Renowned psychologists describe the five most useful insights from social psychology that will help make you “wise”: wise about why we behave the way we do, and wise about how to use that knowledge to understand others and change ourselves for the better.
When faced with a challenge, we often turn to those we trust for words of wisdom. Friends, relatives, and colleagues: someone with the best advice about how to boost sales, the most useful insights into raising children, or the sharpest take on a political issue. In The Wisest One in the Room, renowned social psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross ask: Why? What do these people know? What are the foundations of their wisdom? And, as professors and researchers who specialize in the study of human behavior, they wonder: What general principles of human psychology are they drawing on to reach these conclusions?
They find that wisdom, unlike intelligence, demands some insight into people—their hopes, fears, passions, and drives. It’s true for the executive running a Fortune 500 company, the candidate seeking public office, the artist trying to create work that will speak to the ages, or the single parent trying to get a child through the tumultuous adolescent years. To be wise, they discover, one must be psych-wise when dealing with everyday challenges.
In The Wisest One in the Room Gilovich and Ross show that to answer any kind of behavioral question, it is essential to understand the details—especially the hidden and subtle details—of the situational forces acting upon us. Understanding these forces is the key to becoming wiser in the way we understand the people and events we encounter, and wiser in the way we deal with the challenges that are sure to come our way. With the lessons gleaned here, you can learn the key to becoming “the wisest one in the room.”
Thomas Gilovich is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Lee Ross),How We Know What Isn’t So, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, and Social Psychology. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
Lee Ross is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and co-founder of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiations. He is the author of The Wisest One in the Room (with Thomas Gilovich), The Person and the Situation, and Human Inference.
“The wisest ones in the room are, in fact, Tom Gilovich and Lee Ross. This is a powerful book that brings the best of psychology to bear on the way we live our lives.”
– Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of THE TIPPING POINT, BLINK, OUTLIERS, and most recently, DAVID AND GOLIATH
“Two of the world’s most brilliant social psychologists have distilled the field’s wisdom into a few essential lessons for understanding the fabric of our everyday lives. This is the essential lecture that you never heard in college. Don’t miss it a second time.”
– Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and bestselling author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS
“The Wisest One in the Room combines rich science, compelling stories, and graceful prose to teach you more about other people and yourself than you ever thought you knew. Two of the world’s greatest social psychologists will help you understand the sources of many of the world’s greatest triumphs and most pressing problems--from racism to partisanship, from happiness to consumer behavior, from media biases to international conflicts, from persuasion to healthy eating, from knocking out educational disparities to mitigating climate change. Every person who wants to be wiser, happier, and more successful--and that includes most of us--should read this book.”
– Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and bestselling author of THE HOW OF HAPPINESS
“In The Wisest One in the Room, Gilovich and Ross weave social science, history and anecdotes in a compelling way to help us understand human nature, where we make mistakes and how we might be able to live to our full potential.”
– Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics, and most recently bestselling author of Irrationally Yours
“This fine volume is essential reading if you want a deeper understanding of why people (you included) think, feel, and act, as they do…I came away from this remarkable work feeling wiser not only about my day-to-day life, but also about an issue to which I have devoted much of my career—escalating climate disruption and our continuing collective failure to address it.”
– Paul R. Ehrlich, professor of Population Studies at Stanford University and award-winning author of, most recently, Betrayal of Science and Reason