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Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want (Anglais) Relié – Séquence inédite, 11 février 2014

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An Overconfident Sense

A lot of leaders are coming here, to sit down and visit. I think it’s important for them to look me in the eye. Many of these leaders have the same kind of inherent ability that I’ve got, I think, and that is they can read people. I can read fear. I can read confidence. I can read resolve. And so can they—and they want to see it.
—former U.S. President George W. Bush

I’m sure you have no trouble realizing that people occasionally misunderstand each other. Such conflict keeps newspapers and divorce lawyers in business. Surely you can also think of times when others have misunderstood your thoughts, emotions, or intentions. Maybe you’ve sent a sarcastic e-mail that your coworkers took to be serious, making you look like a jerk rather than a joker? Or had earnestness mistaken for belligerence, shyness mistaken for arrogance, generosity mistaken for cynical manipulation? We’ve all been there. In your cooler moments, you probably realize that even you sometimes misinterpret and misunderstand others, including the people you should understand the best. Not often, it might seem, but at least sometimes.

More often, though, our sixth sense leaves us feeling like George W. Bush, with considerable confidence in our ability to understand others. Bush even had this clear sense after meeting Vladimir Putin for the first time: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. . . . I was able to get a sense of his soul.”1 Whether accurate or not, our first impressions are formed quickly and easily, and are therefore held with considerable confidence. Seeing someone for only fifty milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye, gives us enough time to form an impression of their competence.2 These snap judgments matter. In one experiment, politicians who looked more competent than their rivals after a fleeting glance were significantly more likely to win their election (about 70 percent of the time), suggesting that those snap judgments put people into our most powerful positions.3 Your sixth sense works quickly and is not prone to second-guessing.

So just how accurately do we understand the minds of others? For many years, psychologists have been trying to answer this question by putting mind reading to the test. We might, for instance, ask you to look at pictures of people who are happy or sad, proud or ashamed, elated or afraid, to see how accurately you can recognize each emotion.

Or we might ask a group of people to tell us how much they like you, then ask you to predict how much each of these people will report liking you, and then compare your predictions with the other people’s actual rating to assess your accuracy.

How well do we perform on these tests? Are we as socially skilled as we think?

Mirror, Mirror

To get a sense of your actual abilities, let’s start with what is likely to be a very common and important bit of mind reading: trying to guess another person’s impression of you. Much of our everyday life is spent trying to understand how we’re being evaluated in order to help us create just the right impression. Does your boss think you are intelligent? Do your coworkers like you? Do your employees understand your instructions? Does your neighbor find you trustworthy? Does your spouse really love you? Or perhaps more important if you are young and single, do others think you are attractive?

In fact, knowing what others think of you appears to be one of the most common things you might want to know about the minds of others. In one survey, Mary Steffel and I asked an online sample of five hundred Americans to imagine that we had invented a “brainoscope” that would allow us to see into the minds of others. We asked our respondents to imagine that this device would allow them to know what others are thinking and feeling with perfect accuracy. We then asked our respondents to tell us who they would use their brainoscope on and what they’d want to learn about. Somewhat to our surprise, our respondents were not interested in understanding the minds of the rich, famous, or powerful. Instead, the vast majority wanted to peer into the minds of those closest to them, particularly spouses and dating partners but also bosses, family members, and neighbors. Interestingly, they wanted to get a look at the minds of those they presumably knew the best. And what our respondents wanted to find out most was what these other people thought of them. The majority wanted their brainoscope to work like a magical mirror, Narcissus 2.0.

This isn’t such a bad idea. Knowing your own reputation can be surprisingly difficult. Consider, for instance, a study that analyzed a set of published experiments all sharing the same basic design.4 In these experiments, people working in a group would be asked to predict how the other group members would rate them on a series of different traits. Researchers then compared these predicted ratings to the other group members’ actual ratings on the very same traits. The traits varied from one experiment to another and included qualities like intelligence, sense of humor, consideration, defensiveness, friendliness, and leadership ability. The groups varied in familiarity, with the members of some groups being fairly unfamiliar with one another (such as having met only once, in a job interview) and the members of other groups being very familiar with one another (such as having lived together for an extended time as roommates). If people knew exactly what others were thinking, then there would be a perfect correspondence between predicted and actual ratings. If people were clueless, then there would be no correspondence between the two. Statistically speaking, you measure relationships like these with a correlation, where perfect correspondence yields a correlation of 1 and no correspondence yields a correlation of 0. The closer the correlation is to 1, the stronger the relationship.

