Sometimes even the smallest mistake can feel like the end of the world. Whether it’s as simple as leaving the coffee pot on in the morning or as detrimental as a medical error in the operating room, any mistake is something we are conditioned to fear and to avoid despite the grade school lesson that we all “learn from our mistakes”, which is easily forgotten in adulthood and particularly in the workplace, where mistakes are seen as failures.
New York Times columnist Alina Tugend helps us remember why mistakes are a good thing. And in Better By Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong, narrator Elizabeth London plunges into Tugend’s fascinating study of making mistakes and why the fear surrounding them is so dangerous. Excessive fear surrounding mistakes leads to covering up, which means no one learns anything from the mistake. Instead, Tugend argues that we should embrace all mistakes, and that measures should be taken to study and correct them. Without information and intervention, the error cannot be avoided in the future. London’s narration is clear and direct, and her tone becomes more enlightened as Better By Mistake progresses and she connects with Tugend’s ideas.
The most compelling part of Tugend’s study is of mistakes in two fields which come with devastating consequences aviation and medicine. London approaches these chapters with a curiosity that will feel familiar to the listener, surprised to learn that both doctors and air traffic controllers share Tugend’s philosophy that we should embrace every mistake so that we can learn from them. While the consequences are much more detrimental in these arenas, the approach is the same. Better By Mistake offers a cogent argument for the benefits of making mistakes and a listening experience that everyone can easily connect with. Suzanne Day
A New York Times columnist delivers an eye-opening big idea: Embracing mistakes can make us smarter, healthier, and happier in every facet of our lives. In this persuasive audiobook, journalist Alina Tugend examines the delicate tension between what we're told - we must make mistakes in order to learn - and the reality: we often get punished for making mistakes, and therefore try to avoid them or cover them up.
In Better by Mistake, Tugend shows that mistakes are everywhere, and suggests that when we acknowledge and identify them correctly, we can improve not only ourselves, but our families, our work, and the world around us. Through fascinating research, Tugend reveals how trying to avoid mistakes can affect us from the earliest stages in our lives and shape us into adults who steer clear of risks and challenges. She takes us behind the scenes into cutting-edge behavioral studies; invites us into the high-stakes world of health care and aviation, where mistakes can cost lives, and delves into the art and science behind learning how to craft a sincere apology and accepting responsibility for mistakes.
Bold and dynamic, insightful and provocative, Better by Mistake turns our cultural wisdom on its head to illustrate the downside of striving for perfection, and the rewards of acknowledging mistakes and embracing the imperfection in all of us.
I had high hopes for this book, and was generally disappointed, The message is great and I agree with it--we need to admit and learn from our mistakes rather than hide them. Sadly we live in a society where you are chastised, humiliated, etc., for mistakes rather than looking at the root cause of the mistake and learning from that. There was a great deal of research that was pulled into the book, but it was done in a cumbersome way that, at least for me, detracted from the book rather than adding to it. Ultimately, this would be better as a quality Newsweek/Time article.
It is also possible that the narration detracted from the book. I found the narrated to be especially annoying to listen to and I was grateful when the book was done,
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