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Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error Paperback – January 4, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
First, I must say something I very rarely do about a book: I never once found this one repetitive or unnecessarily long. Each section, and chapter within it, is about a different aspect of error that was not discussed before, from how philosophers conceive of error, to the social factors that influence error, to our amazing capacity to deny even obvious error. And the real-world examples she chooses to illustrate all of these things are humorous, relateble, and sometimes a bit lamentable.
And what is the author's unique theory about erring? The author writes first that erring is an inevitable part of being human. We are finite animals for whom probability is as close as we can come to certainty (even though certainty is what we want). Since life demands that we make decisions based on what we think will happen in the future, it is simply inevitable that some of these will be wrong.Read more ›
There is a tradeoff in such density in value. 'Being Wrong' tends to see-saw between light analogy to heavy exploration almost without warning, making for a staccato transition between example and execution. The philosophical arguments emerge as bloated at times, the case studies a tad soft and looooong. Word economy clearly has its strengths and weaknesses.
Thus, I echo other reviewers in that this book might've been better served both shorter and as a potential essay. Amen.
Going deeper down the content rabbit hole, it's hard to ignore Schulz' near-frequent lapses into political examples dripping with sarcasm favoring a particular perspective only. Perhaps I'm a stickler, but there something grossly unfit about an advertised objective analysis of 'wrong' justified through political opinion. After the fifth instance of this justification, I admittedly began to question the overarching arguments contained in the book. (I could care less about who you vote/d for; just don't put square peg into round hole to get the point across, ad nauseum.Read more ›
I originally got this book as I was hoping for answers on how to deal with what I admit to be sometimes irrational behaviour to avoid admitting wrongness. I thought perhaps I'd get some advice on how to approach this sensitive topic with others (particularly in a business setting.) If you're looking for advice on dos and don'ts, some sort of behavioural checklist to overcome this sensation, then that's not what this book is about. (and the author says as much in her introduction.)
In a way though, even without a list of to-dos, the book has helped me feel more at ease about being wrong. Through stories shared of human error, through the exploration of just how our senses work and how our belief systems can fail us, through an examination of how we make decisions and evaluation evidence (and why it makes sense to do it that way), and examples where it actually feels good to be wrong (optical illusions, magic tricks), I started to come to terms on just how being wrong is perfectly "normal" and a part of who we are, and started to move away from the belief that being wrong meant I was sloppy, or stupid, or ignorant. It makes sense that our brains would want to take shortcuts for efficiency sake, and it makes sense that sometimes those shortcuts will be off. Plus looking at how often decisions are being made at the subconscious level underscores how much being fallible is hardwired into our system.
I thought the book was a great read, if nothing else, for the journey it took me through.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
still need to read this. love the Ted Talk that she talks about this.Published 13 days ago by stgoner
One of the best books out there. Of course, if you're like me as I once remarked, "I've never made a mistake. I thought I did once, but I was wrong! Read morePublished 13 days ago by Rick Theis
This book is really well written and gives a fresh take on human error. I was expecting something more along the lines of social psychology; this book delves into philosophy as... Read morePublished 1 month ago by SmartyOllie
This was one of the most life altering books I have read in a long time. Definitely one of my best and most impactive reads for this year. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Winona Black
I like this book so much that I'm ordering a hard copy, I want to be able to feel its weight in my hands, and to read it at random.Published 2 months ago by L. Drake
“Being Wrong” is a self-proclaimed masterpiece which suffers heavily from common grade school logical fallacies.Published 3 months ago by Stephen
The book is definitely inspiring but not something I want to review over and over again in class. Good to read for fun though.Published 4 months ago by lucy
Nice to know that being wrong is such a part of everyone's life. In fact, the more you're wrong, the more you end up knowing.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer