Being Wrong

by katystreet

By Kathryn Schulz.

This book is amazing. Schulz takes us into the anatomy of being wrong with a great blend of philosophical and experiential explanations of what it even means. She has great insights, like how we rarely are currently wrong but rather can only acknowledge being wrong in the past–to be wrong in the present would mean to not believe what we believe in, which is paradoxical. She talks about the evolutionary theory of not wanting to be wrong, of how humans create great models of the world that work most of the time, of why that’s what makes us so good at being in the world. She ties this to Thomas Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions: that people, too, need far more evidence to recant a theory than to create one. She touches on optical illusions, relationship failures, conversion stories and finally, at the end, the upside of being wrong: art, imagination, scientific discovery.

I will say that the first half of the book was tighter, where each chapter built upon the last. Towards the end it got a little hectic as subjects did not relate to each other so clearly.

Which is not to say it wasn’t great. I genuinely think about my mindset more. Tied to all of Fogg’s work around political reconsidering, it fits right in as a conceptual tool for understanding my own thoughts about the world. As Schulz says, it’s easy to recognize the irrationality of others’ beliefs but incredibly hard to recognize this in ourselves.

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