Mistakes Were Made was all about how we justify our mistakes or change our recollection of past experiences to paint the prettiest picture for our own mind. For example, let’s say you walk past a homeless individual on the street asking for money. You like to think of yourself as a generous person, but you don’t hand over any cash this time. These actions directly conflict with your own mental image of yourself resulting in something called cognitive dissonance. There are two ways out:
1. Change your view of yourself to accurately reflect the truth (Your generous but not overly so)
2. Provide some excuse as to why you didn’t give money (I only had a five on me. The homeless guy was probably a scam; most are ya know.)
Since the second option is far easier than reconciling our own view of ourselves, we’re likely to go with that view.
The book was full of examples along those lines. I thought it was a pretty interesting read and would recommend it if you’re into reading about mental fallacies and books like Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.