Why We Make Mistakes turns a ton of academic research about how our brains can work against us into a string of cocktail-party nuggets about dum-dums. Make no mistake, this is breezy stuff: You’ll learn why French music in a wine store drives us to buy more French wine; how ovulating strippers wring more money out of you during lap dances; and how, if you aren’t careful, you could punch a paraplegic in a bar as Burt Reynolds once did. Unfortunately, Hallinan waits until the very end to provide a dollop of insight about prevention, and it boils down to “be happy” and “sweat the small stuff.” Mistake. — David Lidsky
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