The Wisest One in the Room

The Wisest One in the Room

How You Can Benefit From Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights

Book - 2015
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"Two prominent social psychologists, specializing in the study of human behavior, provide insight into why we trust the people we do and how to use that knowledge in understanding and influencing people in our own lives,"--NoveList.
Publisher: New York, NY : Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2015
Edition: First Free Press hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781451677546
1451677545
Characteristics: vii, 307 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Ross, Lee - Author

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JCLChrisK Nov 26, 2018

If we want to understand the actions of other people, we have to understand how they interpreted their circumstances and the choices they faced--not the way we would interpret them or, rather, the way we think we would interpret them if we were in their shoes.

JCLChrisK Nov 26, 2018

The fact that these statements are true doesn't mean they aren't also rationalizations that you and others use to justify questionable behavior.

This uncomfortable truth is crucial to an understanding of the link between rationalization and evil--an understanding that starts with the awareness that sane people rarely, if ever, act in a truly evil manner unless they can successfully rationalize their actions. . . . The problem is that people are extraordinarily adept at rationalizing. This applies not only to personal misdeeds, but also to the greater sins of omission and commission associated with genocide, slavery, apartheid, war atrocities, and the denial of basic human rights and human dignity. A further problem is that . . . the process of rationalizing evil deeds committed by whole societies is a collective effort rather than a solely individual enterprise.

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JCLChrisK Nov 26, 2018

Wisdom, according to this book, is all about understanding human behavior, of oneself, others, societies, and cultures. And much of that wisdom is counterintuitive--not at all in line with what is variously called "common sense" by different people--like the fact that what is "common sense" to some makes no sense to others, and vice versa. Wisdom is knowing that everything is situational; context is everything. No one sees things impartially or objectively, no one can escape invisible influences, no one operates in a vacuum. We are all products of our situations.

The authors present their wisdom in a nice package. The first part consists of five chapters that explain five general principles of human behavior. The second consists of four chapters applying those insights to different circumstances--describing them in action, if you will. It is accessible and informative and I strongly recommend it.

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