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Extended Audio Sample Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error Audiobook, 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: June 2010 ISBN: 9780062012401
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“Both wise and clever, full of fun and surprise about a topic so central to our lives that we almost never even think about it.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

In the tradition of The Wisdom of Crowds and Predictably Irrational comes Being Wrong, an illuminating exploration of what it means to be in error, and why homo sapiens tend to tacitly assume (or loudly insist) that they are right about most everything. Kathryn Schulz, editor of Grist magazine, argues that error is the fundamental human condition and should be celebrated as such. Guiding the reader through the history and psychology of error, from Socrates to Alan Greenspan, Being Wrong will change the way you perceive screw-ups, both of the mammoth and daily variety, forever.

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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.”

    Newsweek

  • “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 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 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 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 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." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 1/25/2014

    " I'd give it 2.5 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arthur Ryan | 1/24/2014

    " Some interesting ideas and good examples, but much of it is covered more eloquently and more empirically in "How we Decide". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirk Everist | 1/23/2014

    " This would make an excellent summer read for 1st-year college students ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thebookmistress | 1/19/2014

    " Good, but not great -- which becomes obvious if you read it next to "Mistakes Were Made". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 1/18/2014

    " Error as the basis for science; error as the basis for art; error as hope. A good read. The first two chapters were, for me, a slog. The rest, though very academic, is a really interesting look at error. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BHodges | 1/16/2014

    " Written for a popular audience, Schultz successfully integrates engaging stories, philosophy, evolutionary biology, religion, and humor in order to beg that we look at error in different ways. Liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shurronne | 1/11/2014

    " This should be a definite for anyone that communicates beyond him or herself --- that being said, everyone! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don Healy | 12/11/2013

    " You may ask, Why would a married man need to read about being wrong? Well, this book starts out with an interesting discussion about how being wrong feels like being right, until suddenly it doesn't. However, I found it too much of a good thing and tired of it after a couple chapters. Good luck "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John Going | 11/8/2013

    " I can't finish this book. If there was a zero star I would award it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 6/3/2013

    " A distinctly different perspective on why being wrong is not only guaranteed but highly adaptive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie Harrison-jewell | 3/28/2013

    " Loved this book. The examples were great and the writing was very approachable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terrie | 11/27/2012

    " Disappointing. Lacked cohesiveness and didn't really prove the central thesis. Kept reading because the various anecdotes and in particular the footnotes were interesting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 10/28/2012

    " Only read a few pages. Too clinical and boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 6/25/2012

    " Assigned reading I think my teacher is WRong! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mkovarik | 4/28/2012

    " A little long, and more philosophy-oriented than I expected, but worth the time and energy required because it's very thought-provoking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Chung | 3/7/2012

    " Fantastic book! Everybody who sometimes makes a mistake - all of us - really should read this - it will turn your view of errors on its head! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 5/14/2011

    " If you want to start questioning everything you ever believed was true, read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 5/14/2011

    " Loved this - check out the TED talks too "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 5/2/2011

    " I'd give it 2.5 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 3/27/2011

    " I found this to be a good and relatively quick read, that helped bring me some much-needed perspective on being wrong - mainly the psychological and social aspects of it, but also historical views and a lot of interesting quotes and information on the way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shurronne | 3/7/2011

    " This should be a definite for anyone that communicates beyond him or herself --- that being said, everyone! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arthur | 1/9/2011

    " Some interesting ideas and good examples, but much of it is covered more eloquently and more empirically in "How we Decide". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 12/6/2010

    " Error as the basis for science; error as the basis for art; error as hope. A good read. The first two chapters were, for me, a slog. The rest, though very academic, is a really interesting look at error. "

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About the Author
Author Kathryn Schulz

Kathryn Schulz is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Foreign Policy, the Nation, the Boston Globe, and the "Freakonomics" blog of the New York Times. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

About the Narrator

Mia Barron has worked at theaters in New York and around the country. Her film and television credits include The Guiding Light and the independent feature The F Word. She has won an AudioFile Earphones Award, and in 2003 she was awarded the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award for her audiobook narration.