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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Pat Houston, TX, United States 03-12-13
    Pat Houston, TX, United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2010

    Evening and Weekend Manager Lone Star College-Greenspoint Center Houston, TX 77060

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    "Who knew there was science behind making excuses?"
    What made the experience of listening to Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) the most enjoyable?

    Everyone who has had to fess up to something knows how hard it was to accept unmitigated responsibility for the behavior. "Mistakes were made, but not by me" is a fascinating exploration of the cognitive science behind rationalization. Seminal research in the psychology of everything from white lies to elaborate deceptions is offered up to the reader in an interesting and an understandable way. Everyone faced with prevaricators and excuse makers needs to listen to this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Solymar 01-18-13
    Solymar 01-18-13
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    "I liked this book"

    I liked this book, read it really fast. Excellent narrative, and enjoyed the real life examples that made it really easy to understand and bring the points accross.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Missouri 11-18-12
    Rio Missouri 11-18-12 Member Since 2015
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    "I never make MISTEAKS;)"

    This books takes us into our tendency as human beings for self-preservation when faced with the difficult challenge of admitting we were wrong. Our instinct is to deny any errors we made when confronted with the truth, followed by continuing on with the facade by insisting on the truth of our actions or words or by justifying them. The concepts and examples in this book are enlightening in showing us how blinded we are by self-righteous notions that we need to destroy relationships or risk innocent lives to perpetuate our mistakes rather than atone for them.

    The only issue I had with the ideas provided is that in order for one to seek forgiveness and gain absolution, one must first be able to recognize he or she was wrong in the first place. Some instances were easier than other to decide where the fault lies, but others were more difficult. For instance, in the case of the couple in the marriage section, individually they can both be viewed as correct while collectively an observer can find flaws in both sides. This then slightly contradicts the writer in their section of memory and its fallible tendencies. Unless life is recorded 24/7 it is unlikely to be able to recall a situation with clarity and accuracy. Therefore a couple would have to rely on their semi-untrustworthy memory to recall a potential tipping-point event in their relationship. So who is right? He? She? Neither? I believe the author would argue that neither is correct and both parties need to re-evaluate their approach. I would agree to a certain extent, however, unless you truly believe you have committed a wrong-doing, your actions will eventually appear placating and inauthentic and every disagreement will feel like a struggle.

    I guess the bottom line is: don't be an arrogant schmuck, but don't be a doormat either. There is a seam in between that we must navigate through, taking responsibility for all of our actions, putting our big-kid pants on and owning up to the decisions we make and the lives we affect along the way regardless of how humiliating, degrading, or painful it may be to do so because in the end our character will remain intact and our integrity untouched.

    Performance:
    4/5
    Narrator did a great job, there were a few times were her pitch pierced, but not enough to deter from the book.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Richmond Baltimore, MD USA 09-10-12
    D. Richmond Baltimore, MD USA 09-10-12 Member Since 2010

    DJ

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    "Interesting"

    Something to think about. I liked the book. I like books from Hay House.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chang LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, CA, United States 08-17-12
    chang LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, CA, United States 08-17-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent social hierarchy analysis"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) to be better than the print version?

    I always love the audible books


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)?

    President Bush justified his Iraq war with non-sense due to his high power.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent social-psychological analysis of social phenomenon.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve 07-20-12
    Steve 07-20-12
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    "One can justify anything............"

    I enjoyed the style of the writing and easy to listen voices of the narrators. Very interesting points made and see my own failures expressed through the authors pen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Surprise, Arizona 06-12-12
    Josh Surprise, Arizona 06-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "INTEGRITY - is the hidden title here"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) to be better than the print version?

    Having not read the book I still would say this is better than the read. This is a very, very wordy book. Although not knowing the exact words the inflection justifies its meaning.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    None.


    Which character – as performed by Marsha Mercant and Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    None.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    How unconsciously we forget about the roots of integrity and how easily our perspective can so sway or concrete one's opinion. Many people's reviews have been that this was a political book and Bush - blah, blah. In all reality it was far from the truth. Such political examples in the book are excellent and tangible examples that make understanding how dissidence works.


    Any additional comments?

    I did have concerns listening to the book that this was going to completely leave me hanging.. having large concerns on how to combat dissidence and not really knowing how or what to do in such a situation. I like how the book ends and how it cleared up how to not allow dissidence run one's life. I was reluctant to give this book a try because so many said it was political when in fact it wasn't. This book is definitely for the deep thinker.. This book was clearly written by psychologists. Lots of clinical and long worded sentences which at times made it hard to follow. That aside the big picture is clear and the message they are talking about is fascinating in how the human brain works - especially under pressure of one's REAL opinion.

    I would highly suggest this book.. well worth the time. :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-30-12
    05-30-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book"

    I liked the book at lot. Very informative and interesting. Will try to find another book like this one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael Hanover, MD, United States 03-12-11
    michael Hanover, MD, United States 03-12-11 Member Since 2005
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    "the truth will set you free"

    Debunks the repressed memory witch hunts. Very good introduction to cognitive dissonance theory. Guaranteed to offend those living in fantasy land (christians).

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas C. Marbourg Santa Fe, NM 05-15-14
    Douglas C. Marbourg Santa Fe, NM 05-15-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great premiss, but missed the mark"
    What was most disappointing about Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson ’s story?

    While I fully understand the premiss of the author, and truly tried to say out of my own narrative, I couldn't get past the obvious not-so-subtle conservative bashing. If the authors wanted to make their point to a wider audience, they should simply keep endless political reference out of the narrative, or at a minimum, balance the anecdotes.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Not a fan. I'm an avid audio book listener, and this performance by Merchant was difficult to become absorbed in. She just seemed to be trying too hard.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Again, the premiss was fascinating and could have been a great work *IF* the authors didn't have such a disdain for conservative politics.


    Any additional comments?

    If your a bleeding liberal, hate Bush, Cheney, Nixon, Gates, Roberts, etc., this will work for you.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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