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Being Wrong

Adventures in the Margin of Error
Schulz, Kathryn (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Being Wrong
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Journalist "explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes relationships." She claims that "error is both a given and a gift -- one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves."
Authors: Schulz, Kathryn
Title: Being wrong
adventures in the margin of error
Publisher: New York : Ecco Press, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: viii, 405 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Kathryn Schulz
Summary: Journalist "explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes relationships." She claims that "error is both a given and a gift -- one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves."
ISBN: 0061176044
9780061176043
Branch Call Number: 128 S389b 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 345-391) and index
Subject Headings: Philosophical anthropology Decision making Psychological aspects Errors Fallibility
Topical Term: Philosophical anthropology
Decision making
Errors
Fallibility
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This book is about why we make mistakes, how we feel about being wrong, and how we do (or don't) learn from our errors. Counter-intuitively, the author says that being wrong is good. Her book is not a guide to how to avoid error, nor is it a self-help manual, although in the course of reading it you will reap much wisdom for general living. It's more of an extended meditation on why error is the natural human state and how that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The author, a journalist, is a breathtakingly good writer. She is a consummate story-teller and mines her material from many diverse veins: interviews with interesting people, fascinating research in philosophy, psychology, and political science, and a rich store of examples from literature and popular culture. At least one review I read compared her with Malcolm Gladwell. Personally, I like her writing better. Her clever use of arresting case studies, sparkling wit, and lightly-worn erudition kept me turning the pages eagerly, but I never had the sense that she was cherry-picking, distorting, or oversimplifying academic findings to improve her story.

You may be wondering what errors she is talking about. The answer is just about everything: errors about the physical world, about most fields of human thought, about the big religious and ethical issues, and about what is going on in the minds of other people - and in our own. Her inquiry ranges from trivial errors like losing the car keys, to huge ones like the existence (or not) of weapons of mass destruction in another country.

This book is well worth reading from cover to cover. But if you have only limited time, skim Part I, her two introductory chapters, and then read chapters 12 ("Heartbreak") and 13 ("Transformation"). They stand on their own as bravura pieces of writing. "Heartbreak" deals with wrongness in the area of love: the emotional bomb-shell of a failed intimate relationship. "Transformation" explores how we can be so wrong in the realm of self-knowledge (examples range from buyer's remorse to conversion experiences). After that, I'll bet you'll be sold on reading the rest and sharing its ideas with friends!

Oct 17, 2011
  • SkyTower rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

"We are wrong about what is wrong!"

Jun 01, 2011
  • michael12 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Schulz talks about an earlier end of the world and what the believers said when it didn't happen. We are hearing the same things today.

I would like to check this out, I think it is a book everyone should read.... some more than others.

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"error is both a given and a gift - one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves." Kathryn Schulz

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May 11, 2011
  • michael12 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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