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I don't know

In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't)

Leah Hager Cohen

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Sep 02, 2013 – In her latest endeavor, Cohen (Without Apology) dissects the nervousness that surrounds not knowing. She does so in an even, understanding tone that eschews the very "incomprehensibly pretentious muddles" she associates with worries of not appearing knowledgeable enough. Pulling from examples as diverse as a marriage gone sour and Pararescue Jumpers' moment of decision, Cohen hones in on the natural fear of making the wrong choice when perfect comprehension of the future is unattainable. She goes on to highlight the devastating impact false certainty can have when it comes to legal matters—particularly criminal convictions. While most of Cohen's conclusions are well-substantiated, she employs the somewhat dismissive word ‘privilege' to describe an atmosphere in which one is encouraged to ask questions. The pages on racism take on a political feel and, in opposition to other focuses, messily fit within the core message: the value of admitting (honestly) when one does not know. While later case studies are still lucid, well-written, and at times heartbreaking, the section on pretending not to know something is fragmented compared to its predecessor. Furthermore, the link between the two sections feels convenient but ultimately superficial, as the latter section vacillates from the true concealment of knowledge from oneself to simple white lies told to spare another party's feelings. Skillfully worded throughout, the book contains nuggets of wisdom but does not properly integrate them.
I don't know
View In iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Self-Improvement
  • Published: Sep 12, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Group US
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 128 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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