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.
"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)
This book was written in a research style that dragged with redundancy at times. I liked most of the examples of denial & dissonance given, but some were lengthy & tedious. A closing summary of how to avoid becoming a major mistake maker in denial would have been helpful.
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
This book explains cognitive dissonance and the related concept of self-justification. The research underpinning these theories is presented, with case examples which range from big political decisions which start wars to interpersonal conflicts which all of us deal with in our everyday lives. The easy and seductive part of the book is fitting the theories to the behaviour of people we know - it explains a lot. The tricky part is to keep reminding yourself that it is equally applicable to your own behaviour and may also explain a lot about you. With any luck it will help people to recognise their own mistakes and avoid making similar mistakes in future. Even if it doesn't change your life or improve your relationships, it's an interesting read and an easy way to learn some basic Psychology. Marsha Mercant has a very pleasant voice and does a very good job as narrator.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
"Mistakes, who me? Not very often! I'm pretty perfect most of the time."
This book was a bit scary to me because it shook the foundations of many of my beliefs.
This book debunks many of all our common beliefs. For me, that my memories are reliable it is I who remember what really happened, unlike my brother and my hubby, who were there but must have memory problems. Not so, apparently. It seems my memories are as faulty and unreliable as anyone else's.
For me, that my sister-in-law adds to and embellishes her family history, more and more every year, but I certainly don't do that! Apparently, not so. I am not immune to this either.
In general, honest people do not confess to crimes they did not commit. Most certainly not. Well, maybe with the exception of the Central Park Jogger story, where all the young men arrested and convicted made false confessions and were innocent. That was an anomaly, right? Apparently, not so. This book in detail explains how and why people will confess when they haven't done the crime. This section is truly scary and I have given up my support of the death penalty, telling my hubby he was right all along. I admitted my mistake to him, a rare thing for one who seldom made mistakes (before this listen.)
Mistakes. Yes, that is another area covered. The book explains how and why we justify our mistakes, in the rare cases we make them (or are they so rare?) It is so understandable it is truly unnerving.
Also discussed in depth is a the area of spats, grudges, feuds, divorces, wars and why things get so terribly ugly. This section made me feel truly helpless and sad.
Everyone can benefit from this book. It really is a must listen that I stumbled across as a daily deal. I wouldn't have searched it out. My mistake.
It is life changing for me.
Reduce number of examples probably.
Depends on the book not the idiots who read it.
The book was very informative and helps explain this we do and see around us.
Enough with the Republicans/Conservatives are cheating, lying idiots and corporations are evil, corrupt and Selfish Meme. Can we please move on...
Fascinating subject, but very poorly written. This is an incredibly shallow take on a complex subject. In any particular chapter on an issue (say, cognitive dissonance), the authors give a brief explanation of the concept, cite a couple of studies, then go on extended length showing over and over again that it happens. Not "how" it happens, not the brain science, but "that" it happens, through repeated stories: some real, some inconclusive, some "just-so-stories" to show how a person would think.
This book could be reduced to a magazine article.
Though some of the topics were unsurprising, the authors present an honest, insightful discussion of the tendency toward self-justification, the harm it causes, and means for avoiding the temptation. Historical examples, and many recent issues, provide important lessons in the importance of skeptical thought and admission of mistakes.
although I purchased this book believing it to be on the topic of relationships, it was still a great listen, and much of the content is applicable to improving communication and dissolving tension in all manners of interpersonal relations.
the narrator (Marsha Mercant) was what deterred me from completing this book. this is the second book that I have not been able to get through because of this same narrator. Need a better suited voice please!!!
I studied cognitive development in grad school. I wish this had been on my list of books to read. As an educator and an activist, this information is invaluable when it comes to having difficult conversations.
Sometimes anegdotal, but mainly factual based. Makes interesting point worth consideration for anybody.
This is a very easy listen.
The core science was a rather minor portion at the beginning and after this came extensive examples where cognitive dissonance kept people wrong.
I'd have given it a 5, but there was a clear weighting in the examples of poor thought towards the liberal academic perspective (e.g. Dodgy policing). I'd have respected the book more if she had highlight topics less fashionable, like the West's guilt culture and resultant denial.
"Interesting but Repetitive"
I found the core concept of the book and the conclusion very interesting and I enjoyed the peformance. Unfortunately I found the middle of the book very repetitive with the same information recalled in different ways and scenarios. Whilst I'm sure this was the point (to show the concepts held up and in different situations) I started to lose interest and was glad when I got to the end. Overall I think it was good but I have heard better. It could benefit from some editing. 3* from me.
"essential reading for humans"
In here somewhere is accountability and forgiveness occupying the same space. Informative and enlightening by any standard.
"A fascinating insight"
This book helps shed a light on some of the often strange decisions we make but mainly why we usually struggle to admit that we actually make mistakes. There are a number of interesting examples of people who have and have not admitted their mistakes and the profound impact those decisions make on their own lives and the lives of those around them.
"No mistake was made buying this book"
One of the best books on psychology I've ever heard. Fascinating, illuminating, funny and useful throughout
An interesting and absorbing study how people justify themselves every turn of the road. One study was a married couple approaching a split and how they denigrate their partner's actions and justify their own thereby becoming increasingly polarised into a black and white argument on who's right and wrong.
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