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Human Incompetence

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Human Incompetence

Human Incompetence: Confessions of a Psychologist
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"...how like the needle information is. It always has a point and needs an eye."

Thomas Gilbert, Ph.D.

Thomas Gilbert (1927-1995) was a psychologist who is often referred to as the founder of the field of performance technology, also known as Human Performance Technology (HPT). He never completed this autobiography. Clearly, he was still on a journey of discovery with numerous unfinished manuscripts in draft awaiting final revision and publication. Tom's own words introduce his story best.

"...I had studied all there was to be known about human learning and that field was a complete mess. I felt I was going to have to do with it what Descartes had done with philosophy, start all over from scratch...Just before going my own way to reconstruct all of psychology...I sat down with [B.F.] Skinner's first book, The Behavior of Organisms. This was about 1955, and I was a young assistant professor at the University of Georgia. I've never been the same since."

While going through a number of storage boxes several years ago, Marilyn Gilbert, Tom's wife of twenty-seven years, found his unfinished autobiography. This book is that work, untouched, which provides intriguing insight into a man who has been referred to as one of the top three most brilliant American psychologists of the twentieth century.

Performance Management Publications was selected to publish this work and added a special section with remembrances of Dr. Gilbert by a few of the people who were influenced by and/or were friends of Tom Gilbert.

"No other single person has had more influence on my work than Tom Gilbert."

–Joe Harless, Recipient of Member for Life award from the ISPI,
author of Accomplishment-Based Curriculum Development System


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