Summary of Willful Blindness

Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

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Willful Blindness book summary
Hindsight is 20/20, but daily insight is not, so take off your blinders and avoid future trauma by opening your eyes.


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Professor, blogger and documentary-film producer Margaret Heffernan borrows an analogy from neuroscientist Robert Burton to explain “willful blindness”: Like water moving in a riverbed, the flow of ideas, experiences and information over time carves out a belief system in your neural pathways. Working with and living among like-minded people increases the flow, until the banks of the riverbed grow so high that they become blinders, obscuring other options and points of view. Succinctly presenting her intriguing concept, Heffernan argues that this ultimately dangerous myopia may lead you to overlook threats to your own security or to the well-being of your community. getAbstract recommends that you bravely develop 360° eyesight by reading this revealing and informative exposé.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which human characteristics support “willful blindness,”
  • How willful blindness facilitates tragedies big and small, and
  • What you can do to see more clearly.


In Full View
Many of the most horrific crimes against humanity were committed out in the open in front of lots of ordinary citizens. What factor in human nature allows people to live in denial, ignoring problems within their own homes, communities, and religious and governmental institutions...
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About the Author

Documentary-film producer Margaret Heffernan, CEO of Information Corporation, blogs for the Huffington Post, CBSMoneywatch and Inc., and is a visiting professor at Simmons College.

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