Blind Spots

Blind Spots

Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Book - 2007
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Random House, Inc.
A woman planning a dinner party calls a gourmet caterer and learns that "Chateaubriand" can be ordered. To which she responds, "No, thanks. We’re going to take care of the wine ourselves." The dead silence at the end of the phone is her first clue that something is amiss. A CEO attempts to put an end to complaints from employees about the demeaning behavior of certain managers by berating the managers before the staff — thus reinforcing the very behavior he’s trying to correct.

We often criticize such incidents with remarks like "How dumb!" or "What was he thinking?" But psychologist Madeleine L. Van Hecke argues that much of what we label stupidity can better be explained as blind spots. Just as the blind spot in the driver’s side mirror can swallow up a passing car, patterns in the way we think can likewise become blind spots, sifting out information and observations that to other people seem obvious. Drawing on research in creativity, cognitive psychology, critical thinking, child development, education, and philosophy, Dr. Van Hecke shows how our assets as thinkers create the very blind spots that become our worst liabilities. She devotes a chapter to each of ten mental blind spots that afflict even the smartest people: not stopping to think, jumping to conclusions, my-side bias, getting trapped by categories, and much more. At the end of each chapter she offers tactics for overcoming that specific blind spot, so we can become more creative and competent thinkers.

Full of funny, poignant stories about human foibles, Blind Spots offers many insights for improving our social and political lives while giving us fresh slants into the minds of people who are poles apart from ourselves.

Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2007
ISBN: 1591025095 (alk. paper)
9781591025092 (alk. paper)
Branch Call Number: 153 VAN
Characteristics: 256 p. : ill. ; 23 cm

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