First, the good news. These experiments suggested that people are pretty good, overall, at guessing how a group of others would evaluate them, on average. The overall correlation in these experiments between predicted impressions and the average actual impression of the group was quite high (.55, if you are quantitatively inclined). To put that in perspective, this is roughly the same magnitude as the correlation between the heights of fathers and the heights of sons (around .5). It is not perfect insight, but it is also very far from being clueless. In other words, you probably have a decent sense of what others generally think of you, on average.

Now the bad news. These experiments also assessed how well people could predict the impression of any single individual within a given group. You may know, for instance, that your coworkers in general think you are rather smart, but those coworkers also vary in their impression of you. Some think you are as sharp as a knife. Others think you are as sharp as a spoon. Do you know the difference?

Evidently, no. The accuracy rate across these experiments was barely better than random guessing (an overall correlation of .13 between predicted and actual evaluations, only slightly higher than no relationship whatsoever). Although you might have some sense of how smart your coworkers think you are, you appear to have no clue about which coworkers in particular find you smart and which do not. As one author of the study writes, “People seem to have just a tiny glimmer of insight into how they are uniquely viewed by particular other people.”5

But perhaps this is holding your mind-reading abilities to too high a standard? It’s hard, after all, to define traits like intelligence and trustworthiness precisely, so it might not be so surprising that we have difficulty guessing how others will evaluate us on these ambiguous traits. What about predicting something simpler, such as how much other people like you? Surely you are better at this. You learn over time to hang around people who smile at you and avoid those who spit at you. You must have a much better sense of who likes you and who hates you within a group. Yes?

I’m afraid not. These studies found that people are only slightly better than chance at guessing who in a group likes them and who does not (the average correlation here was a meager .18). Some of your coworkers like you and others do not, but I wouldn’t count on you knowing the difference. The same barely-better-than-guessing accuracy is also found in experiments investigating how well speed daters can assess who wants to date them and who does not, how well job candidates can judge which interviewers were impressed by them and which were not, and even how well teachers can predict their course evaluations. Granted, it’s rare that you are completely clueless about how you are evaluated. Accuracy tends to be better than chance in these experiments, but not necessarily by very much.

Perhaps, though, getting these broad and general evaluations right is still too much to expect of your sixth sense. What if we tried something simpler still, something specific and concrete that you’ve likely spent a considerable amount of time thinking and learning about? Can you accurately predict how attractive a member of the opposite sex will find you after being shown a photograph of you? You have, after all, lived a full life with yourself, looking at your face in the mirror every morning, and getting a sense of whether people tend to find you attractive or not. At certain points in your life (perhaps you’re at that point right now), you may have thought of little else. And yet when Tal Eyal and I ran a series of experiments in which we asked people to predict how attractive they would be rated by a member of the opposite sex who was evaluating a photograph we took of them, we found that people’s predictions were no more accurate than chance guessing.6 Across two different experiments, the overall correlation between predicted and actual evaluations was 0. It’s not that our volunteers consistently thought they were more attractive than they were actually rated, but that their predictions of how attractive they would be considered from a single photograph simply bore no relation to how they were actually rated on the basis of that photograph. It is often said that love is blind, but our participants did not even have a chance to be blinded by any love. They were just blind to begin with.

