Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

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

eBook - 2008
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Two distinguished psychologists look at the role of self-justification in human life, explaining how and why we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility and restore our belief in our intelligence, moral rectitude, and correctness; assess the potential repercussions of such a course of action; and reveal how it can be overcome.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, 2008.
Edition: 1st Harvest ed.
ISBN: 9780547416038
0547416032
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 292 p.)
Additional Contributors: Aronson, Elliot
Contents: Knaves, fools, villains and hypocrites : how do they live with themselves?
Cognitive dissonance : the engine of self-justification
Pride and prejudice
and other blind spots
Memory, the self-justifying historian
Good intentions, bad science : the closed loop of clinical judgment
Law and disorder
Love's assassin : self-justification in marriage
Wounds, rifts, and wars
Letting go and owning up.
Summary: Two distinguished psychologists look at the role of self-justification in human life, explaining how and why we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility and restore our belief in our intelligence, moral rectitude, and correctness; assess the potential repercussions of such a course of action; and reveal how it can be overcome.
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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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