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  • Willful Blindness

  • Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril
  • Written by: Margaret Heffernan
  • Narrated by: Margaret Heffernan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Willful Blindness cover art

Willful Blindness

Written by: Margaret Heffernan
Narrated by: Margaret Heffernan
Free with 30-day trial

₹199 per month after 30-day trial. Cancel anytime.

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Publisher's Summary

In this controversial and eye-opening book, distinguished businesswomen and writer Margaret Heffernan examines the phenomenon of wilful blindness in all its forms: in history, in business, in government, and in the family. Heffernan takes as her starting point the 2006 case of the US Government vs Enron, in which those in charge failed to observe the corruption that was unfolding before their very eyes, but not knowing was no defence. More recently, bankers and governments were wilfully blind to the looming financial crisis. However, in our own lives, too, we can be guilty of overlooking what is right in front of us, whether in the office or at home - with potentially disastrous consequences.

Drawing on a wide array of sources from psychological studies to interviews with the people involved, Heffernan examines what it is about human nature that makes us so prone to wilful blindness.

©2011 Margaret Heffernan (P)2011 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Heffernan's cogent, riveting look at how we behave at our worst encourages us to strive for our best." ( Publishers Weekly)
"[U]sing psychological studies and interviews [the author] applies her theory to explain why incidents such as the financial crisis occur." ( Daily Express)

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What listeners say about Willful Blindness

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • 16-01-12

Fascinating!

Packed with fascinating and relevant stories and science told clearly without being dumbed down. You're bound to have some 'ah ha!' moments. A good 'dipper' as chapters fit well with the daily commute. I found I revisited some sections after I finished the book, just because there's so much good stuff in here. Ms Heffernan's voice is very individual and added to the experience - she does laid back passion well (and I'm not usually enamoured of the American accent for extended listening). If you enjoyed Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational (Dan Ariely), Snoop (Sam Gosling), or What the Dog Saw (Malcolm Gladwell) you'll love this.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Cathy and Fiona Glanville
  • 27-11-15

Worth a listen but in places it droned right on

Was Willful Blindness worth the listening time?

In parts it was really thought provoking but sometimes it felt a little like I was being told the same thing over and over after I got the point. It is worth a listen though

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-19

Very good indeed!

I cannot say how much I enjoyed this book. It is so very interesting, thought provoking and really can change how you see the world if you want to let it. I especially liked that it is read by the author herself. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to open their eyes/widen their world but not sure quite where to start. However I have also been recommending it to everyone I know!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-15

Highly relevant

Well structured and easy to understand with clear relevance to many areas in life, business, healthcare...wish it was compulsory reading for politicians and policy makers!

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  • Mr
  • 20-07-15

Sensational- one of the best books on psychology!

Interesting and inspiring in equal measures.
Some of the points are repeated slightly but that doesn't diminish what is a fantastic book and it's well worth listening to from start to finish

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  • TominCumbria
  • 19-03-15

A must read for anyone who values citizenship...

I couldn't stop listening to this brilliantly constructed and superbly researched work. It reminded me that we can and should expect.

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  • Iain Laing
  • 07-08-22

The most inspiring book.

Brilliantly researched, written and presented. On topics of vital importance. Should be required reading for all leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; will probably re-listen to fully grasp its messages.

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  • Adrian Mark Dore
  • 12-06-22

Enlightening read.

An enlightening and excellent book well read, which I highly recommend everybody read or listen to.

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  • Miss V.
  • 18-04-22

You should listen to/read this

I had recommended this to friends and colleagues alike before I’d even finished it. It uses examples that I’ve lived through but somehow managed to miss. But most of all, it challenges you to think. To be inspired. And to think differently. Or at least try to. It reinforces my experiences, albeit somewhat less dramatic in their consequences.

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  • CNY
  • 09-09-21

Exceptional- a must read for all leaders

A brilliant analysis of why organisations hide from facts and differing opinions and ultimately fail.

All leaders should read and reflect on this great book.

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  • Robert Nicholson
  • 18-03-20

Thought invoking and great fresh content

Wow. It was scary the number of "I've experienced this" moments through this book.

Overall, I found this book intriguing and inspirational. The vocabulary usage really added flavour and impact to the telling.

There was a small handful of recording issues, but these were minor and still worth the 5 stars.

If you feel something is wrong, please speak up people 🙂

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  • Rob
  • 25-01-18

an impressive application of modern philosophy

margaret heffernan presents a strong argument for the clear and present danger of communities (businesses, collectives, churches, governments small and big) managing blindly.
be the problem subservience or subversion the study takes on the corruption of organisations the length and breadth of the world challenging each to dismiss the warnings of whistleblowers (Cassandras) as cranks and naysayers.
she spans the last seven decades and every continent in the search for examples of problems that were obvious to all but spoken by few or none...like the GFC or the child sex abuses of the Catholic Church or the asbestosis of Libby Montana.
despite the length of the audiobook, this is comparable to a series of university lectures on modern ethics and deserves to be hailed as an intellectual feast... it is never boring thanks to the passion and elocution of the author and presenter.
thank you