The central challenge for your sixth sense is that others’ inner thoughts are revealed only through the façade of their faces, bodies, and language. Just as human beings have evolved the ability to use cues from that façade to see what truly lies beneath—to be mind readers—so, too, have human beings developed a skill to use their façade to mislead and misdirect others—to be liars and deceivers. Anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of “Does my butt look big in these pants?” knows that what you say to someone does not always reflect what you truly believe about them. And yet, time and time again, researchers have found that our attempts to guess when another person is telling the truth and when they are lying are just that: little better than guesses. When George W. Bush met Vladimir Putin, he felt like he had learned a great deal about the inner “soul” of this former KGB agent by reading his behavior. I wouldn’t bet on it. When one group of researchers evaluated decades of studies and hundreds of experiments that measured how well people could distinguish truths from lies, they found that people’s ability to spot deception was only a few percentage points better than a random coin flip: people were 54 percent accurate overall, when random guessing would make you accurate 50 percent of the time.7

These mistakes are no laughing matter. At times, they can have deadly serious consequences. Neville Chamberlain, as the prime minister of Great Britain, believed Adolf Hitler’s assurance in 1938 that peace could be preserved with Czechoslovakia and thus encouraged the Czechs not to mobilize their army. “In spite of the hardness and ruthlessness I thought I saw in his face, I got the impression that here was a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word,” Chamberlain said. He was wrong. Hitler was actually lying, having already mobilized his army to attack Czechoslovakia and needing to buy just a little more time to ensure a crushing invasion. Nearly seventy years later, American officials had learned not to trust scoundrels. They were therefore certain that Saddam Hussein was lying when he said, time and again, that he had no weapons of mass destruction. But again, like the majority of American people at the time, they were wrong.8 Americans went to war, mistakenly believing that Hussein was lying when he was actually telling the truth. It’s easy to see how understanding other people can be a daunting task if you are unable to tell when they are misleading you and when they are not.

Illusions of Insight

Although it may be challenging, perhaps reading the minds of others still isn’t very much of a problem in everyday life because our mind reading is finely tuned to those we know the best, such as our closest friends, relatives, colleagues, and spouses. Long-married spouses sometimes say they know each other so well that they can complete each other’s sentences. Really getting to know someone puts you in sync with them, you might think, so you’re able to understand each other’s thoughts without even uttering a single word. There is no doubt that friends, coworkers, and romantic partners think they know each other’s minds better than they know the minds of strangers. Is this confidence justified? Do we really know our friends and loved ones as well as we believe we do?

Again, the answer is no, but this answer comes in two parts. The first part is that you are indeed better able to read the minds of close friends and loved ones than those of strangers, although not by all that much. William Ickes, a pioneer in research on mind-reading accuracy, points out that in his experiments, “strangers read each other with an average accuracy rate of 20 percent” when videotaped and later asked to report their moment-by-moment thoughts and feelings.9 “Close friends and married couples,” he reports, “nudge that up to 35 percent.” So yes, you do know what your spouse or a close friend likes and dislikes more than a random stranger would, but the gain may be surprisingly modest. The second part of this answer, however, is that the confidence you have in knowing the mind of a close friend or romantic partner far outstrips your actual accuracy. Getting to know someone, even over a lifetime of marriage, creates an illusion of insight that far surpasses actual insight.10

Revue de presse

Praise for Nicholas Epley's Mindwise

“Animals and humans think, but only humans can understand what others are thinking. Without this ability, cooperative society is unimaginable. It’s a sixth sense, akin to mind reading, writes Epley in this clever psychology primer....Epley ably explores many entertaining and entirely convincing mistakes, so readers will have a thoroughly satisfying experience.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This book isn’t pop psychology but popularly written, genuine behavioral psychology, based on the findings of carefully constructed experiments. Its subject is the so-called sixth sense, by which humans descry what others feel, think, and know, and which we variously call intuition, sympathy, and mind reading. The experiments Epley describes verify its reality and, more important, that it isn’t nearly as reliable as we assume; indeed, it’s only modestly better than chance at rightly ascertaining particulars (e.g., opinions, preferences, details), even those of spouses, family members, and bosom friends….Useful!—Booklist

“'Mindwise' is good reading for negotiators, the makers of public policy, heck, for anyone who interacts with other people, and that should be all of us. Mr. Epley is a genial, informative host in this tour of some of the most interesting findings in the social psychology of understanding one another, which he calls "mind-reading." His examples are drawn from the headlines as well as the peer-reviewed literature, and he keeps things going at a quick pace without dumbing-down the science.” David J. Levitin, The Wall Street Journal

