Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights Hardcover – December 1, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Two of the world’s most brilliant social psychologists have distilled the field’s wisdom into a few essential lessons for understanding the fabric of our everyday lives. This is the essential lecture that you never heard in college. Don’t miss it a second time.” (Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and bestselling author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS.)
“The Wisest One in the Room combines rich science, compelling stories, and graceful prose to teach you more about other people and yourself than you ever thought you knew. Two of the world’s greatest social psychologists will help you understand the sources of many of the world’s greatest triumphs and most pressing problems--from racism to partisanship, from happiness to consumer behavior, from media biases to international conflicts, from persuasion to healthy eating, from knocking out educational disparities to mitigating climate change. Every person who wants to be wiser, happier, and more successful--and that includes most of us--should read this book.” (Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and bes)
“In The Wisest One in the Room, Gilovich and Ross weave social science, history and anecdotes in a compelling way to help us understand human nature, where we make mistakes and how we might be able to live to our full potential.” (Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics, and most recently bestselling author of Irrationally Yours)
About the Author
Thomas Gilovich is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Lee Ross), How We Know What Isn’t So, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, and Social Psychology. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
Lee Ross is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and co-founder of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiations. He is the author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Thomas Gilovich), The Person and the Situation, and Human Inference.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
These five “pillars of wisdom” are demonstrated with relevant research and clear examples in the first part of the book:
1) Illusions of objectivity — Naïve realism is the ubiquitous error of mistaking our perception of the world for an objective assessment of the world. Wise people recognize that their take on reality is only their own perception and not an objective assessment of the world as it actually is. This leads to the false consensus effect—a tendency to project your preferences onto a majority of people. Wise people recognize that bias affects them as much as it does others because most of the mental processes of perception operate automatically without our awareness. Wise people acknowledge their own perspective is no more valid than another’s.
2) The surprising power of subtle situational influence — Organ donation participation rates are close to 100 percent in countries that require people to opt-out and only about 15 percent in opt-in countries. Wise people know it is important to make the path from good intentions to effective action clear and simple. Nudges in the form of helpful options, honesty reminders, and removing obstacles on: retirement plans, saving money, recycling waste, tax filing, healthy eating, and lab experiments greatly influence the participation rates. Wise people understand the power of getting the ball rolling in the right direction. When we ignore situational influences we commit the fundamental attribution error and confuse situational influences with personal motivation, values, and character. To avoid confusing the person with the role, wise people withhold judgment until the situation is known.
3) The label frames the issue— “The names we give to plans, policies, and proposals determine what associations and images come to mind when we think about them.” In early 2000 the board of Ursinus College put this to the test by raising tuition nearly 20 percent. Applications soared, largely because prospective applicants see tuition costs as a proxy for the prestige of the school. Context, motivation, and timeliness influence the meaning we attach to various ambiguous stimuli. Understanding negativity dominance can help us evaluate alternatives framed as loses by considering the corresponding gains; understanding denominator neglect can help us fairly compare financial alternatives.
4) Beliefs follow from actions—“Once people have acted in a way that seems consistent with a particular belief, they are inclined to endorse that belief.” It can cheer us up to whistle while we work or to manage to smile when we might otherwise be feeling glum. The physical actions of social movements, whether for good or evil, nudge people toward adopting the beliefs of those already moving. “I act; therefore I believe.” Wise people follow their own well-chosen beliefs even if they must oppose the crowd.
5) Ideology blinds us to contrary evidence—“The information we can access most readily is often but a small fraction of the information we need, and often a biased sample at that.” Our intuitions automatically access this readily available, but incomplete information, “Many mistakes are made not because the right answer is too hard but because the wrong answer is too easy.” To overcome confirmation bias, wise people deliberately seek out evidence that contradicts their intuition.
The second half of the book applies these insights to analyzing and suggesting solutions to four pressing real-world problems. The problems addressed are: 1) What leads to human happiness and well-being? 2) What sustains human conflict? 3) How can at-risk populations be more effectively educated? and 4) What can we do to minimize global warming? These examples demonstrate how overcoming the frailties of ordinary thinking can help us arrive at new solutions to persistent problems.
This well-researched and thoughtfully presented book explores several mind traps that trick every one of us. The authors skillfully illustrate and apply relevant research with accessible examples. Although the book is more nearly an exposition of the research interests of the authors than it is an in-depth and comprehensive exploration of wisdom, it does provide clear guidance that can help any of us move forward on the long path toward wisdom.