Friday, September 21, 2012

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially to Ourselves is an interesting dissection and presentation of a number of studies conducted by Dan Ariely and his associates to determine when, how, and why people lie. By setting up a series of similar experiments by altering the conditions of the experiments Ariely discovered factors that influenced people's decisions to lie. He also delved into how people excuse lying to themselves. While I found his conclusions and his methodology compelling, I couldn't help but think that the results weren't as conclusive as they appeared. A number of other factors could've been at play in the thinking processes of the participants in the study. While I believe his premise that people figure out ways to lie and maintain their self-image of being honest, I thought that before I started reading The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Ariely confirmed much of what I already believed about lying, but I didn't have any "ah-ha" moments while reading the book. The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty is well-written, interesting, and engaging if at times a tad academic. Ariely's results have the odd effect of making me feel both better and worse about humanity with this presentation of his research into the human struggle to be honest in the face of temptation.

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