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Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts | [Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson]

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception.
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Publisher's Summary

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception - how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.

©2008 Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Thanks, in part, to the scientific evidence it provides and the charm of its down-to-earth, commonsensical tone, Mistakes Were Made is convincing. 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)

"By turns entertaining, illuminating and—when you recognize yourself in the stories it tells—mortifying." (The Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Catherine J. Pondozzi Laurel, Maryland 11-04-12
    Catherine J. Pondozzi Laurel, Maryland 11-04-12 Member Since 2013

    I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha

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    "This book is priecless for saving time & energy"

    Although this book reads like a pschological text book it is no less facsinating in scope. It explains the phenomena of justifying ones actions in such a way that will free up a person from wasting their time arguing with others & give a real insight into why this happens to just about everyone. Like pshycholigist know so well, much of what we do is based on learned information. Having this kind of insight can only be of the highest help in dealing with others & with ourselves too. Praise, praise, praise for the educational value this book gives.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorina Vancouver, WA, United States 02-11-11
    Dorina Vancouver, WA, United States 02-11-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Buying the paper version, the reader is terrible."

    First off, I am sorely disappointed in some of the reviewers for failing to see beyond context. It's not about taking a side in politics, but about pulling out psychological phenomenon REGARDLESS of who ends up looking bad. Such is science. Science doesn't care about your politics it only cares about the truth. Clinton's foibles are brought in to play right alongside Bush's...again, science doesn't care about politics or making waves by uncovering things people would rather not deal with, it only cares about truth.


    Cognitive Dissonance could probably be named as the driving force of humanity. And the driving force of the politically heated bad reviews.


    As for this audiobook...it almost put me to sleep. The reader is absolutely terrible. She sounds like an automated computer. Sentences are run together such that you don't even feel the periods, paragraphs are in a monotone. It's not her voice that is unpleasant, it's the way she reads it. The paper version is engaging, this audiobook is not. You could have a better reader by letting your Kindle voice the words...ugh.


    Save your money and make a note NOT to buy this or any other books read by Marsha Mercant.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 02-13-14
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Overall Good Book"

    This is a good book but it starts out with politics and a presumption that everyone feels the way the authors do, a common academic mistake - why do we make such mistakes? Anyhow, I think of the book frequently - getting past the politics, it was good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam bundaberg, Australia 03-16-13
    Sam bundaberg, Australia 03-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Don't let the start fool you"

    This book's introduction speaks about American politics and the Watergate scandal, but instead of being a hook for me, it almost convinced me to swap to another book. Fortunately, I stuck it out and wound up listening to the whole thing in two sessions.

    Using several different topics as frameworks, the authors work their way through many different aspects of how we delude ourselves and commit to mistakes. It is easy to follow and makes it simple to apply the lessons learned to your own mistakes. Genuinely interesting almost all of the way through with solid content and well-chosen examples, this is my best read in quite a while.

    The narration occasionally switches between the male and female speaker and while this was initially distracting, it soon became natural and fitted well with the professional quality of the narration overall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Armando L. Franco Carrillo Ensenada, Mexico 09-22-12
    Armando L. Franco Carrillo Ensenada, Mexico 09-22-12 Member Since 2014
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    "It almost got 5 stars from me."
    If you could sum up Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) in three words, what would they be?

    "They are right" In their minds, everyone is always right, and can't go back. If the authors had given more solutions, I would have given the book 5 stars. Even without solutions it is a great book that raises a great point.


    What other book might you compare Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) to and why?

    Getting out of no, that mentions you need to create a golden bridge for the other party to retreat out of their position. Mistakes were made explains again and again why they will not go back, using the pyramid model to show how by taking small steps from a common point two people can end up having a huge wall between them.How to win friends, because it says: "don't complain nor criticize" and that people do not take blame for anything. The demon haunted world, because it talks about UFO abductions and cults.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The one with the couples, because it was one of the few sections that proposed solutions.


    If you could give Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Why they will not go back.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the female narrator's voice and style. It is so easy to listen to her, I will look for another book read by her.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 10-06-12
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 10-06-12 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "No Mistake buying this Audio"

    This book has a very interesting premise: that most of the problems we face in life are because we do not accept responsibility for our actions. People spend a great deal of time engaged in self-justification for hurtful actions.

    One of the primary examples is what happened with the pre-school sex abuse scandals in the 90's. One of the most infamous started with accusations by a woman whom, it was later discovered, was mentally ill. Other parents at the school believed her, and children recounted improbable stories of abuse at the urging and direction of therapists and law enforcement.

    "Mistakes Were Made" discusses the falibility of memory, and source confusion. In the example of the children making the accusations, leading questions became facts for the children. The same type of source confusion happens to adults.

    When the therapists and law enforcement investigated the alleged abuse, they failed to notice that the children's stories were improbable. The investigators self-justified their failure to correlate the facts, and so many lives were ruined.

    There is an extensive discussion of cognitive disonance, which is worth an entire book on its own. False memories are sometimes created to resolve cognitive disonance.

    I did question the concept of "self-justification" as it applies to organizations, such as companies and countries. The authors treated those groups as if the groups were an individual entity. I didn't see any support for the position that a group somehow develops a consciousness and works to reduce cognitive disonance.

    The performance was good. It's the first Audible Book I have listened to with two narrators that worked well.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Perry L. Porter 03-28-15
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    "I learned about myself & Mormon church mistakes."

    I learned about myself justification in my relationships with others and I saw many samples in my Mormon church history where we play the victim and ignore contrary evidence that we were also, as Mormons, at fault. The leaders of the church in particular, made mistakes and then made excuses for bad behavior for hundreds of years.

    This book made it clear why it was so easy for good people to justify really bad behavior. Like Joseph Smith taking provera wives of women who were already married to other man even married to non Mormons in the example of my great great great aunt Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Smith Young.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikki Chenard Pawcatuck, CT 03-22-15
    Nikki Chenard Pawcatuck, CT 03-22-15 Member Since 2015

    KookyRedhead

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    "Great listen"

    Not only did I find the dissadents theory, explained within, a logical and easy to understand theory, but the layout of this text made the gradual complexity of information a smooth and easy ride throughout. The anecdotes were awesome and will easily capture your attention, regardless of your opinions about the dissadents theory overall. Well worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Cottonwood Washington, Utah 02-11-15
    The Cottonwood Washington, Utah 02-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book"

    This was an awesome audiobook, i really enjoyed listening too. I hope there are more.
    Narrating was very very superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MariaD 02-07-15
    MariaD 02-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great perspectives"

    A really good look at how justification of our mistakes can lead to all sorts of bad outcomes. Every thing from the corporate world to the criminal justice system.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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