Reddit Reddit reviews Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

We found 29 Reddit comments about Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
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29 Reddit comments about Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts:

u/rockthemike712 · 73 pointsr/news
u/backtowriting · 29 pointsr/news

Fair points and good comment, thanks. It seems there have been times where she consciously and deliberately lied in order to manipulate people.

What worries me though is that she found herself surrounded by feminist activists and a journalist who were all egging her on to produce a story which fit into their 'rape culture' narrative. And in those conditions it wouldn't surprise me if her lies started to take a life of their own till it got to the point that she really believed them.

There's a great book by Lawrence Wright (author of the Scientology expose Going Clear) about false memories in a Satanic ritual abuse case, which has a lot of similarities to this story. (Activists convince girl she's been subjected to horrific abuse.) That and the psychologist Carol Tavris' book on cognitive dissonance really changed my mind about these sorts of cases and I'm now much more open to the possibility that people who appear to be sociopathic liars are often fantasists who genuinely can't tell reality from their own stories.

u/CaptainCalpin · 27 pointsr/IDontWorkHereLady

There's a great book that explains so many people who end up on this subreddit. "Mistakes Were Made (Not By Me)". It's a pretty entertaining read on the psychology of these people.

u/NoMoreIllusions · 8 pointsr/exmormon

I think that if she can learn to critically examine her own thinking and beliefs, and understand how and why people come to believe what they believe, that this will definitely be more effective than addressing just the factual problems.

Here are some book recommendations that I think can accomplish this, if she's willing to read them:

Why We Believe What We Believe - Newburg and Waldman
Mistakes Were Made - But Not By Me - Tavris and Aronson
The Outsider Test for Faith - John Loftus

I have a section on this in a PDF I recently wrote: Examining Church Claims

But take your time; pushing things will only create more resistance.

Good luck!

u/shenjh · 7 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Another book covers similar issues, focusing more on the cognitive psychology side. It's not focused on religious experiences, but the topics it covers are still very much applicable to such experiences.

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts - Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

u/FluffyApocalypse · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

>How could someone in his position be such a cold hearted person?!

Because the bigger the mistake people make, the harder they work to justify it. Not everyone is this bad (I hope) but we all do it. You should give this book a read. Mistakes were made (but not by me)

u/[deleted] · 5 pointsr/survivinginfidelity

This one. I didn't agree with all of it, but it's basically a book on how to think in a not-cycle way. I was in a cycle of anger towards him and myself, negatively thinking, and engaging in self-blame too.

Reading this was also helpful, it gave me some introspection into why people shift blame.

I am also currently working on this, it's been good so far.

u/AfterSpencer · 3 pointsr/news

I just finished reading a book called "Mistakes were made but not by me" that was very eye opening to me. It spent a good deal of time talking about police officers and prosecuting attorneys who, even after DNA proves that the 'criminal' they had a confession from was not guilty, still maintain that they guilty and why they feel this way.

I highly recommend it.

Spoiler: the answer to why is cognitive dissonance and self justification is how they get over it.

u/Impune · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Have you studied cognitive dissonance theory at all? It's very relevant to what you're wondering about. I'd recommend checking out Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson if you're wondering how clinical psychologists have investigated this phenomenon. I personally found it very interesting (and convincing).

u/dustgirl · 3 pointsr/psychology

I would strongly recommend you read Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me).

>Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?

If you can read that book without ending up with an appreciation for (social) psychological research and how it can help us to better understand ourselves and others, then I can't think of much that would change your mind.

u/doctorace · 3 pointsr/sanfrancisco

If you're interested, you could read Mistakes Were Made, (But not by Me)

u/GKezele · 3 pointsr/atheism

Agreed. I read an awesome book on cognitive dissonance that I would recommend: Mistakes Were Made, but Not by Me!

u/PixelWrangler · 3 pointsr/lgbt

The best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Read opinions on both sides of the divide. Try to understand why those who are opposed to equality think they way that they do. The anger is absolutely natural, but it doesn't help.

Especially with the lousy economy, many people are just looking for someone to blame. They pick an easy target. It takes slow, gentle reason and a lot of time to steer them away from these views. In contrast, responding with anger will often cause an opponent to cling even more tightly to their views, no matter how illogical they may be.

To try to understand why people cling to illogical views, consider reading Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me).

u/frostmatthew · 3 pointsr/programming

That should probably be "Supply and demand works perfectly if we are perfectly rational actors" - and I agree it does not work perfectly and there are occasional exceptions, but the hypothesis with the least assumptions is that the law of supply is applicable regarding developers. [i.e. since an increase in price usually results in an increase in supply we should assume it is applicable here unless there is sufficient evidence otherwise - not the other way around].

As for negotiation skill, I find it hard to believe that so many people in finance, medicine, and law are amazing negotiators but nearly everyone in software engineering is completely lacking. Top earners in those fields routinely make over 10x the bottom earners (and they do this without founding their own companies, playing startup equity lottery, or receiving ridiculous counter-offers). At most software companies a "top earner" engineer might be making at most double what an intern or entry level dev makes.

