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The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality returns with a thought-provoking work that challenges our preconceptions about dishonesty and urges us to take an honest look at ourselves.

Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat?
How do companies pave the way for ...

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality returns with a thought-provoking work that challenges our preconceptions about dishonesty and urges us to take an honest look at ourselves.

Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat?
How do companies pave the way for dishonesty?
Does collaboration make us more or less honest?
Does religion improve our honesty?

Most of us think of ourselves as honest, but, in fact, we all cheat. From Washington to Wall Street, the classroom to the workplace, unethical behavior is everywhere. None of us is immune, whether it's a white lie to head off trouble or padding our expense reports. In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, award-winning, bestselling author Dan Ariely shows why some things are easier to lie about than others; how getting caught matters less than we think in whether we cheat; and how business practices pave the way for unethical behavior, both intentionally and unintentionally. Ariely explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of us, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards. But all is not lost. Ariely also identifies what keeps us honest, pointing the way for achieving higher ethics in our everyday lives.

With compelling personal and academic findings, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty will change the way we see ourselves, our actions, and others.

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Editorial Reviews

David Brooks
“I thought [Ariely’s] book was an outstanding encapsulation of the good hearted and easygoing moral climate of the age.”
A.J. Jacobs
“Anyone who lies should read this book. And those who claim not to tell lies are liars. So they sould read this book too. This is a fascinating, learned, and funny book that will make you a better person.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“I was shocked at how prevalent mild cheating was and how much more harmful it can be, cumulatively, compared to outright fraud. This is Dan Ariely’s most interesting and most useful book.”
Time Magazine.com
"The best-selling author’s creativity is evident throughout. . . . A lively tour through the impulses that cause many of us to cheat, the book offers especially keen insights into the ways in which we cut corners while still thinking of ourselves as moral people."
Mehmet Oz
“Dan Ariely ingeniously and delightfully teases out how people balance truthfulness with cheating to create a reality out of wishful-blindness reality. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of your own personal ethics—and those of everybody you know.”
Washington Post
“Ariely raises the bar for everyone. In the increasingly crowded field of popular cognitive science and behavioral economics, he writes with an unusual combination of verve and sagacity.”
Booklist
“Through a remarkable series of experiments, Ariely presents a convincing case. . . . Required reading for politicians and Wall Street executives.”
Time.com
“The best-selling author’s creativity is evident throughout. . . . A lively tour through the impulses that cause many of us to cheat, the book offers especially keen insights into the ways in which we cut corners while still thinking of ourselves as moral people.”
Washington Post
“Ariely raises the bar for everyone. In the increasingly crowded field of popular cognitive science and behavioral economics, he writes with an unusual combination of verve and sagacity.”
Time.com
“The best-selling author’s creativity is evident throughout. . . . A lively tour through the impulses that cause many of us to cheat, the book offers especially keen insights into the ways in which we cut corners while still thinking of ourselves as moral people.”
Booklist
“Through a remarkable series of experiments, Ariely presents a convincing case. . . . Required reading for politicians and Wall Street executives.”
Library Journal
It's not just Enron; we all cheat, from sneaking extra cookies to padding our résumés. Behavioral economist Ariely isn't here to scold us but to tell us why we cheat and how we can become more honest. With a 100,000-copy first printing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062183613
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Pages: 313
  • Sales rank: 97,521
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His work has been featured in many outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and others. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Sumi, and their two creative children, Amit and Neta.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Think you are honest? Check this out!

    I love books that make me think. This highly entertaining and easy to understand book challenged my thinking all the way through. I told everyone about it everywhere I went since the studies were so fascinating and the documentation was so clear.
    I learned much from the book especially about how my creativity has served me so well all my life!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    "Fudge... Factor"

    PROS

    Informative and eye opening. After reading this book you cant help but look at your everyday life a little differently. Dan Ariely takes his time in explaining why we "fudge" the facts just enough so that we can get what we want... but still believe that we are not doing anything wrong. He does this in many creative ways, including fun anecdotes and interesting studies. At the end he quickly sums it all up and offers suggestions to society for the overall improvement of our moral compass. Quick read, not hard to follow for the most part.

    CONS

    Many of the issues in this book are similar, and after 5 or six of them it can get a little repetitive. While some of the experiments hold very valid points, a great deal of the others feel as though they were thrown together on a whim. Many of the conclusions that Ariely draws from these haphazard experiments feel as though he somehow reached an EPIC LIFE CHANGING discovery... but the reader is not always sure how they got to such a SPECIFIC statement.

    BOTTOM LINE

    If you are looking for an eye opening weekend book that you can discuss for a few hours with friends, this is the book for you. Using studies and social experiments (both industrial-strength and diluted) Dan Ariely shows us how we all have a little bit of the "fudge factor."

    FAVORITE QUOTE

    "Facts are for people who lack the imagination to create their own truth." - Anonymous

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    A Brief Summary and Review

    There is certainly no shortage of lying, cheating and corruption in our society today. At their worst, these phenomena do substantial damage to our communities and the people in them. Picking on the corporate world for just a moment, consider a few high-profile examples from the last decade: the scandals at Enron, WorldCom, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, Haliburton, Kmart, Tyco, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and a host of banks in the financial crisis of 2008.

    If you are a particularly pessimistic person, you may think that people are fundamentally self-interested, and will engage in dishonest and corrupt behaviour so long as the potential benefits of this behaviour outweigh the possibility of being caught multiplied by the punishment involved (known as the Simple Model of Rational Crime or SMORC). On the other hand, if you are a particularly optimistic person, you may think that the lying and cheating that we see in our society is largely the result of a few bad apples in the bunch. Given that the way we attempt to curb cheating and corruption depends largely on which view we think is correct, we would do well if we could come up with a proper understanding of these tendencies, and under what circumstances they are either heightened or diminished. Over the past several years, the behavioural economist Dan Ariely, together with a few colleagues, has attempted to do just this--by way of bringing dishonesty into the science lab. Ariely reveals his findings in his new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves.

    In order to get at the truth, Ariely invited subjects into his lab and gave them tasks with monetary rewards, and where cheating was a very real and clear possibility. As you can tell from the title of the book, Ariely found that cheating was not in fact confined to a few bad apples, but was in fact very widespread. On the bright side, though, Ariely also found that the vast majority of his subjects did not cheat nearly as much as they could have, but instead confined themselves to just a little bit of cheating.

    Given his findings, Ariely concludes that most of us are torn between two conflicting impulses. On the one hand is the desire to get ahead by way of dishonesty, and on the other hand is the desire to nevertheless think of ourselves as genuinely honest and good people. Getting the best of the both worlds can be tricky, but we manage to do so by way of resorting to our trusty capacities of rationalization and self-deception. Of course, different people show different powers of rationalization and self-deception, and also different circumstances can alter the terms of the negotiation significantly for each of us, thus leading to more or less cheating.

    For instance, Ariely found that those who are especially creative are particularly good at rationalization and self-deception, and therefore tend to cheat more so than others. In addition, he also found that several factors influence the amount that people cheat in general. These factors included being reminded of one's morals; having one's resolve broken down by will-power depletion; having one's self-confidence artificially inflated; witnessing other people cheating; cheating to benefit others etc. A full and comprehensive summary of the main argument in the book, as well as many of the juicier details and anecdotes to be found therein, will be available at newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com, on or before Monday, Jul

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Too many case studies

    I definitely thought the ideas were interesting...too many case studies drew the book out too much for my liking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Chung lee

    Here

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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