Social psychology

A NEW EDITION UPDATED IN 2020  Why is it so hard to say "I made a mistake" — and really believe it?

When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by decades of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. Extensively updated, this third edition has many recent and revealing examples, including the application of dissonance theory to divisive social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and he said/she said claims. It also features a new chapter that illuminates how cognitive dissonance is playing a role in the currently polarized political scene, changing the nation’s values and putting democracy itself at risk. 

“Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

“A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we’re honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine
On April 20, 1999, the halls of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, reverberated with the sound of gunshots as two students, highly armed and consumed with rage, killed thirteen students and seriously injured twenty-three before turning the guns on themselves. It was the worst school massacre in out nation's history. Can we prevent a tragedy like this from happening again?

In Elliot Aronson's Nobody Left to Hate, on of our nation's leading social psychologists argues that the negative atmosphere in our schools--the exclusion, taunting, humiliation, and bullying--played a major role in triggering the pathological behavior of the shooters. At the very least, such an atmosphere makes schools an unpleasant experience for most normal students.

But it doesn't have to be. Nobody Left to Hate offers concise, practical, and easy-to-apply strategies for creating a more supportive, stimulating, and compassionate environment in our schools. Based on decades of scientific research and classroom testing, these strategies explain how students can be taught to control their own impulses, how to respect others, and how to resolve conflicts amicably. In addition, they show teachers how to structure classes to promote cooperation, rather than competition, without sacrificing academics. On the contrary, education is greatly enhanced.

For parents, teachers, or anyone concerned with what is happening in our schools, Nobody Left to Hate provides a simple and effective plan of action that will make their children's school not only a safe place, but a more humane place of learning.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A timely and important book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the #1 bestselling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection

Look for Brené Brown’s new podcast, Dare to Lead, as well as her ongoing podcast Unlocking Us!

REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, MSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
The New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality returns with thought-provoking work to challenge our preconceptions about dishonesty and urge us to take an honest look at ourselves.
  • Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat?
  • How do companies pave the way for dishonesty?
  • Does collaboration make us more honest or less so?
  • Does religion improve our honesty?

Most of us think of ourselves as honest, but, in fact, we all cheat. From Washington to Wall Street, the classroom to the workplace, unethical behavior is everywhere. None of us is immune, whether it's the white lie to head off trouble or padding our expense reports. In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, award-winning, bestselling author Dan Ariely turns his unique insight and innovative research to the question of dishonesty.

Generally, we assume that cheating, like most other decisions, is based on a rational cost-benefit analysis. But Ariely argues, and then demonstrates, that it's actually the irrational forces that we don't take into account that often determine whether we behave ethically or not. For every Enron or political bribe, there are countless puffed résumés, hidden commissions, and knockoff purses. In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Ariely shows why some things are easier to lie about; how getting caught matters less than we think; and how business practices pave the way for unethical behavior, both intentionally and unintentionally. Ariely explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of us, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards.

But all is not lost. Ariely also identifies what keeps us honest, pointing the way for achieving higher ethics in our everyday lives. With compelling personal and academic findings, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty will change the way we see ourselves, our actions, and others.

“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this—the most inspiring book I've ever read."
Bill Gates (May, 2017)

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year


The author of Rationality and Enlightenment Now offers a provocative and surprising history of violence.

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millenia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, programs, gruesom punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the esesnce of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives--the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away--and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.
Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea’s chances—essential reading in the “fake news” era.


Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas—entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists—struggle to make them “stick.” 

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice.
 
Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.


BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Chip Heath and Dan Heath's Switch.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. By the author of the new book, Rationality.


Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Power of Habit and “master of the life hack” (GQ) explores the fascinating science of productivity and offers real-world takeaways to apply your life, whether you’re chasing peak productivity or simply trying to get back on track.

“Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
 
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity and rich storytelling to how we can improve at the things we do. 
 
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this book reveals that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
 
Smarter Faster Better is a story-filled exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help us learn to succeed with less stress and struggle—and become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.
“Accessible and authoritative . . . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we’re not the magnanimous people we think we are?”—The Washington Post

I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way.

These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

“Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

The title’s “good people” are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and “outsmart the machine” in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds.

Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come.

Praise for Blindspot

“Conversational . . . easy to read, and best of all, it has the potential, at least, to change the way you think about yourself.”—Leonard Mlodinow, The New York Review of Books

“Banaji and Greenwald deserve a major award for writing such a lively and engaging book that conveys an important message: Mental processes that we are not aware of can affect what we think and what we do. Blindspot is one of the most illuminating books ever written on this topic.”—Elizabeth F. Loftus, Ph.D., distinguished professor, University of California, Irvine; past president, Association for Psychological Science; author of Eyewitness Testimony
Available for the first time in the United States, this international bestseller reveals the secrets of nonverbal communication to give you confidence and control in any face-to-face encounter—from making a great first impression and acing a job interview to finding the right partner.

