• Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) (Third Edition)

  • Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
  • By: Elliot Aronson, Carol Tavris
  • Narrated by: Carol Tavris
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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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? Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. 

When we make mistakes, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right - a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. 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.

© 2007, 2015, 2020 Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) (Third Edition)

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A great book turned into a political rant...

This book could have been fantastic with great lessons to be learned and used. For some reason they felt it necessary to add their opinions of politics (mostly true but, no longer scientific) at the end of the book. Super disappointing.

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  • 08-25-21

Author's ignored their own Advice!

Recommend earlier editions. Last Chapter is just the Author's own bias and cognitive dissonance.

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Required optional heading

I heard a podcast on hormone replacement treatment by one of the authors (Carol Tavris) that was impressive, that led me to this book. All in all, I was not disappointed. Ever since Tversky and Kahneman and others revealed, through scientific experiment, the defects in rational thought, we have seen more and more examples of otherwise irrational behavior explained by the way the brain works. That is what this book further explores.

Some of the reviewers expressed dismay about the last chapter, that linked Trump and his followers to cognitive dissonance. The chapter seemed pretty accurate to me. One thing it omitted was the rich field of cognitive dissonance exemplified by many on the Left, as in climate "emergency," critical race theory, and many other Marxist-inspired beliefs found there. If the authors had explored that further, it might have appeared more balanced.

Nevertheless, a good book and worth the reading!

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Good book marred by a new final chapter

Good book, great information, but the last chapter (new in this third edition) is problematic. I agree with everything they have to say, but it's out of place within the context of this book as it ends up being simply a criticism of Trump with little relation to cognitive dissonance.

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A Horrible Pair of Authors

I will update this after work. These two authors are more political hack than intelligent scientist!

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Unfortunately they chose to and slick too much of their political point of view

This was a great book up until the very end when they chose to share too much of their political view. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on stick to the subject.

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Good premise

This was a good book until the author went on a political tangent . It was obvious who she voted for, but to be a good book we should have never know who the author voted for. It turned into a political book…

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Outstanding one of the best ones I've listened to

And Carol's very smart informative, she kept me engaged the whole time, I really appreciate it ,well worth the time

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Great book on the human desire for consenance

A great book describing how our minds seek to reduce dissonance between who we are and what we might have done.

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Great insights into dissonance &self-justification

Loved the book.

The last chapter felt out of place; it was like the author has a little bit of a personal vendetta against Trump.

I'm not a fan of the guy either, but it seems like her approach would if read by a Trump supporter would be unlikely to sway them in any real sense, and would likely only cause a further slide 'down the pyramid'.

I wonder if there is another chapter coming on how to solve the problems addressed in the book. It seems like 95% of the book was spent talking about cognitive dissonance but it seemed like more could have been talked about how to go about moderating and unifying people once they have engaged in these biases.

Moderate & Unify.

The last chapter of the book didn't end on that note sadly, because that is exactly what the world needs.

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