Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a lie, 22 April 2013
This review is from: Deceit and Self-Deception: Fooling Yourself the Better to Fool Others (Hardcover)
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Trivers is a close friend of Richard Dawkins and they write glowing reviews on the back of each others books. However Trivers is a much warmer and more relaxed writer than Dawkins and has a fascinating story of evolution to tell that is worth hearing.

If you have ever told a lie, you might have realised that it helps to believe in some sense the lie yourself. Of course self-deception is a strange phenomenon - how can we both believe and not believe something? But however weird it is, it happens. The wife who refuses to check up on her husband because some part of her knows he is having an affair, but the other part of her doesn't want to know it, is one example.

Yet the really interesting thing Trivers has to say is about the self-deception of organisations. Organisations that lie to other people end up lying to themselves and sometimes with disastrous consequences.

After the moon landings NASA wanted to carry on getting the huge grants from the government. But in order to justify the money, they had to make up lies to explain what the money was needed for - this is as Trivers tell it, anyway.

The consequence was when the shuttle disaster happened, NASA was an agency that couldn't see the truth if it wanted to. Previous flights had had similar problems to the one that caused the explosion, but no one wanted to admit to the problem.

Trivers doesn't seem to really have a solution to this problem - expect perhaps that organisations should stop lying to us - but he provides a fascinating examination of something that ought to deeply trouble us all.
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4.1 out of 5 stars (39 customer reviews)
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J. Mann
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