Mistakes Were Made,

But Not By Me


Psychologists Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson have opened the little understood world of cognitive dissonance. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) gives us a peek into a side of our behavior that none of us wants exposed. The subtitle, Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, should be enough to make you want to add this fascinating book to your library.

The problem for many of us comes when we encounter an issue that seems a little across the ethical line  It’s easy to justify bending slightly.  It happens to all of us and we all succumb at some time to the temptation to let it slide.

 We justify our actions in many ways and soon we believe that we have done the right thing or at least the best we could.  If it’s an occasional thing it certainly doesn’t make you an unethical person.

 It’s when one thing leads to another and you slide further and further down the slippery slope. All the while finding justifications for your actions.  

 This all too common human trait is called, “Cognitive Dissidence.” In Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me, the authors examine this built in aspect of our nature and the chaos it creates in our lives.  Chaos that cannot help but enter the workplace. It is a fascinating and sobering read.