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Extended Audio Sample Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,051 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathryn Schulz Narrator: Mia Barron Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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To err is human. Yet most of us go through life assuming (and sometimes insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken, and why do we react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness, and shame?

In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes relationships, whether between family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations. Along the way, she takes us on a fascinating tour of human fallibility, from wrongful convictions to no-fault divorce; medical mistakes to misadventures at sea; failed prophecies to false memories; “I told you so!” to “Mistakes were made.” Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she proposes a new way of looking at wrongness. In this view, error is both a given and a gift, one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves.

In the end, Being Wrong is not just an account of human error but a tribute to human creativity, the way we generate and revise our beliefs about ourselves and the world. At a moment when economic, political, and religious dogmatism increasingly divide us, Schulz explores with uncommon humor and eloquence the seduction of certainty and the crises occasioned by error. A brilliant debut from a new voice in nonfiction, this book calls on us to ask one of life’s most challenging questions: what if I’m wrong?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An insightful and delightful discussion of the errors of our ways…Schulz combines lucid prose with perfect comic timing…She is not just a quotable writer; she is also a canny and original observer, adept at point out things that we should’ve known, but didn’t.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A funny and philosophical meditation on why error is mostly a humane, courageous, and extremely desirable human trait…If admiring this book is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

    New York Times

  • “Intellectualism made fun! Not many books manage to drop names like Voltaire, Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Foucault, and Plato and still be entertaining. Ever fewer manage to blend Socrates and Beyoncé in the same sentence without missing a beat. But Schulz does.”


  • “An erudite, playful rumination on error.”

    Washington Post

  • “Beguiling and provocative…A book about changing your mind and changing how we use our minds.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Lovely…forbiddingly clever and vexingly wise.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Reading Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error is almost as much fun as being right.…An intellectual history of changing definitions of and attitudes toward error…To err, writes Schulz, ‘is to find adventure.’ Traveling with Schulz as guide through Being Wrong is…a fine adventure.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • A 2010 Guardian First Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bekah | 2/17/2014

    " I won this as a first reads book. this was a very interesting and thought provoking read. I really enjoyed the issues the author raised about our fear of error being in opposition to our need to embrace and acknowledge our own fallibility in order to reduce error. I highly recommend the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Phantom | 2/17/2014

    " I am consistently bowled over by Schulz's book reviews and essays, but this book never managed to get out of its own way, and its insights were disappointingly thin. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Katherine | 2/15/2014

    " This is one for the book-pushers club - that is having finished it, I'm preparing to buy a bunch of copies to push onto people I believe might love it, too. The writing reminds me a bit of Mary Roach - dry wit, great footnotes and the amazing ability to make science and philosophy sexy - this is non-fiction at its creative and furious best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marjorie Elwood | 1/30/2014

    " A fascinating and erudite investigation into error: how it is defined, what the causes are, and - eventually - what the benefits are. From the book: "To err is to wander, and wandering is the way we discover the world; and, lost in thought, it is also the way we discover ourselves. Being right might be gratifying, but in the end it is static, a mere statement. Being wrong is hard and humbling, and sometimes even dangerous, but in the end it is a journey, and a story. Who really wants to stay home and be right when you can don your armor, spring up on your steed and go forth to explore the world? True, you might get lost along the way, get stranded in a swamp, have a scare at the edge of a cliff; thieves might steal your gold, brigands might imprison you in a cave, sorcerers might turn you into a toad - but what of that? To fuck up is to find adventure." "

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