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Lying by [Harris, Sam]
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Lying Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Length: 108 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review


"This essay is quite brilliant. (I was hoping it would be, so I wouldn't have to lie.) I honestly loved it from beginning to end. "Lying" is the most thought-provoking read of the year."
-- Ricky Gervais

"Humans have evolved to lie well, and no doubt you've seen the social lubrication at work. In many cases, we might not think of it as a true "lie": perhaps a "white lie" once in a blue moon, the omission of a sensitive detail here and there, false encouragement of others when we see no benefit in dashing someone's hopes, and the list goes on. In "Lying, " Sam Harris demonstrates how to benefit from being brutally--but pragmatically--honest. It's a compelling little book with a big impact."
-- Tim Ferriss, author of the "New York Times" bestsellers, "The 4-Hour Body", "The 4-Hour Workweek", and "The 4-Hour Chef"

"In this brief but illuminating work, Sam Harris applies his characteristically calm and sensible logic to a subject that affects us all--the human capacity to lie. And by the book's end, Harris compels you to lead a better life because the benefits of telling the truth far outweigh the cost of lies--to yourself, to others, and to society."
-- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History



"This essay is quite brilliant. (I was hoping it would be, so I wouldn't have to lie.) I honestly loved it from beginning to end. Lying is the most thought-provoking read of the year."
-- Ricky Gervais
"Humans have evolved to lie well, and no doubt you've seen the social lubrication at work. In many cases, we might not think of it as a true "lie": perhaps a "white lie" once in a blue moon, the omission of a sensitive detail here and there, false encouragement of others when we see no benefit in dashing someone's hopes, and the list goes on. In Lying, Sam Harris demonstrates how to benefit from being brutally--but pragmatically--honest. It's a compelling little book with a big impact."
-- Tim Ferriss, author of the New York Times bestsellers, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Workweek, and The 4-Hour Chef
"In this brief but illuminating work, Sam Harris applies his characteristically calm and sensible logic to a subject that affects us all--the human capacity to lie. And by the book's end, Harris compels you to lead a better life because the benefits of telling the truth far outweigh the cost of lies--to yourself, to others, and to society."
-- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, and Free Will. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. He and his work have been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and many other journals. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Newsweek, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere. Mr. Harris is a cofounder and the CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 184 KB
  • Print Length: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Four Elephants Press (23 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G1SRB6Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,598 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This essay is well written and erudite, but it doesn't tell the reader much more than they should already have surmised. We lie a lot, mostly about nothing too important with the odd whopper thrown in. Generally speaking, lying is bad. Where the essay illuminates is how the white lies can also have serious consequences - it's quite hard to summarise just how enlightening Harris' (very little) book can be.

The second half of the essay really just expands on the first, and loses impetus.

Only half the slim volume is the essay, the rest being an interview with the man who inspired Harris to lead a lie-free life. This man seems oblivious to the reality that he's actually lying to himself a lot. Apparently evading and being economical with the truth is still way preferable to telling a white lie, and has convinced himself that these are a form of deception too. This kind of undermines the whole argument and disappointed me significantly. Having said that, there's still something to take away here - just don't pay full price for what amounts to to 25 or 20 useful pages.

Recommended if you really want to think about things instead of being clubbed over the head, Hitchens-style. I do feel my perspective has genuinely been altered by this essay.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings' and 'The Gun of Our Maker'
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Format: Kindle Edition
Being a bit of a fan of Sam Harris, I had to buy this, and I'm even more so glad of it than the End of Faith. It is a short, and easy to read, essay, which reveals the positive (albeit hard) side of not lying. Revealing, in a few examples how it can make us all better, and sure, it would damage some relationships, but allows us to consider whether they are relationships worth sustaining?
In that way, it is about not only not lying to the people around us, but, in turn, about being truthful to and about ourselves.

A fascinating read, that people of any or no faith can read and (hopefully) take something from.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book a few years ago and it had profound effect on me. Sam creates a strong augment for the detrimental effects of even small so called white lies and I believe he is completely right, we all know people who try to lie in order to impress us, often either to no avail or eventually to there downfall.

I think people often lie because they either struggle to be vulnerable or feel a lot of shame, yet the irony is lying only creates more shame and feelings of inadequacy, but I digress. My point is simple, Sam hits the nail on the head, lying sucks, if you are not sure, read his book to understand why.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Generally speaking I am a big fan of Sam Harris and admire and like his work.

This particular piece, however I found it a little disappointing that, having teased us with difficult examples at the beginning of the piece, he fails to answer them in the ensuing text.

The SS officer at door of the protectors of Anne Frank is an excellent example. What would have been a correct answer to the inquiry? The suggested "I wouldn't tell you if I knew" would surely have won tthe respondant a bullet in the brain and a search of his premises over his corpse.

As to it never being OK for a state to lie to its people I would have taken an analysis of Churchill's decision to "lie" to the people about the foreknowledge that the Germans were just about to bomb Coventry in order to keep the secret that the enigma code had been broken rather more convincing than the rather simplistic assertion that it is just never OK.

The failure of the piece to address the really Difficult issue consigns it to the 'interesting yet ultimately unconvincing' category rather than the 'compelling category IMHO
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Dr Harris makes a poignant case for honesty that had an immediate effect on my own life, which I deployed immediately after reading this book with an impact on me and at least one other life. The situation is recounted below if you're interested. Before getting there, its worth noting that the recurring theme of Dr Harris' work - his use of confrontation to raise ethical questions in the mind of the reader - is neatly summarized in this work. Basically, societies can't function well on lies, and we are surrounded by dangerous forms of lying. These include aggressive District Attorneys prosecuting innocent people in order to advance their careers and journalists lying about their intentions for interviews, for example. The scenarios resulting from these lies, such as innocent people being sent to prison and, to extend the example, encountering situations such as joining a prison gang for survival, thereby leading to more lying, set back the social consciousness of the nation. Are we undermining ourselves by lying to kids about Christmas, loved ones about risky surgery, spouses about infidelity (even Harris is nuanced on this particular point) or the hypothetical murderer at the door searching for the victim hidden in your basement? In my case,a colleague who had been eager for a promotion, a promotion for which I knew she had not been short listed, had spent weeks making nice, appearing unannounced at meetings, asking intelligent-sounding questions and so forth in the hope and, perhaps, the expectation, that she would be next in line for this promotion which, as you may have guessed, is somewhat under my authority to bestow. It's not an authority I cherish, and my feeling in my heart of hearts was that this person just wasn't ready for the job.Read more ›
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