Mistakes Were Made (but Not By Me)

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First edition, US hardcover.

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts is a psychology book by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, published in 2007. It focuses on why people in Western cultures are so hesitant to admit when they make mistakes by discussing cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and various other mental biases.

Status

I do not own this book, but I have listened to an audio recording.

Review

Good

  • The book is interesting from cover to cover. Rather than just giving clinical descriptions of each mental bias, the authors give real-life examples of people who fell prey to cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and similar problems, and the fallout experienced by those around them.
  • In addition to pointing out flaws, the authors do a good job of reminding the reader that everyone is susceptible to these mental problems, but that being mindful of them is the first step to guard against them.
  • I like that the author doesn't sugar coat clearly fraudulent beliefs, and rightly points out that anti-vaccination, the Reid interrogation technique, memory recovery, and various other controversial topics are indeed bullshit.

Bad

  • Nothing.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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