We human beings have design flaws. Our eyes play tricks on us, our stories change in the retelling, and most of us are fairly sure we're way above average. In Why We Make Mistakes, journalist Joseph T. Hallinan sets out to explore the captivating science of human error: how we think, see, remember, and forget, and how this sets us up for wholly irresistible mistakes.
In his quest to understand our imperfections, Hallinan delves into psychology, neuroscience, and economics, with forays into aviation, consumer behavior, geography, football, stock picking, and more. He discovers that some of the same qualities that make us efficient also make us error prone. We learn to move rapidly through the world, quickly recognizing patterns but overlooking details. Which is why 13-year-old boys discover errors that NASA scientists miss and why you can't find the beer in your refrigerator.
Why We Make Mistakes is enlivened by real-life stories of weathermen whose predictions are uncannily accurate and a witness who sent an innocent man to jail; and offers valuable advice, such as how to remember where you've hidden something important. You'll learn why multitasking is a bad idea, why men make errors women don't, and why most people think San Diego is west of Reno (it's not).
Why We Make Mistakes will open your eyes to the reasons behind your mistakes and have you vowing to do better the next time.
©2009 Joseph T. Hallinan; (P)2009 Random House Audio
Not a fabulous book. While it did list many examples of mistakes, only a handful of explanations for mistakes were supplied. The emphasis was clearly on displaying "here's another example of a mistake". When an explanation was offered it was obvious information, easily inferred by listening to the mistake description. On the few occasions a recommended solution was suggested it was very weak. The book seemed to be over stuffed with examples, many very obvious, burying the few good nuggets.
Overall, this title seems to only have enough information for a magazine article but was stretched to reach book length.
I was hoping to learn more than "Why", I was actually expecting to learn what can be done to mitigate the numerous ways we misunderstand, incorrectly perceive, and distort the information our senses bring to us. I admit I did not finish the entire book, but after about 3 hours of listening to "revelations" about human behavior (most of which I have heard before), with no mention or promise of anything coming later to help address those behaviors, I gave up.
The Toyota Way to Leadership
The story that a famous actor told about punching a guy off his bar stool before noticing he didn't have legs.
Maybe for some people who have never heard about the behavior studies, they might find it interesting.
If there are solutions or suggestions offered at the end, they should really start earlier in the book letting the reader/listener know that there is a reason to continue.
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