It is a scientific fact that people’s gestures give away their true intentions. Yet most of us don’t know how to read body language– and don’t realize how our own physical movements speak to others. Now the world’s foremost experts on the subject share their techniques for reading body language signals to achieve success in every area of life.

Drawing upon more than thirty years in the field, as well as cutting-edge research from evolutionary biology, psychology, and medical technologies that demonstrate what happens in the brain, the authors examine each component of body language and give you the basic vocabulary to read attitudes and emotions through behavior.

Discover:
• How palms and handshakes are used to gain control
• The most common gestures of liars
• How the legs reveal what the mind wants to do
• The most common male and female courtship gestures and signals
• The secret signals of cigarettes, glasses, and makeup
• The magic of smiles–including smiling advice for women
• How to use nonverbal cues and signals to communicate more effectively and get the reactions you want

Filled with fascinating insights, humorous observations, and simple strategies that you can apply to any situation, this intriguing book will enrich your communication with and understanding of others–as well as yourself.
"The manner of presentation is so objective and projective that one finishes the book almost without realizing that it is perhaps the most effective indictment of democracy … ever penned."—John Dewey, The New Republic
Controversial and compelling, this 1922 work by a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner remains ever vital. Walter Lippmann is ranked among the most influential public figures of his era, and his reputation endures as one of history's greatest journalists. In Public Opinion, Lippmann examines democratic theory, citizenship in a democratic society, and the role of the media in forming public perceptions, expectations, and actions.
"Where mass opinion dominates the government," the author observes, "there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society," he warned, adding, "It may, if it cannot be arrested and reversed, bring about the fall of the West."
Public Opinion explores censorship and privacy, stereotypes, leadership, and the image of democracy. In doing so, it changed the nature of political science as a scholarly discipline, helped launch the profession of public relations, and introduced concepts that continue to play an important role in current political theory. It remains essential reading for students and others with an interest in politics, journalism, and history.
"You'll not only break the ice, you'll melt it away with your new skills." -- Larry King

"The lost art of verbal communication may be revitalized by Leil Lowndes." -- Harvey McKay, author of “How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”

What is that magic quality makes some people instantly loved and respected? Everyone wants to be their friend (or, if single, their lover!) In business, they rise swiftly to the top of the corporate ladder. What is their "Midas touch?"

What it boils down to is a more skillful way of dealing with people.

The author has spent her career teaching people how to communicate for success. In her book How to Talk to Anyone (Contemporary Books, October 2003) Lowndes offers 92 easy and effective sure-fire success techniques-- she takes the reader from first meeting all the way up to sophisticated techniques used by the big winners in life. In this information-packed book you’ll find:

  • 9 ways to make a dynamite first impression
  • 14 ways to master small talk, "big talk," and body language
  • 14 ways to walk and talk like a VIP or celebrity
  • 6 ways to sound like an insider in any crowd
  • 7 ways to establish deep subliminal rapport with anyone
  • 9 ways to feed someone's ego (and know when NOT to!)
  • 11 ways to make your phone a powerful communications tool
  • 15 ways to work a party like a politician works a room
  • 7 ways to talk with tigers and not get eaten alive

In her trademark entertaining and straight-shooting style, Leil gives the techniques catchy names so you'll remember them when you really need them, including: "Rubberneck the Room," "Be a Copyclass," "Come Hither Hands," “Bare Their Hot Button,” “The Great Scorecard in the Sky," and "Play the Tombstone Game,” for big success in your social life, romance, and business.

How to Talk to Anyone, which is an update of her popular book, Talking the Winner's Way (see the 5-star reviews of the latter) is based on solid research about techniques that work!

By the way, don't confuse How to Talk to Anyone with one of Leil's previous books, How to Talk to Anybody About Anything. This one is completely different!

The contrast between Individual Psychology and Social or Group Psychology, which at a first glance may seem to be full of significance, loses a great deal of its sharpness when it is examined more closely. It is true that Individual Psychology is concerned with the individual man and explores the paths by which he seeks to find satisfaction for his instincts; but only rarely and under certain exceptional conditions is Individual Psychology in a position to disregard the relations of this individual to others. In the individual's mental life someone else is invariably involved, as a model, as an object, as a helper, as an opponent, and so from the very first Individual Psychology is at the same time Social Psychology as wellÑin this extended but entirely justifiable sense of the words.
The relations of an individual to his parents and to his brothers and sisters, to the object of his love, and to his physicianÑin fact all the relations which have hitherto been the chief subject of psycho-analytic researchÑmay claim to be considered as social phenomena; and in this respect they may be contrasted with certain other processes, described by us as 'narcissistic', in which the satisfaction of the instincts is partially or totally withdrawn from the influence of other people. The contrast between social and narcissisticÑBleuler would perhaps call them 'autistic'Ñmental acts therefore falls wholly within the domain of Individual Psychology, and is not well calculated to differentiate it from a Social or Group Psychology.
From the #1 bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, the landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making. In his breakthrough bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant--in the blink of an eye--that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work--in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of "blink": the election of Warren Harding; "New Coke"; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing"--filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
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