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?
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,
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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