Better by Mistake
The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong
By Alina Tugend
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594487859, 304pp.)
Publication Date: March 17, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
A New York Times columnist delivers an eye-opening big idea: Embracing mistakes can make us smarter, healthier, and happier in every facet of our lives.
In this persuasive book, journalist Alina Tugend examines the delicate tension between what we're told-we must make mistakes in order to learn-and the reality-we often get punished for making mistakes, and therefore try to avoid them or cover them up. In Better by Mistake, Tugend shows that mistakes are everywhere, and suggests that when we acknowledge and identify them correctly, we can improve not only ourselves, but our families, our work, and the world around us.
Through fascinating research, Tugend reveals how trying to avoid mistakes can affect us from the earliest stages in our lives and shape us into adults who steer clear of risks and challenges. She takes us behind the scenes into cutting-edge behavioral studies; invites us into the high-stakes world of health care and aviation, where mistakes can cost lives, and delves into the art and science behind learning how to craft a sincere apology and accepting responsibility for mistakes.
Bold and dynamic, insightful and provocative, Better by Mistake turns our cultural wisdom on its head to illustrate the downside of striving for perfection, and the rewards of acknowledging mistakes and embracing the imperfection in all of us.
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Alina Tugend has been a journalist for more than 25 years. She earned a bachelor's degree at U.C. Berkeley and a Masters of Studies of Law at Yale Law School. She has written about education, environmentalism, and consumer culture for numerous publications including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, the Atlantic, American Journalism Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Child, and Parents among others. Since 2005, she has written the bi-weekly consumer column “Shortcuts” for the New York Times business section. She lives in Larchmont, NY, with her husband, their two sons and two cats.
"Better By Mistake is a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the deeply human phenomenon of screwing up. With Alina Tugend as your wise (and wise-cracking) guide, you'll learn why perfection is a myth, why apologies pack power, and why effort is often more important than results. And once you've finished this book, you'll never look at mistakes -- or yourself -- the same way."
-Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"Oh what a jewel of a book this is! Read it, smile, learn, be surprised, then rejoice in your newly found power of imperfection. Glory in your foibles, rejoice in your mistakes, knowing that if you will but embrace what you may have wanted to deny or avoid, not only will you become more true, you will also grow both in strength and in joy."
-Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of CrazyBusy and Driven to Distraction
"The research presented in Better by Mistake is refreshingly clear and often surprising. Read it and find out why Japanese teachers allow students to spend twelve minutes or more explaining their wrong answer to a math problem, why posting grades for all to see is an example of a healthy understanding of the cyclical nature of time and why praise lowers ambition. This book is fascinating, practical and fun."
-Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
"Alina Tugend is a terrific reporter, one who knows how to guide her readers through complex issues that matter."
-Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code