Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want

Arguably our brain's greatest sense is the ability to understand the minds of others - our real sixth sense. In Mindwise, renowned psychologist Nicholas Epley takes us on a tour of our incredible capacity for mind reading. This is the kind of mind reading we do every day of our lives, dozens of times a day, when we infer what others are thinking, feeling, wanting, or intending. The kind that enables you to build and maintain the intimate relationships that make life worth living, to maintain a desired reputation in the eyes of others, to work effectively in a team, and to outwit and outlast your competition. The kind that forms the foundation of all social interaction. Yet, as great as this sense may be, Epley reveals that it is still prone to critical errors. We often misread social or work situations, misjudge others' characters, or guess the wrong motives for their actions. Sometimes, these slip-ups are deadly serious, leading to violence and conflict. Crucially, Epley shows how these errors are not random, but systematic and avoidable. Relying solely on our sixth sense can be a mistake. Drawing on the latest in psychological research, he suggests that only by learning more about our brain's greatest sense will we have the humility to overcome our mistakes, fine-tune our instincts and understand others as they actually are instead of as we imagine them to be. Nicholas Epley is the John T. Keller Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has written for The New York Times, and has published over 50 articles in two dozen journals in his field. He was named a Professor to Watch by the Financial Times, is the winner of the 2008 Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association. He lives in Chicago.