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Fully revised and updated since its first publication in 2011 to encompass further appalling instances of wilful blindness: Grenfell Tower, Carillion, Harvey Weinstein, Windrush and many more
‘Entertaining and compellingly argued’ Sunday Times
‘A tour de force of brilliant insights’ Philip Zimbardo
‘A polemic against the dangers of docility and "groupthink" in every walk of life' Books of the Year, Financial Times
‘Writing in clear, flowing prose, Heffernan draws on psychological and neurological studies and interviews with executives, whistleblowers and white-collar criminals' New York Times
'An engaging read, packed with cautionary tales ... 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, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
Why, after every major accident and blunder, do we look back and ask, 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, whistle blowers and white collar criminals, distinguished businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan examines the phenomenon of wilful 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. It makes us feel good at first, with consequences we don’t see. 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.