Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding” as Want to Read:
Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A leading social researcher explains why humans so consistently misunderstand the outside world
How often are women harassed? What percentage of the population are immigrants? How bad is unemployment? These questions are important, but most of us get the answers wrong. Research shows that people often wildly misunderstand the state of the world, regardless of age, sex, or
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 26th 2019 by Basic Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  30 ratings  ·  12 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is an immensely interesting book steeped in research and anecdotal information. Cognitive bias and heuristics shape our perceptions much more than we are aware. Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding is a thought-provoking book perfect for readers interested in what shapes societal misconceptions and popular beliefs.
Ryan Boissonneault
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.” – Francis Bacon, 1620

Confirmation bias, or the tendency to seek out
Doreen McDonald
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Meh. Picked up this book because of a recommendation in a magazine (don’t remember which one). Maybe because I listened to it, maybe because I’ve already read Thinking Fast and Slow a couple times, and have read everything Malcolm Gladwell and the Freakonomics guys have written...I wasn’t blown away by this. The stories and stats were interesting and a couple things were “new” to me—the international comparisons were a nice addition. I felt like it addressed the “how” we are wrong about nearly ...more
Tracey Jepsen
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Interesting insight, but very biased. I would have given this a higher rating if the information had been presented in a neutral manner.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ng, psychology
I learned a lot from this book, not only data/anecdata, but also just the reminder that it's good to question what you accept is true. I found myself picking up the book periodically, not reading straight through. If you are going to be seated next to your know-it-all uncle at Thanksgiving this year, read this book before you go. He'll be shocked to learn that the Great Wall of China is not actually visible from space. :)

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC!
Heather Bennett
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything is a interesting read. It can be a bit dry in some spots, but it has some unique ideas.
Alex Shrugged
Note: The author seems to be a subject of the United Kingdom, This book attempts to address the mindset of the UK, Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. It is wide-ranging, but he does a reasonable job.

Over all I really liked this book. The exceptions were forgivable if ironic in the extreme. This is a basic course in critical thinking with an emphasis on statistics. Our primitive monkey-brains tend to draw conclusions quickly if not always accurately. Thus, I might mistake a bush for
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is Steven Pinker style positivism bollocks for anyone who wants to see the world with rose colored glasses. I can't beleive shit like this is written today. It affirms what white folks will read from their perfectly manicured lawns in their suburban homes.

I cannot get over reducing everything in this century to "Things are generally much better than they were?" The questioning person in me asks for whom. Duffy harps on about how immigration figures are actually way less than people believe
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I recieved a complementary advance copy of this book from for review.

This book addresses misconceptions that the public holds about a wide range of different phenomena. I enjoyed its cross-cultural focus, which is often either neglected or treated in a marginal way in similar scientific writing.

The discussion of underlying scientific concepts is solid and consistent with the academic study of these principles, while still remaining accessible and readable.

I appreciate the
Mikko Arevuo
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: decision-making
A good introduction to biases and delusions in everyday social and political life. The author draws on an impressive variety of empirical research to present his findings. I work in the field of managerial and organizational cognition so I’m not the best person to give an objective review of the book as there was very little new in it for me. Nevertheless, for a generalist reader new to the field, the book should be very interesting.
Brian Miller
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I went in thinking this would be some new version of Freakonomics but it was not. This is not necessarily a bad thing as this was a decent read that often times got bogged down in numbers and away from the stories I wanted to hear about such as immigration, teen pregnancy and obesity. It reads likes a well written research paper to me.
Thank you Netgalley, Duffy, Perseus Books and Basic Books for the ARC for my honest review.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For such a complicated subject I found the book, for the most part, easy to absorb. It's examples from current politics are very relevant and just in time for the 2020 US Presidential Elections while most of us are still recovering from the last one. Made me feel more hopeful, less crazy, validated in some aspects and enlightened in others. Great quick read.
Mike Heenan
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2019
Barb Johnson
rated it it was ok
Jan 03, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2019
Rashmi Mishra
rated it liked it
Dec 26, 2019
Paul F.
rated it liked it
Jan 10, 2020
Anna Gandini
rated it really liked it
Jul 31, 2019
M Guynin
rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2019
Kaltrim Perzefaj
rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2019
Will Willingham
rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2020
rated it really liked it
Dec 10, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 03, 2019
Michele Moro
rated it liked it
Dec 07, 2019
rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2019
Rhena Zafra
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2020
rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2019
Mark Z
rated it did not like it
Aug 05, 2019
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2020
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • De Amerikaanse prinses
  • The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread But Can't Be Computed
  • Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems
  • Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact
  • You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters
  • The Music Shop
  • Seeing Reality As It Is
  • Too Close to Home (Paul McGrath #2)
  • Winning Your Blood Sugar Battle: How to Prevent and Control Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fan Mail (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense Book 2)
  • American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
  • Strange Planet
  • The End of Vandalism
  • At the Wolf's Table
  • Letters from an Astrophysicist
  • Into the Fire (Orphan X, #5)
  • Nature Tonic: A Year in My Mindful Life
  • Hour of the Assassin
See similar books…