To Err is Human

There are many kinds of mistakes. One kind-a rational, well-intended act or decision resulting in unanticipated, negative consequences-was the focus of Allan Farnsworth’s previous foray into the realm of legal angst. Another kind-an act or decision prompted by an inaccurate, incomplete, or uninformed mental state and resulting in unanticipated, negative consequences- is the subject of the present book. Like its predecessor, Alleviating Mistakes does not confine itself to contract law, Farnsworth’s home turf; it explores criminal, tort, restitution, and other areas of substantive law as well. As such, it paints on too large a canvas to capture its entirety in these relatively few pages. I will try to trace the outlines of the discussion, rearrange and synthesize elements to make the tableau easier to comprehend, and enhance certain aspects with supplemental material-all the while understanding that, just as a description of a painting is no substitute for seeing the original, this review is no substitute for reading Farnsworth’s book.