjoyed his many examples, thorough and reasonable tone, and concrete suggestions forward. If you expect the author is going to sound the PC alarm on a social justice crusade, that's not this book. The author simply points to findings well documented in other sciences and applies them to a new field.
This book raises issues that desperately need to be addressed by governments. The costs of not doing so are too high for any society that takes its duties seriously. Don’t take it from me -- take it from these guys.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
― Nelson Mandela
“It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape.”
― Thomas Jefferson
“You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners”.
― Fyodor Dostoevsky
LIKED BEST: (1) I really learned a lot from the book about how our justice system works, and how lawyers manipulate court rooms and juries. I'm glad I read this if I am ever selected to be on a jury pool sometime in the future. (2) Mr Benforado has some really surprise and good suggestions on how to fix our judicial system.
LIKED LEAST: The author writes about the tactics used by lawyers manipulate juries, and then later goes onto use those same tactics to manipulate you on issues he wants you to agree with his point. I do NOT agree with all the author's stances. KEEP YOUR THINKING CAP ON when you are reading this; you may not be swayed on all points either if you see what the author is trying to do.
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