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A few months ago I bought an Instant Pot (which, yes, has revolutionized my life) and three new cookbooks to help me understand how to use it. Two of those cookbooks were terrific and the third was, well, awful.
That cookbook was full of errors, had few helpful instructions and no illustrations, and was organized in an incomprehensible way.
Reviews - Amazon
So why did I buy it? Because it had more than a thousand five-star reviews on Amazon.
I figured all those people couldn’t possibly be wrong. Right? Right?
Haste - Cookbook - Amidst - Number - Choices
Wrong. In my haste to purchase a cookbook amidst an overwhelming number of choices I ignored some potential red flags, like that the book was self-published and the author had no prior experience writing cookbooks or particular expertise in, you know, actually cooking. I just went with the crowd of five-star reviewers (some of whom, I am convinced, must have been paid).
That kind of experience is not unusual, says Berkeley psychology professor Charlan Nemeth in her new book In Defense of Troublemakers: The Power of Dissent in Life and Business, which I just finished reading. Even though the book is not about religion, from my perspective as a Mormon, I was nodding along with many of her research findings about how readily human beings cluster around the safety of a majority opinion—and how quick we are to disbelieve or even attack dissenters who express a different point of view. I see this a lot at church, to be candid.
Confirmation - Bias - Thinking - Everyone - Ideas
Such confirmation bias leads to consensus thinking, to “everyone knows that . . . ” ideas. But consensus thinking is often wrong, and Troublemakers offers example after depressing example of times when majority rule has led to unfortunate or even fatal outcomes, like wrongful convictions by juries and even a plane crash.
Majority “thinking” tends to be wrong because it...
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