Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Book - 2007
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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.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780151010981
0151010986
Characteristics: x, 292 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Aronson, Elliot

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AbigailCurious Nov 29, 2014

the concept is mindblowing.

e
elizabeth3tx
Aug 27, 2012

The beginning of the book is GREAT! The second half is more application and repetition.

h
hgibbins
Aug 29, 2011

A very good read, but it got a little heavy into the psychological research a few times, which might make some want to put it down.

Cdnbookworm Jun 21, 2011

This book takes a look at behaviour: people dodging responsibility when things go wrong, public figures unwilling to take responsibility for mistakes they make, people blind to the hypocrisy they exhibit to others, and goes after the reasons behind them. Making mistakes affects our feelings about ourselves and we are wired to lessen that feeling of cognitive dissonance. We do this by standing by our decisions, making excuses and explanations, and expanding the blame to others (i.e. he started it). Often this means that others lose respect for us, and we exacerbate the original mistake. As the authors did the research they discovered that knowing about this instinct doesn't mean you are immune to it, but at least being aware means that you can choose to stop when you see yourself going down that road. They give real life examples from false memory syndrome to wrongful convictions, from mistakes in the workplace to marital relations. I recognized myself and the society I live in. This book looks at how we self-justify and why, showing that we minimize our own actions or their effects whenever possible and make excuses when we can't minimize. This drives us further away from an honest accounting and real resolution. Required reading, particularly for those in a position of power or authority.

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