“Psychologist Nicholas Epley’s Mind-wise provides a guide to understanding the minds of others. His engrossing book outlines the strategies that we use: projecting from our own minds, using stereotypes, and inferring from others’ actions.…Epley is a lucid and magnetic host, and his book...is crammed with evidence-based research.” Leyla Sanai, The Independent

“Nuanced, authoritative and accessible.” —Nature

Since Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Freakonomics there has been a vast output of books on behavioural science. Many have been quite poor—formulaic books supporting obvious conclusions at unnecessary length. Mindwise stands out from the crowd. It is surprising, intelligent, and convincing. It continues to make worthwhile points in every chapter (after about chapter two most books of this kind are repeating themselves) and the author tells you things you don't know without straining for effect. You emerge from reading it understanding both yourself and others better, which is not a bad dividend from reading fewer than 200 pages.” Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

“What to expect of a book with such a title? In this neuroscience-obsessed age, the best guess would be an enthusiastic account, illuminated with dramatic, if misleading, colour images of the brain regions that light up when people placed inside an MRI scanner are asked to think about their social relations. Or, by contrast, philosophical reflections on free will, the intentional stance and theories of mind. Refreshingly, however, Mindwise is free of such neuro- or philosophical ruminations; it takes for granted that we and our fellow humans have minds, and can exercise free will. Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioural science at the Chicago Booth business school, by and large takes the internal workings of our brains for granted, and focuses instead on the common – and sometimes uncommon – sense of how we understand our own thoughts and actions, and, above all, read the thoughts and intentions of others.” Steven Rose, The Guardian

“This is a fascinating exploration of what scientists have learned about our ability to understand the most complicated puzzle on the planet—other people—and the surprising mistakes we so routinely make” —Podacademy.org

“Immensely readable….not only clear but enjoyable as well….a fascinating look at how people understand one another, the obstacles to that understanding, and the ways in which they can hone their natural mind-reading ability. Though it may not be the kind of mind-reading found in science fiction, Mindwise gives readers the tools to get one step closer to better grasping the minds around them.” —Amanda Wicks, Washington Independent Review of Books
“Epley’s account suggests that unless you genuinely value the perspective of others, and not just those that conform to your own, you are not going to understand them. Really effective smart thinking is not, therefore, just a means to an end: it has to be rooted in what we see as ends in themselves, the values by which we live.” —Julian Baggini, Financial Times

“One of the smartest and most entertaining books I have read in years.  At a time when there are dozens of popular social science books to choose from, Epley's masterpiece stands out as the cream of the crop.” —Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics
Mindwise is a brilliant and beautiful exploration of the mystery of other minds—and how we fail to solve it. Insightful and important, Mindwise is one of the best books of this or any other decade.” —Daniel Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness 
“What is it like to be someone else? How can we get into other people’s heads? These questions have challenged the greatest thinkers in Western philosophy, and they obsess every one of us as we try to deal with our family, lovers, friends, enemies, colleagues, and allies. In Mindwise, the distinguished social psychologist Nicholas Epley offers a lively and fascinating tour of the latest science on how we figure out (and all too often fail to figure out) what everyone else is thinking.”
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought

“‘Know thyself,’ commanded the Oracle at Delphi. Mindwise shows us why that’s so hard to do, yet so vital as the starting point for understanding others. Epley writes with scientific authority, grace, and deep humanity. You’ll come away from this book understanding the African concept of Ubuntu: A person is a person through other people.”
—Jonathan Haidt, NYU Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind

“Why are we often so terribly bad at figuring out what other people are thinking? Nicholas Epley is one of the smartest and most creative social psychologists alive, and in his extraordinary new book, he explores the powers and the limits of our capacity for ‘mindreading.’ Epley is a clear and engaging writer, and Mindwise is replete with fascinating insights into human nature.”
—Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University, author of Just Babies

