Note to self regarding “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions” by Zachary Shore

I recently finished Zachary Shore’s book “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions.” I think I heard an interview with Shore on a show on NPR and the lessons from the book seem important.

So, some time has passed, I’ve read the book, and before I pass it on to someone else, I feel a need to record some personal notes about it, in case I lose it.

The blunders (titles of the 1st 7 chapters of the book):

  1. Exposure Anxiety: The Fear of Being Seen as Weak
  2. Causefusion: Confusing the Causes of Complex Events
  3. Flatview: Seeing the World in One Dimension
  4. Cure-allism: Believeing that One Size Really Fits All
  5. Infomania: The Obsessive Relationship to Information
  6. Mirror Imaging: Thinking the Other Side Thinks Like Us
  7. Static Cling: Refusal to Accept a Changing World

From the last chapter, Shore mentioned 5 ways to prevent blunders.

  1. Mental flexibility
  2. Willingness to question majority view
  3. Rejection of reductionism
  4. Development of empathy and imagination
  5. Embrace uncertainty

I don’t have the time that writing about this book deserves, but in relation to user experience design, these lessons certainly apply and complement what I’m sure many UX pros already have learned. The historical perspectives in the book made it interesting and provided realistic narratives to explain the various cognition traps.

As a designer and a product owner in scrum, this is an important read. Advisors and executives should read this book, too.

There are some bits of information that I try to memorize in order to encourage my mind to recall them as needed. Some proverbs, usability heuristics, certain interaction design “laws”…and now these blunders I will try to add to this list.

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