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Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things Paperback – April 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
MICHAEL SHERMER, Publisher of Skeptic magazine
Monthly columnist for Scientific American
Author of Why People Believe Weird Things
"I have no reservations about wholeheartedly recommending this book. There are many humorous anecdotes that gently nudge us into a deeper understanding of our human fallabilities. Behind each stupid mistake, each wrong-headed viewpoint, is a person every bit as rational as we think ourselves to be. Madeleine's book allows us to see ourselves more clearly, and assess others more tolerantly."
WENDY NORTHCUTT, best-selling author of The Darwin Awards
Creator of www.DarwinAwards.com
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Top Customer Reviews
In the subsequent chapters, she attempted to dive more deeply into the reasons these tenets ring true. As I read through the discussion, I came away with the distinct impression that I was stuck in an entry level class on human behavior at a community college. Her analysis lacked depth; her analogies were flat or did not fit. She offered little insight into an intriguing topic.
Based on the reviews I read before purchasing the book, I expected more rigor and critical analysis than I found. The book's concept has promise. Unfortunately, the author did not deliver.
Because I was intrigued by the topic, I've continued to look for books that could better help me understand common blind spots. Although narrowly focused on the idea of self-deception, I thought "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)" gave a thorough analysis of a common blind spot many of us experience.
I also found meaningful insights about the physiology of the brain that creates some of our blind spots in "On Being Certain." The author's statements were supported by conclusions drawn from peer-reviewed studies - the type of rigor I expected but did not find in 'Blind Spots.'
Van Hecke presents 10 Blind Spots:
1. Not Stopping to Think
2. What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
3. Not Noticing
4. Not Seeing Yourself
5. My-side Bias
6. Trapped by Categories
7. Jumping to Conclusions
8. Fuzzy Evidence
9. Missing Hidden Causes
10. Missing the Big Picture
While listing the chapters may seem like the Cliff Notes, it would be a mistake to conclude that the list is the whole story. The author does a complete, substantiated and entertaing job of describing each blind spot and shows how prevalent (sadly) they are. This book is a great way to keep you grounded when the smart people around you are doing dumb things, and, of course, to prevent you from making the same mistakes.
In this short, accessible volume, one learns the many ways in which human prejudice and lack of foresight can cause even the most experience of us to misstep.
In terms of using real life examples, this book excells. In terms of covering of the overarching clinical data, this book is not as helpful.
For those who find their interest in neuropsychology piqued by this book I would suggest:
How the Mind Works by Harvard's Steven Pinker
Why We Love by Dr. Helen Fisher
Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer
And pretty much anything by V. Ramashandran or Matt Ridley.
Neuropsychology...the idea that human behavior is just as molded by evolution as human morphology...is an inherently and unendling fascinating field. To those for whom this is the first step in the pond, I encourage you to follow this up with a long educational swim.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose this book to help me try to understand the blind spots of others, and ended up learning about my own! Read morePublished 18 months ago by Elizabeth S. Jones
All our brains suffer from the the confirmational bias. This book is great for having exercises which one can use to challenge oneself to view situations and people from a... Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by MichaelO
BLIND SPOTS by Hecke is a useless book, containing such "insights" like: People feel that those who agree with their opinions are intelligent and those who disagree are idiots. Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by Jeani Rector
I've read it. It was meaningful. In short, we put ourselves into others' shoes and understand the others' point of view. Read morePublished on July 29, 2011 by Jieun Jung
I really must be a slow learner. This is about the third time I've bought a book and taken a chance that it would be good in spite its publishing house being not as well know. Read morePublished on April 18, 2011 by Lemas Mitchell
Some great topics and one liners and an important topic to tackle, but not as coherent as I was hoping for, and as I read on, a long way between highlights, but this quote alone... Read morePublished on January 7, 2011 by ANDREW GRANT