“Too much of life's misery comes from misunderstanding what others are thinking, and from assuming that those we love must know what is (obviously!) on our mind. Mindwise is a highly enjoyable and informative book by one of psychology's rising stars that will make you spend less time in pointless arguments and more time in rewarding relationships. Gaining some wisdom about the minds of others will be painless and priceless.”
—Richard H. Thaler, Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Behavioral Science, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

“Epley delivers the good news that we all have a sixth sense, an ability to read minds. The bad news is that we are not very good at it…Epley draws on a wealth of empirical social psychological research to help make sense of how humans understand and misunderstand one another.”—Science (2014 Summer Reading Selection)

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8cd9d8a0) étoiles sur 5 113 commentaires
39 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d1923b4) étoiles sur 5 Why we are so often wrong about what others think and feel - and how to gain a new perspective 28 janvier 2014
Par Kcorn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Why do we so often fail - in spite of our best efforts - to grasp the minds of those we meet? Do we truly know what our spouse thinks about common situations? Can we even vaguely imagine what it feels like to walk in another person's shoes?

According to Nicholas Epley, the answer is often a resounding "No". But he counters this discouraging conclusion with many suggestions, often supported with lively examples, for gaining new insights about what might work better. Reading this well-researched book offers readers the opportunity to foster understanding and closeness, not only with casual acquaintances, but those we think we know - spouses, children, close friends.

I think it is important to note that the book isn't filled with step-by-step directions or techniques for "reading" people's minds. But gaining a new perspective about how others think can be invaluable. A changed outlook may automatically lead to new and better ways of understanding others.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book for me focused on couples, including those married for many years. Most had the illusion that they could easily predict how their spouse would react or feel in a common situation. But when put to the test, Epley proves that they were often way off the mark.

Many people also believe that they can size up another person. So they listen to conversations and form conclusions about what others feel and believe. Or they try to grasp another person's lifestyle and views, yet are baffled when this doesn't foster any real communication.

To improve understanding, Epley suggests we examine our conclusions about other people's thoughts and beliefs. Real examples underline the importance of positive relationships. Slip-ups at work can threaten job security. Regularly missing a spouse's emotional cues can result in frequent hurt feelings. Extreme conflicts can even lead to violence or death.

To support his conclusions, Epley's provides fascinating studies as well as examples from his own life and others. These reveal how often assumptions are wrong. He even brings up critical moments in history. Some were successfully resolved (and Epley explains why). Others led to political crises.

This is not a pop psychology book so don't expect a glib or easy read. Although it has many lively moments, others are more dense. These may take a fair amount of your time and concentration. But this book is so worth the effort, with the potential to foster authentic and accurate understanding of other people. For me, that made it a thoroughly rewarding read.
29 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8cda51f8) étoiles sur 5 Pogo Was Right 17 avril 2014
Par M. Hallisey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
When it comes to understanding other folks, we do a fairly good job, but - according to Mr. Epley, author of this book - we botch it up by over-estimating how good we are. We have the correct tools, but we both over-use and under-use them. Epley addresses essential social survival skills (such as dehumanizing, stereotyping, empathizing, inferring, etc.) and attempts to demonstrate that our best intentions generally go awry. In the end, Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

While the title of the book tells us it will address how we understand others, we learn that the first "other" is not someone else but our own self (see page 29 where Epley quotes Jung: "In each of us there is another whom we do not know"). This is an awfully good insight and one that should be remembered while reading the book: we will never be better at reading others while we kid ourselves about our own selves.

So Mr. Epley gives us (or tries to) the tools to make us better mind readers (of our own selves and of others). I'm not sure he makes his stated case. So while this is not a bad book, it certainly does not seem to me to be a great (or even good) book. While there are a number of good/interesting insights, anecdotes, and notes throughout (who would have thought a psychology monograph would cite John Mearsheimer?), I found myself alternately intrigued and bored. The book would catch my attention and within paragraphs lose it. I found it a struggle to stay engaged.

