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Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error Hardcover – May 20 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (May 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061176044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061176043
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #383,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A mirthful and wise diagnosis of what ails us: Schulz dances us through science, psychology, and literature in a sparkling history of (and ode to) human error.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[A]n insightful and delightful discussion of the errors of our ways. . . . Schulz remains good company -- a warm, witty and welcome presence. . . . [S]he combines lucid prose with perfect comic timing. . . . Being Wrong is smart and lively.” (New York Times Book Review)

“So, please take this advice: Read BEING WRONG, because it’s the right thing to do.” (Associated Press)

“Kathryn Schulz’s brilliant, spirited, and necessary inquiry into the essential humanity of error will leave you feeling intoxicatingly wrongheaded.” (Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of TRAFFIC)

“[A]n unusual examination of the virtue and peril of being wrong and of all the ways we think we know things that just ain’t so.” (Boston Globe)

“Engrossing.... In the spirit of Blink and Predictably Irrational (but with a large helping of erudition)... Schulz writes with such lucidity and wit that her philosophical enquiry becomes a page-turner.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Kathryn Schulz has given us a brilliant and remarkably upbeat account of the long history of human error. If Being Wrong is this smart and illuminating, I don’t want to be right!” (Steven Johnson, bestselling author of THE GHOST MAP and EVERYTHING BAD IS GOOD FOR YOU)

“Kathryn Schultz is engaging, witty and fascinating as she uses a full arsenal of academic research, colorful stories, philosophical arguments and personal anecdotes to create a riveting account of why we, mostly, have been wrong about being wrong.” (Frans Johansson, author of THE MEDICI EFFECT)

“Both wise and clever, full of fun and surprise...[BEING WRONG] could also be enormously useful—there are very few problems we face...that couldn’t be helpfully addressed if we we were willing to at least entertain the idea that we might not be entirely right.” (Bill McKibben, author of EAARTH: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet)

“A funny and philosophical meditation on why error is mostly a humane, courageous and extremely desirable human trait. [Schulz] flies high in the intellectual skies, leaving beautiful sunlit contrails....It’s lovely to watch this idea warm in Ms. Schulz’s hands.” (Dwight Garner, New York Times)

“Schulz possesses playfulness even as she brings the reader to tears... Being Wrong has a heartbeat.” (Huffington Post)

“Intellectualism made fun! . . . Schulz’s call to embrace flaws and errors as potentially beneficial will surely draw legions of follwers.” (Newsweek)

“Schulz draws on philosophers, neuroscientists, psychoanalysts and bit of common sense in an erudite, playful rumination on error.” (Washington Post)

“An amazing book. . . . I don’t know when I last read a book as stimulating, as thoughtful, and as much fun to read.” (Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People)

From the Back Cover

To err 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?

In Being 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, ourselves.

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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Princess Lucy on May 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
Look back at the last argument you had with your loved one. Remember the things you said, and how you said them, simply to prove you were right. It is so easy to see the error in others and be blind to it in ourselves.

In Being Wrong: Adventures In The Margin Of Error, Kathryn Schulz takes you on a journey through the world of "wrongology". From the trivial (getting the time wrong for a reservation at a restaurant) to the life threatening (medical errors), Ms. Schulz examines the importance of accepting the inevitability of error and understanding the value of it in our lives.

Ultimately, it is wrongness, not rightness, that can teach us who we are. It is the ability to accept responsibility for our errors and learn from them that allows us as to grow and develop as individuals, organizations and nations.

Take my advice and read this book. I know you'll enjoy it because I'm never wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tinsel on Aug. 9 2011
Format: Paperback
Just really, really liked it. It's smart, funny, wise, ironic, generous and fun. I'm more aware of the mistakes I make, and more forgiving of myself when I make them. A good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An amazing book, both intellectually and engagingly written on a topic none of us want to admit applies to ourselves.
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By FitMe Training on Sept. 13 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book. Really recommending reading it. Wish I didn't had to type 20 wards when I don't have anything to say
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 23 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a very entertaining and learned tour of wrongness and error in human history and psychology. However, look elsewhere for any kind of strong advice about how to handle your error-prone ways. This book just proves that the only remedy, seemingly, is to be philosophical about it and move along. There's really nothing else that can be done.
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