Greta Christina has written several posts about the book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, saving me from having to add this to our reading list! (Well, I’ll still be reading it, but I’ll be lazy and pass on writing a review.)
A quick summary. Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts is about cognitive dissonance: the uncomfortable-at-best feeling you get when things you do, or things that happen, contradict your beliefs — about yourself or the world. It’s about the unconscious justifications, rationalizations, and other defense mechanisms we use to keep that dissonance at bay. It’s about the ways that these rationalizations perpetuate and entrench themselves. And it’s about some of the ways we may be able to derail them. The book is fascinating and readable; it’s clear, well-written, well-researched, loaded with examples, and often very funny.