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Publisher's Summary

In this controversial and eye-opening book, distinguished businesswomen and writer Margaret Heffernan examines the phenomenon of wilful blindness in all its forms: in history, in business, in government, and in the family. Heffernan takes as her starting point the 2006 case of the US Government vs Enron, in which those in charge failed to observe the corruption that was unfolding before their very eyes, but not knowing was no defence. More recently, bankers and governments were wilfully blind to the looming financial crisis. However, in our own lives, too, we can be guilty of overlooking what is right in front of us, whether in the office or at home - with potentially disastrous consequences.

Drawing on a wide array of sources from psychological studies to interviews with the people involved, Heffernan examines what it is about human nature that makes us so prone to wilful blindness.

©2011 Margaret Heffernan (P)2011 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Heffernan's cogent, riveting look at how we behave at our worst encourages us to strive for our best." ( Publishers Weekly)
"[U]sing psychological studies and interviews [the author] applies her theory to explain why incidents such as the financial crisis occur." ( Daily Express)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • 01-16-12

Fascinating!

Packed with fascinating and relevant stories and science told clearly without being dumbed down. You're bound to have some 'ah ha!' moments. A good 'dipper' as chapters fit well with the daily commute. I found I revisited some sections after I finished the book, just because there's so much good stuff in here. Ms Heffernan's voice is very individual and added to the experience - she does laid back passion well (and I'm not usually enamoured of the American accent for extended listening). If you enjoyed Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational (Dan Ariely), Snoop (Sam Gosling), or What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell) you'll love this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cathy and Fiona Glanville
  • 11-27-15

Worth a listen but in places it droned right on

Was Willful Blindness worth the listening time?

In parts it was really thought provoking but sometimes it felt a little like I was being told the same thing over and over after I got the point. It is worth a listen though

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-15

Highly relevant

Well structured and easy to understand with clear relevance to many areas in life, business, healthcare...wish it was compulsory reading for politicians and policy makers!

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  • Mr
  • 07-20-15

Sensational- one of the best books on psychology!

Interesting and inspiring in equal measures.
Some of the points are repeated slightly but that doesn't diminish what is a fantastic book and it's well worth listening to from start to finish

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  • TominCumbria
  • 03-19-15

A must read for anyone who values citizenship...

I couldn't stop listening to this brilliantly constructed and superbly researched work. It reminded me that we can and should expect.

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  • Rob
  • 01-25-18

an impressive application of modern philosophy

margaret heffernan presents a strong argument for the clear and present danger of communities (businesses, collectives, churches, governments small and big) managing blindly.
be the problem subservience or subversion the study takes on the corruption of organisations the length and breadth of the world challenging each to dismiss the warnings of whistleblowers (Cassandras) as cranks and naysayers.
she spans the last seven decades and every continent in the search for examples of problems that were obvious to all but spoken by few or none...like the GFC or the child sex abuses of the Catholic Church or the asbestosis of Libby Montana.
despite the length of the audiobook, this is comparable to a series of university lectures on modern ethics and deserves to be hailed as an intellectual feast... it is never boring thanks to the passion and elocution of the author and presenter.
thank you