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Kidding Ourselves: The Hidden Power of Self-Deception
Joseph T. Hallinan
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Format: Hardcover, 272pp.
Pub. Date: May 20, 2014
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Item No: 9780385348683
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Why We Make Mistakes, an illuminating exploration of human beings’ astonishing ability to deceive themselves.
To one degree or another, we all misjudge reality. Our perception—of ourselves and the world around us—is much more malleable than we realize. This self-deception influences every major aspect of our personal and social life, including relationships, sex, politics, careers, and health.
In Kidding Ourselves, Joseph Hallinan offers a nuts-and-bolts look at how this penchant shapes our everyday lives, from the medicines we take to the decisions we make. It shows, for instance, just how much the power of many modern medicines, particularly anti-depressants and painkillers, is largely in our heads. Placebos in modern-day life extend beyond hospitals, to fake thermostats and “elevator close” buttons that don’t really work…but give the perception that they do.
Kidding Ourselves brings together a variety of subjects, linking seemingly unrelated ideas in fascinating and unexpected ways. And ultimately, it shows that deceiving ourselves is not always negative or foolish. As increasing numbers of researchers are discovering, it can be incredibly useful, providing us with the resilience we need to persevere, in the boardroom, bedroom, and beyond.
Provocative, accessible, and easily applicable to multiple facets of everyday life, Kidding Ourselves is an extraordinary new exploration of our mind’s flexibility.
“What an eye-opener!...Hallinan cites numerous studies and experts, but he keeps the book from becoming a stodgy recitation of facts and statistics through the frequent use of illustrative examples and snappy prose. He also throws in a few big surprises….A vastly informative, and for some readers vastly reassuring, exploration of the way our minds work.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“[I]mpressive…intriguing…a lesson in humility as much as human behavior, Hallinan's study should help readers understand their limitations and how to work with them.”
“Entertains while it informs. Hallinan brings the science of human behavior to life, showing how it applies to us every day.”
—Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things
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About the Author
Joseph T. Hallinan, a former writer for The Wall Street Journal, is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.
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