14 July 2011

A Barnet Blogger's Book Club - Book #1 - Mistakes were made ( but not by me )

Mr Mustard was disappointed that at the now famous throughout the land "MetPro" Audit Meeting of 16 June that non-stick Nick Walkley didn't put his hand up to accept any of the blame for the debacle that had occurred ( for which Mr Mustard would have doled out praise in this blog ). That would be the mark of a true leader.

When he isn't at his keyboard Mr Mustard also likes to read books ( and Council Reports although they don't seem to have a happy ending ) and a couple of days ago Mr Mustard was on Amazon and they have a list of recommendations for customers. That set Mr Mustard thinking about what Council Officers and Councillors ought to be reading ( apart from Council reports ).

Mr Mustard also anticipates that this idea will become popular with Barnet's Bloggers and they will be blogging their own recommendations.

The book which for some uncanny reason www.amazon.co.uk suggested to Mr Mustard was "Mistakes were made ( but not by me )" by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson ( ISBN 978-1-905177-21-9 ) Cover price £8.99

It is very interesting. The introduction is headed "Knaves, Fools, Villains, and Hypocrites: How do they live with themselves?" It goes on to talk about self-justification being more powerful and dangerous than the explicit lie. 

Chapter 1 explores The Engine of Self-justification and heads the chapter "Cognitive Dissonance". That could pass for Barnet OneSpeak.

Chapter 2 is "Pride & Prejudice...and Other Blind Spots" - All of us are as unaware of our blind spots as fish are unaware of the water they swim in - is a great line. Mr Mustard is now taking a short period of reflection.

Chapter 3 is Memory, the Self-justifying Historian. Mr Mustard has experienced this with debtors. They repeat the same line so many times that they genuinely believe it to be true. "Better services for less money" anyone ?

Mr Mustard now skips to Chapter 8 as he doesn't want to give the whole story away. Chapter 8 is about "Letting go and Owning up" and has a lovely 2500 year old saying from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu :

A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.

If you swap "LB of Barnet" for "nation" and "Barnet's Bloggers" for "those" it will have present day resonance.

Mr Mustard recommends all of Barnet Council's management to read this book ( not on expenses thank you - it is for your personal improvement ) and happily welcomes suggestions as to what he should be reading.

Mr Walkley can have Mr Mustard's autographed copy is he sends Mr Mustard an email and if he admits, in one of his weekly messages, to having made a mistake.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. May I suggest this for additional summer reading: http://tinyurl.com/68q9nyw

  2. A good one for the smallest room in the house. Any of Barnet's politicians in there ?


    If you put [a] in front of and [/a] behind the http address then you should get a working link as the one above. But please swap the [] brackets for <> ones. I tried to do it in this example but then they did their job, made the text inbetween a link and hid themselves. Doh.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.