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Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

Margaret Heffernan

"With deft prose and page after page of keen insights, Heffernan shows why we close our eyes to facts that threaten our families, our livelihood, and our self-image--and, even better, she points the way out of the darkness.

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Book Information

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date: 07/03/2012
Pages: 294
ISBN-13: 9780802777966
ISBN-10: 0802777961
Language: English

What We're Saying

August 19, 2011

Understandably (looking at the award sponsors), the FT/Goldman Sachs Book Award always tends more toward macroeconomics, high finance and big business. But they always seem to pick well, and I always find books I feel the need to revisit when they announce their list. Just in case you missed the announcement of the the award's longlist as I did, it is: Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar, Simon & Schuster No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone by Tom Bower, Faber & Faber Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 15, 2011

The shortlist for the seventh Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Book of the Year has been released. It includes: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Public Affairs Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar by Barry Eichengreen, Oxford University Press Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier by Edward L. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 05, 2015

Beyond Measure

By Dylan Schleicher

Margaret Heffernan's popular TED talk on creating a better place to work is now a TED Original book! READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 21, 2015

A Q&A with Margaret Heffernan

By Dylan Schleicher

We continue our Thinker in Residence with Margaret Heffernan with a series of questions about her new book, Beyond Measure. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 20, 2015

Margaret Heffernan

By Dylan Schleicher

We begin our Thinker in Residence with Margaret Heffernan with the TED Talk that began the trajectory to her new book, Beyond Measure. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

"With deft prose and page after page of keen insights, Heffernan shows why we close our eyes to facts that threaten our families, our livelihood, and our self-image--and, even better, she points the way out of the darkness." --Daniel H. Pink

In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Margaret Heffernan's Willful Blindness is a tour de force on human behavior that will open your eyes.

Why, after every major accident and blunder, do we look back and say, How could we have been so blind? Why do some people see what others don't? And how can we change? Drawing on studies by psychologists and neuroscientists, and from interviews with business leaders, whistleblowers, and white collar criminals, distinguished businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan examines the phenomenon of willful blindness, exploring the reasons that individuals and groups are blind to impending personal tragedies, corporate collapses, engineering failures-even crimes against humanity.

We turn a blind eye in order to feel safe, to avoid conflict, to reduce anxiety, and to protect prestige. But greater understanding leads to solutions, and Heffernan shows how-by challenging our biases, encouraging debate, discouraging conformity, and not backing away from difficult or complicated problems-we can be more mindful of what's going on around us and be proactive instead of reactive.

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