18 October 2010

Day 17: A book you've read that changed your perspective on something

I'm tempted to make a list rather than pick a single book. It seems like everything I've read has changed my perspective to some degree. Whenever I open my mind to someone else's line of thinking, I realize just how limited my thoughts can be. 

But even though the books I could list are many, I've decided to go with the most recent. I just read The Invisible Gorrilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabis and Daniel Simons. It's based on a fairly well known study regarding our perceptions, and I've included a youtube video of the version I like the best (it works even if you've seen the original). Feel free to watch it before I bias you towards it's contents.

The study and the book demonstrate the ways common illusions can manipulate our ability to see the world accurately. We are biased by what we expect will be, mislead by what we think we will remember, overconfident in our abilities and in our knowledge, incorrect in judging cause and effect, and too often distracted by potential. What I'm trying to say is there was a lot to digest. It's a book to make you second-guess yourself (which I thought I was already prone to, but now I'm not so sure). Judgment is too often clouded by desire and familiarity and blind acceptance.

The Invisible Gorilla is both fascinating and enlightening. More than once I have thought about how easily my senses are mislead and misinterpreted by my own mind. I wonder if I've been giving the world funny looks lately. Also, it's case studies remind me of reading Malcolm Gladwell's books (which I love and recommend). Ultimately, this book is for anyone who believes too strongly in the power of intuition.

Hmmm, now that I think about it Blink by Gladwell actually argues for the opposite concept (i.e. trusting your gut reactions). I wonder what he would think of this book.

1 comment:

  1. It's weird to think that we can trick ourselves, but there are so many times when I've done it. I guess if I can trick myself I can trick anyone, right?