Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average

First things first: Do not read this book if you are about to have surgery! Some of the statistics are frightening.

This book has a lot of overlap with Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outlier’s, and if you enjoyed that book, you will enjoy this one as well. Both books discuss “flattening the authority gradient;” where one person is not allowed to be seen as a god in a life or death situation and teamwork is encouraged. Examples include pilots and surgeons. Gladwell’s book goes into much more detail about this theory, where Hallinan sites more statistics.

The chapter on gender differences was fascinating. He makes the announcement that some stereotypical gender differences in the way men and women drive are in fact true. He is careful to note that this is not always the case and when it is, is usually because of the way that we are raised.

One of the main themes of the book is that we cannot multitask with our simple, ape-like brains. Hallinan lists talking on phones while driving as one way that we try to do this and fail.

I did have a problem with a couple of minor points in the book:

The author states that sporting teams that wear black get more fouls called against them than other teams. The author seems to imply that the calls are the fault of the officials, I would argue, however that the color the team is wearing is making them more aggressive.

In chapter six, the author mentions the Grocery Game, but fails to mention that this site is a service you must pay for to utilize. He implies that the site is free.

Other than that, this was a great, fun read and I am glad it was recommended to me. Thanks!

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