I think I coined a phrase a couple of years ago: affinity bubbles. (Image clipped from http://www.despair.com/idiocy.html. I love their stuff.) Affinity bubbles are the cocoons we build to protect us from challenges to our beliefs. They’re confirmation bias on steroids. And search engines and social networks help us build them. Sure, the sounds of our echo chambers can be as peaceful as a mother’s heartbeat to an infant. But what if you’re all wrong? Realizing You’ve Been Wrong All Along Is Better Than Being Wrong And Denying It Don Peppers is one of the smartest men alive because he actively challenges his own beliefs. He recently reviewed a book that discusses the importance of accepting that you might be wrong. The book is Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. While there’s much to love about the book, I want to stress one point: you might be wrong. In fact,
When you hear the Tylenol case study, do you want to puke? Sure, it’s a great story of how a responsible company handles a crisis. If you’ve never heard it, it goes like this: People in Chicago were dying after taking Tylenol capsules. Some hunk of human detritus had replaced the acetaminophen in the capsule with cyanide. Poison. So innocent people—young, old, didn’t matter—were dying. America panicked. I remember watching Nightline with Ted Koppel and hearing that we are pretty defenseless against a monster bent on murder. Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Tylenol’s manufacturer, immediately pulled all forms of Tylenol from the distribution chain. They didn’t wait for a government order. They didn’t wait to add up the costs. In this case, Johnson & Johnson valued human lives more than quarterly profit—even more than they valued one of the best-selling brands in the world. Why do I puke when I hear that story?
One of the top news stories last week was fight between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and a loosely assembled organization called the Tea Party movement. The fight started when Ben Jealous, the NAACP’s chairman, proposed a resolution condemning the Tea Party as a racist organization. He softened the language a bit before the final vote, but the softening was a distinction without difference. The official position of the NAACP is only racists participate in the Tea Party movement. In the course of battle, civilian casualties occur. Conservative new media mogul, Andrew Breitbart, discovered an NAACP video filmed earlier this year. It showed a woman named Shirley Sherrod, Rural Development Director for the USDA in Georgia, talking to an NAACP meeting. Her words on the video were awful. She talked about withholding information from a farmer that could have saved his farm from foreclosure. Her motivation was the color of his