Sunday, August 25, 2013

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

Here's my latest non-fiction read, and as usual, Dan Ariely has written an highly entertaining and insightful book on an important topic of behavioral economics. 

An interesting side note is, my first print hard cover edition has a promotional blurb written by author Jonah Lehrer, who was soon disgraced as a literary fudger himself in a publishing scandal, after he was taken to school by his journalistic peers when it was revealed that for some strange (dishonest) reason Lehrer totally fabricated the Bob Dylan quotes jn his book on creativity, Imagine

Further investigation then revealed Lehrer fudged many of his non-fiction scientific quotes in nearly all of his previous works -- oh, the humanity. 

I'll have to research to see what, if anything, Dan Ariely has to say about the dishonesty of all that. I note that the Lehrer quote was deleted for the Amazon copy on the later paperback edition below...

Here's the painfully ironic Jonah Lehrer book blurb quote:

"In this endlessly fascinating book, Dan Ariely proves that dishonesty is everywhere: we are all bad apples. It's an uncomfortable message, but the implications are huge -- and nobody understands this better than Ariely. If you care about the truth, read this book." -- Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Imagine

Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine.

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

Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and the New York Times bestselling author ofThe Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational, examines the contradictory forces that drive us to cheat and keep us honest, in this groundbreaking look at the way we behave: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty.
From ticket-fixing in our police departments to test-score scandals in our schools, from our elected leaders’ extra-marital affairs to the Ponzi schemes undermining our economy, cheating and dishonesty are ubiquitous parts of our national news cycle—and inescapable parts of the human condition.
Drawing on original experiments and research, in the vein of FreakonomicsThe Tipping Point, and Survival of the Sickest, Ariely reveals—honestly—what motivates these irrational, but entirely human, behaviors.

Editorial Reviews

“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.” (Washington Post)

“I thought [Ariely’s] book was an outstanding encapsulation of the good hearted and easygoing moral climate of the age.” (David Brooks, the New York Times)

“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.” (

“Captivating and astute. . . . In his characteristic spry, cheerful style, Ariely delves deep into the conundrum of human (dis)honesty in the hopes of discovering ways to help us control our behavior and improve our outcomes.” (Publishers Weekly)

“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.” (Mehmet Oz, MD; Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University and host ofThe Dr. Oz Show)

“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.” (A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy)

“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.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan)

“Through a remarkable series of experiments, Ariely presents a convincing case. . . . Required reading for politicians and Wall Street executives.” (Booklist)

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.

Behaviorial Economics researcher and best-selling author Dan Ariely.

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