Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Mar 1, 2011 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
“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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User Review  - lycaenidae - LibraryThing

Great case studies and examples of this concept of willful blindness related to large organizations and personal lifestyle choices, including helpful prompts for self assessment based on the case study failures and successes. Read full review

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User Review  - Copacati - LibraryThing

This book should be required reading for every college business and environmental student. If there is a way to save our present society, an understanding of this material will be a crucial part of it ... Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Margaret Heffernan, former CEO of several interactive media companies, blogs for BNET and the Huffington Post. She is the author of The Naked Truth and How She Does It, and lives in New Hampshire and England. Her TED have been viewed by over six million people. Visit her Web site at www.mheffernan.com.

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