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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 12 reviews
on April 27, 2011
I was amazed to discover that even at age 85, "Better by Mistake" presented insights and advice I had never considered before
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on August 15, 2014
BETTER BY MISTAKE is a wise, compassionate, and thoroughly enlightening guide to human imperfection. With empathy and brilliance Tugend explores the many ways that mistakes can serve as opportunies for, rather than obstructions to, growth and success.

Tugend never simply laments mistake-making. Instead she provides insightful analysis of how mistakes happens, how they might have been avoided, and how to learn from them. For instance, she offers alternate approaches to the damaging tendency of large corporations to value profit and outward "success" above the truly valuable, if sometimes, inevitably, flawed contributions of employees. She examines catostrophic mistakes (avaiation disasters, the Iraq War, Bhopal, Chernobyl, recent financial meltdowns) and small everyday mistakes (a spouse's misplacement of his keys or a child's of his cell phone) with equal depth and insightfulness. One of the things that makes this book such a delight is Tugend's refreshing emotional honesty about her own mistakes. And she sheds light both on great historical forces and internal psychological ones -- a poignant example being her Jewish grandfather's reluctance to leave Germany in the Thirties, a feeling shared by many Jews.

BETTER BY MISTAKE is sweeping in its scope yet thoroughly accessible. It is enlightening and eminently useful to any parent, teacher, business person, medical professional, and imperfect human being (who isn't?)

Thank you, Alina Tugend, for this gift of a book. (Oh, and it also made me laugh many times, no mean feat given the subject matter!)
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on December 2, 2012
"Better by Mistake" is a book about being wrong and learning from it. The premise is simple. If we learn by mistake, why are we so afraid of being wrong? Tugend explores this fascinating subject in an introduction, eight chapters, and a conclusion: 1) (Mis)Understanding and (Re)Defining Mistakes: What is a mistake? 2) It Starts Early: How our children learn from blunders. 3) "Fail Often, Fast, and Cheap": Mistakes in the workplace. 4) It's Not Brain Surgery. But what if it is?: Learning from medicine. 5) Lessons From the Cockpit: Aviation's approach to errors. 6) Blaming You, Blaming Me: Men, women, and mistakes. 7) You Say Mistake, I Say Lesson: Different cultures, different approaches. 8) I Want to Apologize: Saying "I'm sorry". The book also has acknowledgements, notes, a bibliography, and an index.

This is a unique book and Tugend surveys a panoply of subject matter looking at mistakes from various perspectives including aviation, medicine, and gender. However, despite its rich content, I cannot recommend the book. My disinclination is due primarily to form rather than substance. The books is, well... boring; I had to force myself through nearly every chapter. (By way of full disclosure I should inform the reader that I have written a book on combustion modeling, so this is perhaps the pot calling the kettle black.) The tough slogging was a bit surprising because Tugend is a former newspaper reporter, and one would expect snappy or even Hemingway-esque prose from such an author; alas, that is not the case. It is also possible that I suffer from some of the gender bias in processing information that Tugend describes; shopping is not an journey for me, it is a destination. That is also the way I read factual books, and probably the reason I have never written a murder mystery -- the executive summary would read: "the butler did it; see Figure 1" followed by 500 pages of notes. The reason I am being so self-descriptive here is because I want the reader to understand the psychology of my aversion to this book. If you have a different way of processing information then you may enjoy the ride. Certainly there is something to be learned from reading Better by Mistake, but for me it just wasn't worth 300 pages of effort.
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on March 29, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed Alina Tugend's book. I think the underlying philosophy that we embrace and learn from our mistakes is imperative. It was an eye-opener for me, that other cultures actually see the "benefits" of mistakes. I think if academicians can teach the concepts in Ms. Tugend's book to our future leaders, our country will be a better place. As a mother, I especially enjoyed the chapter on children. I am attempting to utilize her ideas in my everyday life. Now when I mistake, I try to examine the cause rather than getting so angry. I highly recommend this book as both an enjoyable read and a thought provoking book
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on March 21, 2011
This book is sooooo good it will make you say "AHA" and "OH" over and over again. I think anyone will understand this book in the first three pages. It's a great read and flows like a cool stream of water... I GET IT! Thanks for writing a book that will be read and reread for years to come. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!
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on April 23, 2011
It presents some new thoughts but in the end, none of us can become better without investing our own time to whatever it is we want to better ourselves in. This is thought-provoking and not a bad read if you wanna just read something a bit different.
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