Monday, January 11, 2010

Peculiar Us

"Most of us show an inordinate preference for the number 7 and the color blue."

Joseph T. Hallinan,Why We Make Mistakes

We certainly are peculiar creatures. After reading this book, a compendium of psychological research, I think humanity deserves a pat on the back for doing as well as we do, and that's not very good in many respects. We are overconfident,optimistic,confused, impressionable, distracted,forgettful, stuck.

"We often think we're being rational when we're being visceral, and visa versa. When a mistake does happen, we often end up blaming the wrong cause"

One of my favorites: "[R]oughly 20 percent of the miles driven and 40 percent of time spent driving are attributed to what researchers politely call 'navigation failures'-- in other words, getting lost."

And,did you know that "there are about thirty-seven thousand nail-gun injuries a year."

Counterbalancing our peculiarities requires thinking small,building in constraints, and lots of practice.

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