One of my pet hates is people who try and tell me what I’m thinking when I say something – or tell me my reasons for making a particular remark or performing a particular action. My invariable response is ‘Don’t try and tell me what is going on in my head – you don’t know unless I tell you.’ Human beings are prone to thinking that everyone shares their beliefs and thoughts and as a result we misjudge people, especially those close to us on a daily basis. As a result we end up quarrelling for no real reason.
This book provides many examples – academic, anecdotal and historical – of human beings misunderstanding each other with frequently disastrous consequences. We never seem to learn from our mistakes and continue to think we are excellent at mindreading and understanding precisely how others think and believe. What we continually fail to realise is that not everyone is like us.
The book looks at stereotypes and how damaging they can be in our relationships with others. It also looks as anthropomorphism and the human habit of endowing other species and inanimate objects with human emotions and characteristics.
While the book quotes many academic studies it is written in a way which will appeal to the general reader as well. There are notes on each chapter and an index. If you want to understand how you misinterpret other people then read this book.