Whether my struggle came as a result of a writing style that just wasn't my cup of tea or a recognition of the trouble the author has integrating philosophy and rhetoric (and what not) into a psychology book I can't say. I can say I loved the extensive notes; I can also say that I wasn't thrilled with an effort that seemed disjointed, disorganized, and ultimately, superficial.

Finally, I must comment on the way the book wrapped up. First, the author's choice of vignette to summarize the book's thesis missed the mark and as such, contributed to an afterword that just fell flat. From an historian's perspective, Epley's view of the Cuban Missile Crisis is woefully under-informed in that he essentially sole-sourced his information and the sole source he used had a political agenda to advance (and thus should be considered biased). But even if the reader is not disappointed with the choice of vignette, I suspect I am not the only person who thought the book just ran out of gas. This was one of the most anti-climatic and disappointing wrap-ups I have ever read.

Summary: 3 stars. Flip a coin: some things grabbed me, some didn't. I am a bit more educated for reading the book, but rue the amount of time spent getting to the last page.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d0b7fd8) étoiles sur 5 Misreading the Mind of Others: The Major Source of Wreckage in All Human Relationships 2 février 2014
Par Thomas M. Loarie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
With "Mindwise," Author, Financial Times' "professor to watch," and University of Chicago Booth School of Business' professor of psychology, Nicolas Epley, PhD., brings our "sixth sense" of understanding others out of the shadows into the light of scientific inspection. This "sixth sense," an extraordinary ability to understand what others think, feel, and believe, allows us to connect with others deeply, intimately, and honestly. Unfortunately, this ability can also be the greatest source of misunderstanding, leading to damaged relationships, bitter fights, and even war.

"Mindwise" brings your brain's greatest ability out of the shadows and into the light, showing how, and how well we reason about our thoughts, motives, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions of others. Epley's insights, gained over two decades of scientific inspection, will serve as a guide to show how predictable malfunctions (dehumanization, egocentricity, stereotypes, and misleading information from behaviors) keep us from truly understanding the minds of others and create personal difficulties. With this knowledge as the backdrop, he sets out to show us how our ability to think about the minds of others can improve so we can be wiser in our personal and professional relationships, improving our lives and the lives of those we come into contact with.

"Mindwise" is organized into four parts - (Mis) Reading Minds, Does It Have a Mind?, What State Is Another Mind In?, and "Through the Eyes of Others." Some takeaways include:

* Reading minds is a sense we use with great overconfidence. We are likely to understand much less about the minds of family members and friends, neighbors, coworkers, and competitors than we guess.
* We cannot read anyone's mind perfectly. Our mistakes are especially interesting because they are a major source of wreckage in our relationships, careers, and lives, leading to needless conflict.
* We routinely make mistakes by failing to consider the mind of another and run the risk of treating him or her more like a relatively mindless animal or object. These mistakes are at the heart of dehumanization.
* Our most common mistakes come from egocentrism, an overreliance on stereotype, and all too easy assumptions we make about others when we match their mind to their actions. six uses and abuses of stereotypes

Epley uses a great metaphor to explain the need for self-correction when we use our "sixth sense" when trying to understand the mind of the other. He notes that however great our greatest abilities are, they far from perfect. Just like vision. While most can see reasonably well, we still need corrective lenses to see clearly. Likewise, while our ability to understand the mind of others is reasonably accurate, it is also home to systemic mistake and needs its own corrective lens to provide clarity.

This is a very thoughtful, provocative, and well written book... a book I would recommend to those seeking improvement in their relational life - stronger friendships, better marriages, etc. Being able to understand others is the grease that allows us to move smoothly through life.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d1bc708) étoiles sur 5 This book WANTS you to better understand the human mind! 22 février 2014
Par MedTechGabe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Mindwise is a story composed of stories. Epley masterfully weaves together volumes of learning in social psychology into an easy-to-follow, fun-to-read text that you won't want to put down.

Do you really know yourself? Do you know your partner? If you do, do you know WHY they are the way they are? You probably feel you can answer in the affirmative. But just as you probably don't know why I'm writing this review, you'll find compelling evidence that perhaps you won't even know why you'll be buying this book. But trust me, you should buy the book.

