Published: March 1st, 2011
Publisher: Walker & Company
Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was first published in 2011.
In her latest book, Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don't see - not because they're secret or invisible, but because we're willfully blind. She examines the phenomenon and traces its imprint in our private and working lives, and within governments and organizations, and asks: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? Why do some people see more than others? And how can we change? Examining examples of willful blindness in the Catholic Church, the SEC, Nazi Germany, Bernard Madoff's investors, BP's safety record, the military in Afghanistan and the dog-eat-dog world of subprime mortgage lenders, the book demonstrates how failing to see - or admit to ourselves or our colleagues - the issues and problems in plain sight can ruin private lives and bring down corporations. The book explores how willful blindness develops and then goes on to outline some of the mechanisms, structures and strategies that institutions and individuals can use to combat it. In its wide use of psychological research and examples from history, the book has been compared to work by Malcolm Gladwell and Nicholas Taleb.
"Willful Blindness" is an engaging read, packed with cautionary tales ripped from today's headlines as well as a trove of research on why we often stick our head in the sand. 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."
From Dan Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind