The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights (Hardcover)

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If you have not read a book on cognitive biases this is a great place to start. Psychology has become very skilled at showing how bad we all are at thinking carefully and logically and how much we misestimate our inabilities in everyday life. Our intuitions fail us regularly and this often has dire social consequences. The aim of the book is to correct this--to make the reader "wiser" and better able to live with others. I kept saying to myself that the book was written too simply. It's easy to read, easy to understand, but it kept providing more and more little epiphanies. The fantastic first chapter delineates how our staunch adherence to our own viewpoints can ensnare us in many unnecessary conflicts. The following chapters highlight strategies to un-entrench ourselves. Much of the reported research has to do with personal psychology and then gets tied in with larger social problems near the end of the book; conflicts between nation states, underperformance in the classroom (specifically "stereotype threat"), and climate change. The only thing missing was an authorial self-critique. How many of the cited studies were done in contrived laboratory settings with college students as subjects? This omission by no means invalidates the plethora of insights in this enlightening work.

— Andy

If you have not read a book on cognitive biases this is a great place to start. Psychology has become very skilled at showing how bad we all are at thinking carefully and logically and how much we misestimate our inabilities in everyday life. Our intuitions fail us regularly and this often has dire social consequences. The aim of the book is to correct this--to make the reader "wiser" and better able to live with others. I kept saying to myself that the book was written too simply. It's easy to read, easy to understand, but it kept providing more and more little epiphanies. The fantastic first chapter delineates how our staunch adherence to our own viewpoints can ensnare us in many unnecessary conflicts. The following chapters highlight strategies to un-entrench ourselves. Much of the reported research has to do with personal psychology and then gets tied in with larger social problems near the end of the book; conflicts between nation states, underperformance in the classroom (specifically "stereotype threat"), and climate change. The only thing missing was an authorial self-critique. How many of the cited studies were done in contrived laboratory settings with college students as subjects? This omission by no means invalidates the plethora of insights in this enlightening work.

— Andy

Description


Renowned psychologists describe the most useful insights from social psychology that can help make you “wise”: wise about why people behave the way they do, and wise about how to use that knowledge in understanding and influencing the people in your life.

When faced with a challenge, we often turn to those we trust for words of wisdom. Friends, relatives, and colleagues: someone with the best advice about how to boost sales, the most useful insights into raising children, or the sharpest take on an ongoing conflict. In The Wisest One in the Room, renowned social psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross ask: Why? What do these people know? What are the foundations of their wisdom? And, as professors and researchers who specialize in the study of human behavior, they wonder: What general principles of human psychology are they drawing on to reach these conclusions?

They begin by noting that wisdom, unlike intelligence, demands some insight into people—their hopes, fears, passions, and drives. It’s true for the executive running a Fortune 500 company, the candidate seeking public office, the artist trying to create work that will speak to the ages, or the single parent trying to get a child through the tumultuous adolescent years. To be wise, they maintain, one must be psych-wise.

Gilovich and Ross show that to answer any kind of behavioral question, it is essential to understand the details—especially the hidden and subtle details—of the situational forces acting upon us. Understanding these forces is the key to becoming wiser in the way we understand the people and events we encounter, and wiser in the way we deal with the challenges that are sure to come our way—perhaps even the key to becoming “the wisest in the room.”

About the Author


Thomas Gilovich is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Lee Ross), How We Know What Isn’t So, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, and Social Psychology. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Lee Ross is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and co-founder of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiations. He is the author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Thomas Gilovich), The Person and the Situation, and Human Inference.

Praise For…


“Two of the world’s most brilliant social psychologists have distilled the field’s wisdom into a few essential lessons for understanding the fabric of our everyday lives. This is the essential lecture that you never heard in college. Don’t miss it a second time.”
— Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and bestselling author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS.

The Wisest One in the Room combines rich science, compelling stories, and graceful prose to teach you more about other people and yourself than you ever thought you knew. Two of the world’s greatest social psychologists will help you understand the sources of many of the world’s greatest triumphs and most pressing problems--from racism to partisanship, from happiness to consumer behavior, from media biases to international conflicts, from persuasion to healthy eating, from knocking out educational disparities to mitigating climate change. Every person who wants to be wiser, happier, and more successful--and that includes most of us--should read this book.”

“In The Wisest One in the Room, Gilovich and Ross weave social science, history and anecdotes in a compelling way to help us understand human nature, where we make mistakes and how we might be able to live to our full potential.”
— Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics, and most recently bestselling author of Irrationally Yours
Product Details
ISBN: 9781451677546
ISBN-10: 1451677545
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: December 2015
Pages: 320
Language: English