The author presents a litany of hard science - but doesn't drone on about it. He tells the reader what they need to know and puts it in context. And, not to worry, this is no textbook. You'll be consistently rewarded with fascinating stories, new paradigms, and even stories about you. I perhaps most enjoyed the witty, unexpected one-liners. To paraphrase: For the sake of your social life, try not to injure this area of your brain. I chuckled out loud several times!

Epley does not place himself above those of us getting up to speed. He becomes an approachable actor in his own work - self-deprecating, pointing out his own flaws in perception in relate-able examples from everyday life and generally having fun with an important topic.

On the serious side, this book is about humanity. A thoughtful individual will take away a greater resolve to treat others more humanely, to show a sincere interest, to seek understanding before judgement, to offer a modicum of empathy for others.

I found the book humbling, inspirational, funny, and memorable.

Now get yourself a copy, because you should have one.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8cfe60b4) étoiles sur 5 Better than I expected 27 mars 2014
Par Edward Durney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
This book Mindwise treads the line between psychology and self-help. There seem to be a lot of those kind of books lately. Some of them, at least, seem to sell well. I've certainly read a lot of them. The cynic in me says that's because hope springs eternal in our breasts, so we buy yet another book that we think will lead us to a better life, not because any of the books actually help us much.

So when I saw the blurb on Mindwise from "best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness" Daniel Gilbert that called Mindwise "one of the best books of this or any other decade," my skepticism awoke. And I must say, having read the book, that Daniel Gilbert was overstating the case. This book is not one of the best books of this decade, let alone any other decade. It's not even one of the best books of this year.

That said, I do think Mindwise is a book worth reading. Why? Because the book is as "insightful" as Daniel Gilbert says in his blurb. Nicholas Epley presents a lot of the same old stories as other books of this type. But unlike other books, he often sees more in these same old stories than the same old lessons. When he talks about obesity, for example, he notes that people are fat because we eat too much and exercise too little. Since the general feeling seems to be that we don't eat less and exercise more either (1) out of ignorance or (2) because we don't want to lose weight, the common sense solution is to try to raise awareness about the dangers of obesity so that we'll be more motivated to lose weight. When that doesn't work (and it doesn't seem to have helped at all), the common reaction is to try harder rather than to change tactics and try another approach.

But our tactics are not working, and we need to try another approach to combat obesity. That kind of insight was refreshing to see. Unfortunately for obesity Nicholas Epley's solution does not seem much better--he suggests that eating off salad plates rather than the larger dinner plates will help us eat less, but recent research seems to call this "Small Plate Movement" into question. Still, at least he thinks about things more than in most books of this type.

In particular, I liked his suggestion that we try to get another person's perspective by asking them rather than by trying ourselves to take their perspective. He cites a saying from medicine to support this, noting that a patient will be trying to tell a doctor what is wrong with the patient, so the doctor should (often) shut up and listen. He notes that others' minds will never be an open book, so the secret to understanding others is not to try to read body language or improve your perspective taking, but rather to do the hard work of developing a relationship where people feel that they can tell you their minds openly and honestly.

Nicholas Epley gave an excellent example of the fact that we cannot simply try harder to view the world through the eyes of another and thus be more accurate, since we cannot see how our own biases filter our perspective taking. He pointed out how many people think waterboarding is not torture. But nobody who has actually experienced waterboarding says that. A Chicago "shock jock" felt that waterboarding was not torture, and even agreed to undergo it. The marine sergeant who gave him the treatment told him that the average person can only take waterboarding for 15 seconds, and that the shock jock was going to wiggle, and scream, and wish he never did it. In fact, the shock jock lasted only seven seconds, and after undergoing it said it was "absolutely torture."

If we want to understand what's on the mind of another, Nicholas Epley says, the best we can do may be to rely on our ears more than our inferences and feelings. Even then, he notes, we need to realize our limitations. Sometimes a sense of humility is the best our wise minds can offer, he concludes his book, recognizing that there's more to the mind of another person than we may ever imagine.
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