In the 2006 case of the US Government vs Enron, the presiding judge instructed the jurors to take account of the concept of wilful blindness as they reached their verdict about whether the chief executives of the disgraced energy corporation were guilty. It was not enough for the defendants to say that they did not know what was going on; that they had not seen anything. If they failed to observe the corruption which was unfolding before their very eyes, not knowing was no defence. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril distinguished business woman and writer Margaret Heffernan examines what it is about human nature which makes us so prone to wilful blindness: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? Why do some people see more than others? And how can we change? Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, Heffernan explains why wilful blindness is so dangerous in the globalised, interconnected world in which we live.
Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas. As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena, and Newsnight, among other programmes. She also produced music videos. Leaving the BBC, she ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers. In 1994 she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She served as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation, and was named one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter, among other accolades. Her books include The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto About Business and What Really Matters and Women on Top: How Female Entrepreneurs are Changing the Rules for Business Success. Her latest book is Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril.
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