The Truth About Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit

The Truth About Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit

by Aja Raden


$25.99 $28.99 Save 10% Current price is $25.99, Original price is $28.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Tuesday, December 7


Why do you believe what you believe?

You’ve been lied to. Probably a lot. We’re always stunned when we realize we’ve been deceived. We can’t believe we were fooled: What was I thinking? How could I have believed that?

We always wonder why we believed the lie. But have you ever wondered why you believe the truth? People tell you the truth all the time, and you believe them; and if, at some later point, you’re confronted with evidence that the story you believed was indeed true, you never wonder why you believed it in the first place. In this incisive and insightful taxonomy of lies and liars, New York Times bestselling author Aja Raden makes the surprising claim that maybe you should.

Buttressed by history, psychology, and science, The Truth About Lies is both an eye-opening primer on con-artistry—from pyramid schemes to shell games, forgery to hoaxes—and also a telescopic view of society through the mechanics of belief: why we lie, why we believe, and how, if at all, the acts differ. Through wild tales of cons and marks, Raden examines not only how lies actually work, but also why they work, from the evolutionary function of deception to what it reveals about our own.

In her previous book, Stoned, Raden asked, “What makes a thing valuable?” In The Truth About Lies, she asks “What makes a thing real?” With cutting wit and a deft touch, Raden untangles the relationship of truth to lie, belief to faith, and deception to propaganda.

The Truth About Lies will change everything you thought you knew about what you know, and whether you ever really know it.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250272027
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/11/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 156,668
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

AJA RADEN studied ancient history and physics at the University of Chicago and, during that time, worked as the Head of the Auction Division at the famed House of Kahn. For over seven years, she worked as the Senior Designer for Los Angeles-based fine jewelry company Tacori. Raden is an experienced jeweler, trained scientist, and well-read historian. Her expertise sits at the intersection of academic history, industry experience, and scientific perspective. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Currency of Living

Part I Lies We Tell Each Other

Perception, Persuasion, and the Evolution of Deceit

1 The Oldest Trick in the Book

Credulity, Duplicity, and How to Tell a Really Big Lie 11

2 Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Shell Games, Card Games, and Mind Games 41

3 Don't Buy It

Goldbricking and the Often-Misleading Mature of Facts 69

Part II Lies We Tell Ourselves

Faith, Fraud, and the Funny Thing About Belief

4 Holy Shit

Charlatans and Other Authority Figures 103

5 Bitter Pill

Snake Oil, Salesmen, and Subjective Reality 135

6 It's Lovely at the Top

Pyramid Schemes and Why You're Probably Part of One 165

Part III Lies We All Agree to Believe

Consensus, Control, and the Illusion of Truth

7 Fake News

Hoaxes, Hysteria, and the Madness of Crowds 197

8 How to Make a Buck

True Facts About Fake Things 223

9 Wait For It …

At Long Last: The Long Con 253

Afterword: Lies about the Truth 285

Acknowledgments 289

Notes 291

Bibliography 299

Index 301

Customer Reviews