Eric Phillips's Reviews > Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris
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's review
Apr 20, 2008

really liked it
Read in April, 2008

A highly engaging discussion on how people use self-justification to avoid admitting they've made a mistake or hurt someone or otherwise deal with the "cognitive dissonance" we encounter when one of our cherished beliefs runs aground on the rock of cold, hard reality. The one quibble I would have is the division the authors make of the world into "perpetrators" and "victims" -- a language that masks the real complexity of certain relationships and interactions in which both parties are one and the same and at the same time neither -- which is when the conflicts become really intractable and the self-justifications that much harder to see through and to walk away from. Nonetheless, it is eye opening and provides a useful tool for self-diagnosis, even if the suggestions for how to deal with someone else suffering from "cognitive dissonance" and "confirmation bias" are little light (not that I wouldn't have minded having read that last chapter about a week earlier, considering some recent going-ons here and there).
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