PS - I've read Drive, it's a good book, if you enjoyed that you may want to check out Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me

u/MadRaymer · 3 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

"Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)" is a good book on the topic. Here's an amazon link:

u/CaptainExecutable · 3 pointsr/exmormon
u/aelendel · 3 pointsr/AmIFreeToGo

A brilliant book that covers how this kind of culture arises is Mistakes were made, but not by me. Very informative about what we, as citizens, are dealing with.

u/jbs398 · 2 pointsr/InsightfulQuestions

For further discussion, read "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts". Some excellent discussion on memory and interactions with motivation and actions.

u/troglozyte · 2 pointsr/LessWrong

To add to the booklist from /u/fubo -

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

- This may be exactly what you're looking for.

Review (Part 1) -

Review (Part 2) -

Interview with co-author Carol Tavris -

u/h1ppophagist · 2 pointsr/CanadaPolitics

>it doesn't magically make them less lazy or ignorant, it just greatly increases the consequences of the fact that they're lazy and ignorant.

I couldn't agree more.

I have a couple of points to add which don't directly support either your or shawndw's side in the argument, but which add a layer of complexity to the picture.

Shawndw had said that

>Under direct democracy people will have nobody to blame except themselves

The problem with this is that, to take one of the best examples of direct democracy we have, according to élites in ancient Athens like Plato and Xenophon, the Athenian demos/people did not blame themselves; rather, when "the people" made a bad decision, individual citizens denied having voted for it and avoided the responsibility for the decision. Funnily enough, however, this could actually be an advantage, for because responsibility for a decision wasn't placed squarely on the shoulders of specific individuals, the demos was quite willing to admit its mistakes and change its collective mind on a decision.

In a system where responsibility is clearly held by certain officials, however, these officials are propelled by the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance/disconfirmation bias to cling to their beliefs more strongly when the flaws in them are pointed out. The reaction of the Bush administration to the non-discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is cited by some as an example here.

So I suppose this point isn't directly related to what you were saying—that direct democracy is unlikely to lead to greater knowledge among citizens, and therefore to more correct decisions, a claim with which I completely agree—but what I'm saying does indicate that collectivities may be more willing to correct their mistakes when they do screw up than officials blinded by pride, or simply by their habitual way of seeing a matter of policy.

u/Socrateswasacowboy · 2 pointsr/conspiratard

Thanks for the recommendation. I read a whole lot. I did, in fact, read that article I just have some criticisms as you know.

You must realize you have just made a snide remark. I hope. I would suggest you read this book that I really enjoy: "Mistakes Were Made, but Not By Me"

It is truly an excellent book by very accomplished social scientists.

u/HiddenRisk · 1 pointr/fatpeoplestories

I'm basing my understanding of "cognitive dissonance" on what I read in the book "Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)", and I could very well be wrong.

However, as I understood it, essentially it's very uncomfortable for a person to hold two opposing opinions at the same time. As a net result of that, it's easier to change ones mind to fit a poor decision (rationalize) than to face that decision head on or accept/notice that ones behavior doesn't line up with ones perception of themselves.

u/forcrowsafeast · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

The book is stupid droll. Given what we know of neurology and psychology our intuition is pretty shit, it was 'good-enough' for 'cave-peoples' increasingly not so much modernity.

u/venusisupsidedown · 1 pointr/skeptic

So this may not help you directly to argue better, but check out this book for a good read and some great info on why it's difficult to change people's minds.

u/generous_cat_wyvern · 1 pointr/ffxiv

This is the book that introduced me to the concept of Cognitive Dissonance, and it's absolutely fascinating:

The most interesting thing about it is that nobody is immune, even people who study it professionally. One of most insidious parts of being in self-deception is that it is apparently to almost everyone but ourselves. You brain is actively working against believing the contradicting evidence.

u/heterosis · 1 pointr/skeptic

Mistakes were made only covers a few fallacies, but with great depth. It's an excellent read.

u/All-Iwantisthetruth · 1 pointr/exjw

I'm currently reading a book [Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me] ( It discusses the psychology behind why people justify their actions and beliefs. It shows that everyone has blind spots, false memories, biases and how an otherwise good person could convince themselves that committing a crime is justifiable. It is helping me to deal with anger and frustration that comes from dealing with hurtful delusional people.

u/P15T0L_WH1PP3D · 0 pointsr/news

> how the fuck are they going to come out simultaneously?

I believe that's pretty much what just happened. And if your argument is "well someone had to get the ball rolling" then go back a decade or so when there already was an accusation with a dozen or so other accusers. Funny thing, a dozen is less than two dozen. And what I mean by that is, ten years ago when there were a dozen accusers, the other dozen (that have come forward in the past couple months) were silent. They had the chance then, and they didn't. That kind of inaction at the opportune moment does tarnish their credibility at least a tiny bit.

My working theory is based on something I read in a book called Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Basically, it starts with a hurtful accusation that may come from anything as simple as a nightmare, a dream, an OCD intrusive thought, or even a repressed fantasy. When one accusation is made, other people who may fit the criteria to have been a victim of the accused--even when the accused is legitimately innocent--gather bits and pieces of details from the previous accusation, building their own story with a similar mode of operation. The science indicates that people wouldn't remember the details as clearly as they're being told, but that's in another book. The discussion of hurtful accusations and their consequences is really quite interesting, and worth the cost of the book.

Having said that, Bill Cosby may rot in hell if he's proven to have done any or all of the things he's been accused of. I'm not saying those crimes aren't a big deal, or that I have reason to believe that he did or didn't do them, but what I am saying is the accusations themselves and the chronology of events are incredibly sketchy.