Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially OurselvesThe Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading Dan Ariely's writing makes me wish I took more science cources in college.. in particular courses that involved experimentation on people. In this particular book, at one point he discusses how when presenting his thoughts and findings to corporations he is often met with a common response - "oh, I knew that". That's the magic of his writing, he explains his experiments because, much like his findings presented in "Predictably Irrational", the outcome of his experiments weren't always what you first thought the outcome would be. (By the way, he often laughs at the typical corporate response, because as he explains in his writing.. he is often quite surprised at the outcomes of his studies.. and he does it for a living).

The concept of this book is pretty basic.. how often do we cheat. The first chapter discusses the common experiment performed throughout all experiments (an exam that subjects can complete for both a control group, and a group where cheating is blatantly possible). From therein, each chapter discusses when cheating was motivated, how often, how it was curbed, how much, etc. For example, it's presented early on that many of us cheat (98% was the rough estimate).. but we only cheat "enough" to make us still respect ourselves. Another chapter focuses on using "moral codes" and how well they do\don't work. Another chapter discusses fake designer clothing and it's impact on our choices.

It's studies (and their findings) like these that make the book so interesting. The book doesn't drudge you down with science, it helps explain people and (freakishly) presents how easy it is to sway opinions and moral standards.

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