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The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007477317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007477319
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Ariely is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT. His work has been featured in leading scholarly journals as well as a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, and Science. He has also been featured on CNN and National Public Radio. Dan publishes widely in the leading scholarly journals in economics, psychology, and business. His work has been featured in a variety of media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, Science and CNN. He splits his time between Princeton, NJ, and Cambridge, MA.

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Review

‘Anyone who lies should read this book. And those who claim not to tell lies are liars. So they should 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

‘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 of The Dr. Oz Show

‘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

‘A captivating and astute study […] 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 behaviour and improve our outcomes.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Lucid and succinct as always […] Required reading for politicians and Wall Street executives’
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About the Author

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University and the New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational. Over the years, he has won numerous scientific awards and his work has been featured in leading scholarly journals in psychology, economics, neuroscience, medicine and business and in a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, Scientific American and Science. He has appeared on CNN and CNBC and is a regular commentator on National Public Radio. He currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and two children.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Duncurin VINE VOICE on 25 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Great read, though I wonder if the book is more about temptation and whether dishonesty is one facet along a vast panoply of human experiences and emotion. Whether it's taking the big piece of cake or lying to millions in the House of Commons! Surely at one level or another we are all tempted, at times, and this book discusses the weakening and strengthening factors concerned with this process, along with many interesting examples.

Psychiatrists talk of 'protective factors', maybe thoughts about a loved one, which causes a patient intent on harming himself to stop. Temptation also has protective factors that we can call upon in that cusp of indecision. As a poor student, I lost my wallet running between trains at Birmingham. It was handed in complete and I have never forgotten my gratitude. A year ago when parking, my front tyre went over what turned out to be someone's wallet. I'm sure the devil would have reserved for me a nice warm seat if I had kept that wallet, but it would also have destroyed any positive emotion that I received from those experiences as a student, and rightly so too. Last month, here in Manchester, a man was coming from the bank with £1000 in his hand; he somehow tripped and the money promptly blew away. Sitting in his car a few minutes later- people started banging on the window in order to return the cash: 49, £20 notes were returned and my view is that those 49 people who acted in this way were enriched by that act; more so, than spending £20 that wasn't theirs, could ever have done.

I wonder therefore if it's important that we humans struggle with these dilemmas, if only because it enriches and 'validates' our lives.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. P. J. A. Wicks VINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dan Ariely, author of the marvellous Predictably Irrational and thoughtful commentator on human foibles, presents his latest book as a comprehensive review of the factors affecting honesty (and cheating). As always, his writing is accessible, entertaining, and often humorous. Where this book differs a little from others I have read of his or that are in this field, is that there is a significant focus on a particular set of experiments that Ariely and his team have conducted in his lab. The task involves having participants complete a very difficult task but to allow them to take extra credit for completing more problems within the task then they actually did, with each new experiment given a slight tweak, such as the presence of a collaborator, an observer, or other influences such as being given fake designer sunglasses to wear. As a scientific method within social science, this is a very reasonable approach and this content would make an excellent and very entertaining review in a scientific journal.

However, for a popular science book I felt that continually coming back to minor variations on what is (as Ariely admits) a very controlled situation, limits the applicability of the findings somewhat. Perhaps this is a sparse field, but there seemed less reference in this book to the experiments of other researchers then I remember in books like Predictably Irrational. Another area where Ariely is most engaging is in his own life experiences and anecdotes, which peppered his earlier work but which seem more muted here.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Gifford VINE VOICE on 13 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I find Dan Ariely's books to be enjoyable, enlightening and mildly annoying, in equal measures. The mildly annoying bit is surely unfair (and unreasonable) of me. I do tend to find Ariely's determinedly jaunty tone a bit wearying: he writes as if his readers were a pleasant but especially dim-witted intake of undergraduates. This is probably the secret of his publishing success: as the great H. L. Mencken said, 'No one has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people' (you and me, in this context). I am also a bit resistant to the notion that things about the human condition with which we are entirely familiar cannot be taken to be really true until they have been 'proved' to be true by psychologists. Most of the simple but ingenious experiments of Mr Ariely and his fellows tend to confirm several facts about human nature of which we were, in general, already aware. I don't have a problem with that and I enjoyed reading the book. I doubt, however, if you will find that you have learned anything about human nature that you had not already learned from your own experience, and nothing that Ariely and his team 'discover' about our behaviour has not been rather more convincingly portrayed by our great playwrights and novelists.

Ariely, to be fair, sets out to write popular science, and he succeeds admirably, although - as ever with the genre - some of the science gets lost in amongst the popularisation. All of his experiments are thought-provoking, though some of his conclusions are more compelling than others. Some leave one wondering, 'Can we really draw that conclusion so emphatically from that data?
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