Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Trade in Yours
For a 1.11 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Mistakes Were Made on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts [Paperback]

Carol Tavris , Elliot Aronson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 6.99  
Paperback, 27 May 2008 --  
MP3 CD, Audiobook 10.10  
Audio Download, Unabridged 13.80 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial
Trade In this Item for up to 1.11
Trade in Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts for an Amazon.co.uk gift card of up to 1.11, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

27 May 2008
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.



Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd. (27 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905177216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905177219
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

By turns entertaining, illuminating and - when you recognise yourself in the stories it tells - mortifying. --The Wall Street Journal

A brilliant new book. --The Times

Excellent. --The Guardian.

About the Author

Dr. Carol Tavris's work as a writer, teacher, and lecturer has been devoted to educating the public about psychological science. She has spoken to students, psychologists, mediators, lawyers, judges, physicians, business executives, and general audiences on, among other topics, self-justification; science and pseudoscience in psychology; gender and sexuality; critical thinking; and anger. In the legal arena, she has given many addresses and workshops to attorneys and judges on the difference between testimony based on good psychological science and that based on pseudoscience and subjective clinical opinion.

Elliot Aronson's primary research interests are in the general area of social influence. His experiments have been aimed both at testing theory and at improving the human condition by influencing people to change their dysfunctional attitudes and behavior (e.g., prejudice, bullying, wasting of water, energy and other environmental resources). Professor Aronson is the only psychologist ever to have won APA's highest awards in all three major academic categories: For distinguished writing (1973), for distinguished teaching (1980), and for distinguished research (1999). In 2002, he was listed among the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th Century (APA Monitor, July/August, 2002). In 2007 he received the William James Award for Distinguished Research from APS.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
IT'S FASCINATING, AND SOMETIMES funny, to read doomsday predictions, but it's even more fascinating to watch what happens to the reasoning of true believers when the prediction flops and the world keeps muddling along. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book! 19 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback
I'm currently halfway through this book, and have to say it's one of the most interesting books I've read for a long time. It is absolutely jampacked full of references to psychology studies and examples from history which are illustrative of human nature.

The core of the book centres around the idea of cognitive dissonance, where the brain has to reconcile two contrasting viewpoints. For example the self belief that " I am rational and intelligent" with the action " I am slowly killing myself by smoking". The dissonance could be resolved by concluding that actually I am neither rational nor especially intelligent, but of course no one wants to conclude that! So instead I look for levers to reduce the gap in the other direction. Smoking helps me to relax, and stress is a big killer, smoking helps me to keep my weight down and obesity is a big health problem. And so on......

that idea in itself is not especially remarkable, but what is remarkable is the wealth of studies that investigate the impact of cognitive dissonance upon our day-to-day lives. Like for example how students who are made to conduct a rigorous initiation event prior to assessing the quality and usefulness of a recorded debate are far more likely to rate the debate as interesting and informative rather than students who are not required to go through such an initiation. The cognitive dissonance here is between the gap "I'm a rational and intelligent person" and "I've put myself through all this hard work to listen to this debate". Rather than conclude that we have wasted our time, which calls into question our intelligence, we instead resolve the dissonance by subconsciously overrating the usefulness or importance of what we have just listened to.

If this sparks your interest, then this book is for you. It is a fascinating insight into human nature and will help you understand both other people and more importantly yourself a lot better.
Was this review helpful to you?
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
For clear, engaging explanations of psychological research, this is one of the best books you can get. Cognitive biases are like optical illusions, distorting our decisions, memories and judgement. This book focuses in particular on self-directed biases: the distortions of memory and explanation that make sure that each of us is the hero, not the villain, or our own life story.

When corrupt police frame innocent people, how do they justify to themselves what they are doing? When a couple divorce, how can two former lovers come to hate each other with such passion? When political or military mistakes lead to thousands of deaths, how do the decision-makers live with themselves? The authors take academic research (on cognitive dissonance, stereotypes, obedience and more) and apply it to a wide spectrum of issues from the White House to Mel Gibson's racism.

