Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they make mistakes? 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.
Please note that this book will be reissued with a new introduction by the authors in June 2013. See here for more details.
"Fascinating." Financial Times
"A brilliant new book." The Times
"By turns entertaining, illuminating and - when you recognise yourself in the stories it tells - mortifying." The Wall Street Journal
"Combining far-ranging scholarship with lucid, witty prose, Tavris and Aronson illuminate many of the mysteries of human behaviour - why hypocrites never see their own hypocrisy, why couples so often misremember their shared history, why many people persist in courses of action that lead straight into quicksand. A delight to read, with surprising revelations in every chapter." Elizabeth Loftus, author of Eyewitness Testimony
“This book is charming and delightful. But mainly it’s just damn smart. Armed with reams of scientiﬁc data and loads of real-world anecdotes, Tavris and Aronson explain how politicians, pundits, doctors, lawyers, psychotherapists - and, oh yes, the rest of us - come to believe that we are right and reasonable... and why we maintain that dangerous self-deception in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary. Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made - but not in this book!” Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
"Both scientifically accurate and wonderfully readable. There is no overstating the importance of the book's message: if we could recognize our blind spots and see our personal and professional behaviour more clearly, the world would be a better place." Phoebe C. Ellsworth, The Times Literary Supplement
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