Leah Hager Cohen is the author of five novels, including The Grief of Others, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize, selected as a New York Times Notable Book, and named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, and The Globe and Mail, and the forthcoming No Book but the World. She is also the author of four previous nonfiction titles, including Train Go Sorry. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review.
I don't know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't)by Leah Hager Cohen
In a tight, enlightening narrative, Leah Hager Cohen explores why, so often, we attempt to hide our ignorance, and why, in so many different areas, we would be better off coming clean. Weaving entertaining, anecdotal reporting with eye-opening research,/b>
A short, concise book in favor of honoring doubt and admitting when the answer is: I don’t know.
In a tight, enlightening narrative, Leah Hager Cohen explores why, so often, we attempt to hide our ignorance, and why, in so many different areas, we would be better off coming clean. Weaving entertaining, anecdotal reporting with eye-opening research, she considers both the ramifications of and alternatives to this ubiquitous habit in arenas as varied as education, finance, medicine, politics, warfare, trial courts, and climate change. But it’s more than just encouraging readers to confess their ignorance—Cohen proposes that we have much to gain by embracing uncertainty. Three little words can in fact liberate and empower, and increase the possibilities for true communication. So much becomes possible when we honor doubt.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 341 KB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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The concept sounds so basic … what's wrong with admitting that you don't know something?? Author Cohen points out that it isn't that easy. Peer pressure, the fear of feeling stupid (we all know about “The Emporer's New Clothes”), and the fear – note how this word keeps coming up – of appearing to lose some authority all prevent us from admitting to being in the dark about something. Ms. Cohen points out that it can be a sign of strength to admit to not knowing something, and can prevent sometimes dangerous assumptions. It can prevent someone like a doctor from making a potentially disastrous assumption. BUT … it's not always appropriate. Ms. Cohen cites having a pilot get on the loudspeaker and admit to an issue he can't handle as inciting more panic and less communication. Sometimes, it is impolite to admit to ignorance, and would hurt the feelings of someone. In these cases, maybe you CAN pull off the little white lie. Nice premise, nicely presented. RATING: 4 ½ stars, rounded up to 5 stars. DISCLOSURE: I was awarded an advance reader copy of this book in a random drawing, in the hopes I would read it and provide a review (but no requirements were placed on this hope).
The nook sample is only 9 pages, mostly title art. I think they got two sentences in the first paragraph. I guess i'll buy it so I can finish that sentence.
"I Don't Know" by Leah Hager Cohen is a nice book; short at just over a hundred pages or two vente lattes at Barnes & Noble. Ms Cohen's premise is that we should be more willing to admit ignorance and doubt. She makes a good case, reminding me of several people who could use a little doubt in their thinking. Uttering the simple phrase "I don't know" opens up the possibility of learning something new, an opportunity to hear ideas from another person, or even a chance to get to know yourself better. While reading the book, I realized that there were thousands of books around me, millions in the world, and I've read only a tiny fraction of one percent of them. There is so much to learn, and so little time. Maybe some of that time should be used to listen, read, and learn. Perhaps that applies to all of us. Good book.