It is eye-opening to read how malleable and unreliable memory is, and how easy it is to create feedback loops of increasing certainty from just a glimmer of evidence. An appalling example is the recovered memory craze of the 80s and 90s, which is discussed at length. The book isn't entirely downbeat, even though it explains how prosecutions, marriages or therapy sessions can go terribly wrong. It shows how easy it is for good people to hurt others, but that we can avoid these traps with humility and self-questioning. They call science "a form of arrogance control".

A theme running through the work of these two psychologists is how science can address real problems of human conflict. That warm, humane spirit pervades this book and I think anybody curious about the science or the solutions would benefit from reading it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check with a Positive Ending 19 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book partly on the strength of the other amazon reviews and was particularly pleased with it. Before reading it I noted this book was a 'straight read' with no illustrations, yet it was a gripping book from start to finish. The writing style was straight to the point and easy to read. The content was from wide ranging examples, yet always kept the thread of the main ideas.
I imagine this is a book that virtually everyone will find personally relevant. Whilst not written as another self help book, it certainly made me re-examine my own actions, as well as seeing faults in others. The last chapter was the unpatronising, uplifting icing on the cake (and I am not about to spoil it.)
People who enjoyed Stuart Sutherlands brilliant book 'Irrationality' will also love this one.
Was this review helpful to you?
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, informative but seriously flawed 10 April 2011
Format:Paperback
This book is entertaining, informative and has a valuable message, but it is also seriously flawed.

Tavris and Aronson want to convince us of the truth of Festinger's theory of `Cognitive Dissonance' and the perils of self-justification. They emphasise that the theory has been scientifically validated, based on the results of studies that are methodologically sound, some of them controlled randomised trials (the `Gold Standard' of methodology in social psychological research). They warn us of the danger of `confirmation bias' - the process of giving due weight to evidence which confirms our ideas and playing down or dismissing evidence that disconfirms them (p 18).

The first flaw is that the whole book is an exercise in confirmation bias. Tavris and Aronson present only evidence which supports their theory. They do not name any social psychologist who disagrees with them; they do not present any scientific studies that disconfirm their theory; they do not even present any studies with neutral results (i.e. that neither confirm nor disconfirm their theory). This is in spite of the fact that they warn us of the need to be sceptical (p 105) and the need to actively search for disconfirming evidence, `The scientific method consists of the use of procedures designed to show not that our predictions and hypotheses are right, but that they might be wrong' (p 108).

The second flaw is that a substantial part of the book consists of anecdotes (true stories that illustrate the point being made). But, as social psychologists emphasising their scientific credentials, Tavris and Aronson must know that anecdotal evidence is the weakest form of evidence scientifically but the most effective in convincing us, their readers, to believe them.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly explains the concepts.
Although not a text book, it sets out the psychological concepts of Attribution Bias. But is written by American authors, so is less interesting to a U.K. reader.
Published 18 days ago by Robert Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent explanation of why people in holes don't stop digging
With examples from the battlefield to the bedroom, this book describes the crucially under-appreciated role of cognitive dissonance - selective belief in things that confirm your... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Mr. T. O. Womack
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Sometimes you know there's a problem but can't quite put your finger on it. This book identified traits we all have in some form or other, but there are characters we all know who... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms P
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This should be enforced reading for every politician. Outstanding thesis on why it is so had for us to admit our own mistakes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by hardnut
5.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening book
A very worthwhile read.
I agree on the points they make and they expressed them well.
If the contents of this book were implemented widely everyone would benefit from it.
Published 4 months ago by doppioslash
5.0 out of 5 stars An Encyclopaedia of Social Life!
It's a life-changing experience for me. It's absolutely the kind of book offenders and traitors need to read before they consider embarking on self justification. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Phil
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Brilliant book, makes you look at things in a different way. Take some time to read, and definitely worth reading again
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. P. M. Naylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful
The title refers to the typical statement made by officials when there was enough evidence that they made a mistake or a bad decision. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joachim O.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, disturbing but too facile
Most people have heard of Cognitive Dissonance - the experience of holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time, and the search for a way to reconcile them. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enlightening: May even change your life
A well argued thesis, supported by interesting and enlightening examples which may even cause you to re-think some of your attitudes and decisions and gain insight into why you do... Read more
Published 15 months ago by ST Nicholls
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xac915600)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback