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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,670 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph T. Hallinan Narrator: Marc Cashman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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We forget our passwords. We pay too much to go to the gym. We think we'd be happier if we lived in California (we wouldn't), and we think we should stick with our first answer on tests (we shouldn't). Why do we make mistakes? And could we do a little better?

We human beings have design flaws. Our eyes play tricks on us, our stories change in the retelling, and most of us are fairly sure we're way above average. In Why We Make Mistakes, journalist Joseph T. Hallinan sets out to explore the captivating science of human error: how we think, see, remember, and forget, and how this sets us up for wholly irresistible mistakes.

In his quest to understand our imperfections, Hallinan delves into psychology, neuroscience, and economics, with forays into aviation, consumer behavior, geography, football, stock picking, and more. He discovers that some of the same qualities that make us efficient also make us error prone. We learn to move rapidly through the world, quickly recognizing patterns--but overlooking details. Which is why thirteen-year-old boys discover errors that NASA scientists miss--and why you can't find the beer in your refrigerator. 

Why We Make Mistakes
 is enlivened by real-life stories--of weathermen whose predictions are uncannily accurate and a witness who sent an innocent man to jail--and offers valuable advice, such as how to remember where you've hidden something important. You'll learn why multitasking is a bad idea, why men make errors, women don't, and why most people think San Diego is west of Reno (it's not).

Why We Make Mistakes will open your eyes to the reasons behind your mistakes--and have you vowing to do better the next time.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • What an eye-opener! If you're someone who has trouble remembering the names of people (or common objects), if you seem to forget things almost immediately after you learn them, if your memory of past events frequently turns out to be drastically at odds with the facts, relax: you're not alone. It's a truism that we all make mistakes, but Hallinan is more interested in why we make them, in what quirks of our mental makeup allow—and even frequently encourage—us to misremember important events, forget passwords, mistake strangers for friends, buy more groceries than we actually need, fall for optical illusions, and so on. Turns out these aren't sign of illness. Just the opposite: our minds behave this way because our brains are wired this way. Hallinan cites numerous studies and experts (there is a lengthy bibliography), but he keeps the book from becoming a stodgy recitations of facts and statistics through the frequent use of illustrative examples and snappy prose. He also throws in a few big surprises, such as the revelation that multitasking is a myth (we don't do several things at once—we switch between various tasks without really focusing on any of them). A vastly informative, and for some readers vastly reassuring, exploration of the way our minds work. Booklist
  • Entertains while it informs. Hallinan brings the science of human behavior to life, showing how it applies to us every day. Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/3/2014

    " This the kind of book that is filled with so many interesting stories that I found myself sharing the anecdotes with my non-reader spouse. It is amazing how we err in simple ways. The purpose or method behind common error types is explained here by Hallinan. He helpfully closes the book with a chapter on how to avoid many of these mistakes yourself. An informative read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joe Soria | 1/27/2014

    " A good read but similar to many other observational psychology type texts in tone and with the studies and research. It all seemed too familiar but interesting nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tammy | 1/27/2014

    " Pretty interesting book...did skim parts of it though. If only it taught me not to be so bothered when I DO make mistakes! But it's nice to be reminded that we all make mistakes! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joanne | 1/12/2014

    " A light and easy read - good for situations where you can't always pay close attention and concentrate (like airports, public restaurants, my house). Not as superficial as the Gladwell books but based on a similar model of interpreting sociological and psychological studies for the lay person. Some interesting anecdotes that are likely to entertain but not fascinate. "

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