Being Wrong One Day

>> Sunday, April 13, 2014

TITLE: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
AUTHOR: Kathryn Schulz

In Being Wrong, Schulz explores the many different aspects of the experience of, yes, being wrong. I was actually quite impressed by how many angles she could take. There's the question of what it is to be wrong, what the essence of wrongness is. There's the many different factors, both psychological and societal that lead us to errors (I'd already covered much of this ground on my behavioural economics reading). There's (and this felt the most novel and insightful) the issue of what it feels like to be wrong and how we humans react to it. And finally, what felt to me the point Schulz was building up to: what does it do to us, and why the author thinks making mistakes is what makes us human.

It was an interesting read and quite an enjoyable one, as well. Schulz has an engaging style and she uses plenty of examples that both illustrate and entertain. Some parts felt a little bit repetitive, but this wasn't a huge issue. Definitely worth a look.


TITLE: One Day
AUTHOR: David Nicholls

Emma and Dex meet on their graduation day at university. We follow their lives for the next decades, meeting them on one day a year. We see them as they become friends, as they can't stand each other, as they take different career paths and as they screw up (pretty often, especially in Dex's case).

I really liked this book. It's funny and insightful and the characters are wonderfully done. Yes, Dexter can be a total arsehole (especially during the Thatcher years... god, he was vile then) and Emma a bit of a doormat (especially when it comes to Dexter), but they felt like real people, and I came to care for them. They grow as the years go by, too. I also thought the structure worked beautifully, creating a sort of in-built suspense. Whenever I'd finish a chapter, I'd always get really excited to see what was coming next, how those things I'd just seen being set up would have developed over a year. Sometimes there were huge surprises, sometimes not, so I never knew exactly what to expect.

Just remember it's not a romance novel. I knew what the ending would before I started it, so it worked for me, but if you read it for the romance, you might end up hating it.



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