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

Staff Pick Logo
The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Mar 20 9:45am

Staff Reviews

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


Renowned psychologists describe the five most useful insights from social psychology that will help make you "wise" wise about why we behave the way we do, and wise about how to use that knowledge to understand others and change ourselves for the better.

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 a political issue. 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 find 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 discover, one must be psych-wise when dealing with everyday challenges.

In The Wisest One in the Room 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. With the lessons gleaned here, you can learn the key to becoming "the wisest one in the room.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781451677553
ISBN-10: 1451677553
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: December 20th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English