Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Born Liars Why We Can't Live without Deceit” as Want to Read:
Born Liars Why We Can't Live without Deceit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Born Liars Why We Can't Live without Deceit

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  265 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Our attitudes to lying are confused and contradictory - you might even say, self-deceiving. On the one hand we hate lies, and liars. On the other, we all indulge in fibs, tall tales and fantasies. If lying is wrong, why do we all do it - both to others, and to ourselves? In Born Liars, Ian Leslie argues that, far from being a bug in the human software, lying is central to ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Born Liars Why We Can't Live without Deceit, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Born Liars Why We Can't Live without Deceit

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezCollapse by Jared Diamond
71st out of 150 books — 127 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 732)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Книгата следва добре изпитания модел на популярната така да се каже "научна" литература- представя се една теза и се изреждат примери под формата на житейски случки и научни изследвания в нейна подкрепа. Този модел винаги ме настройва скептично, тъй като създава идеална предпоставка за манипулиране на читателското мнение в желаната от автора посока. Леката умствена гимнастика, която се симулира при четивата от този род, подлъгва читателя да си мисли, че подхранва интелекта си, докато в действите ...more
Thomas Edmund
Mar 02, 2013 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
In Born Liars Ian Leslie dissects deceit through the lens of law, psychology and culture. It's a fascinating ride, but I wouldn't recommend the central section which covers self-deception for anyone feeling squeamish about their own illusions. Leslie unpacks many of the cognitive biases we have towards viewing ourselves positively and reading this book may just remove those illusions.

The first few chapters are recommended to all however, especially anyone enamoured with the idea of lie-detecting
Feb 18, 2012 Scotchneat rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Lying is a biological imperative and probably a part of our survival.

Leslie looks at deceit - of others, of ourselves - through a variety of lenses, including science, psychology, anthropology, biology and sociology. What comes through is how much deceit plays into our ability to relate to each other, and to succeed.

For example, studies show that achievers regularly build themselves to be better than they are, to themselves. And also, that "normal" people are overly positive in what they believ
Bilge B
Apr 09, 2016 Bilge B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yalanın psikolojik ve fiziksel 'sebeplerine' güzel değinilmiş, yer yer sıkıcı ve karmaşıktı ama genele baktığımda yalan konusuna, beynin gelişimine ve yalanın etikliğine giriş açısından güzel bir kitaptı.

Eğer bu konular hakkında bilginiz varsa daha ayrıntılı kitapları tercih edin, zira başlangıç için uygun bir kitap.
Richard Ward
Mar 18, 2016 Richard Ward rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy quirky non-fiction.
From off the non-fiction shelf, a mix of popular social science, Darwinism, history, philosophy, and ethics. The best parts of the book for me came when the author looked at why a person lies to himself. And we all do, don't we‽ The author doesn't beat us up for it, but instead shows us how self-deception can be required for survival itself. Other things he looks it include: when is a lie a lie; when is it OK or even an act of virtue to lie to others; can experts truly tell when a person is lyin ...more
Sep 03, 2014 زينب rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, psychology
I loved this book. But I hate how it makes you suspect everything...
Tariq Mahmood
Jul 05, 2013 Tariq Mahmood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This book resolved a personal dilemma for me, someone raised in a traditional predominately Muslim culture where lying and deceit are very black and dark attributes of any human being's core nature which this particular book seems to agree with. It is truth which is an acquired trait which we all struggle to achieve during our existence on earth. As an eastern expat striving in the West, I have always struggled with the notion of whether to trust first or distrust upon initial contact, as I tend ...more
Mack Flavelle
Apr 06, 2016 Mack Flavelle rated it it was ok
"We lie because otherwise we'd never get along."

This book is a 200 page explanation of the above.

It's a fairly interesting explanation, and really fleshes out the details obviously, but I accept the above as self evident, so the whole thing felt a little redundant. Redundant but not boring.

I also read this book in a very disjointed way, possibly ruining the joy of the narrative.
Ain  Romeli
Oct 24, 2015 Ain Romeli rated it it was amazing
A lot of bubbles popped as I read the book. This is an excellent read in understanding the relationship between physiology/psychology as well as anthropology with the condition on how human conduct their brain in regards of lying on daily basis. This book also covers the delineation of macro-lying segments and attempt in answering the abstract question of the murderer at the door and many more! I personally love the discussion on the placebo effect. I am in awe of this book for not only it has a ...more
Apr 09, 2013 Milena rated it it was amazing
Изумителна книга! Показва до каква степен лъжата, измамата, самозаблудата са част от живота ни. Не просто част, а есенциални за оцеляването на човешкия вид, за по-добрите ни социални връзки и отношения, за материалното ни благополучие.
Изумително е как заблуждаваме себе си, как позволяваме да бъдем заблуждавани от рекламите, как децата се учат да лъжат, за да се харесат на възрастните, нищо, че почти всеки, който е родител, неуморно и лицемерно убеждава децата си, че няма нищо по-лошо от лъжата
May 28, 2014 Colin rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book. It takes a very broad look at the telling of lies, from a scientific and cultural perspective. Some parts are more interesting than others, and I would like sources for some of the claims, but definitely worth reading.
Jul 15, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a well written book that covered the history of the lie, how we evolved to do it better then most animals and had many interesting studies scattered within the chapters.
worth the read :)
Darko Doko

‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool,’ said the physicist Richard Feynman.
Ann Foweraker
Sep 01, 2015 Ann Foweraker rated it it was amazing
Science and culture, nature and nurture - how our language developed. A fascinating read that has you questioning even your own thoughts
Jan 26, 2015 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
eye-opening and interesting, especially about the brain hemispheres and the placebo effect. A worthwhile read. Trust me.
Kavita Ramesh
Aug 09, 2015 Kavita Ramesh rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. I learned a lot of things I have never come across before I read this book.
Darko Doko
May 19, 2016 Darko Doko rated it it was amazing
Brilliant!! ‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool,’ said the physicist Richard Feynman.
Chiara Toselli
Aug 10, 2014 Chiara Toselli rated it liked it
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’eyes
Kelly Mccallum
Apr 18, 2015 Kelly Mccallum rated it it was amazing
Fun and interesting read
Apr 26, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fascinating. Definitely changed my perspective on a few things.
Aug 08, 2011 Sophie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, 2011, kept
Fascinating book about lying - why it's regarded as morally wrong and when it's socially more acceptable to lie than to tell the truth. The scope of the book covers self-deception and the effects of it (both positive and negative) - for example: why placebos work and why those who are successful are often good at self-deception (to make them think they're above average). It covers scientific research, philosophy, observation, film, tv, literature and anything else that seems relevant. Truly inte ...more
Peter O'Brien
Mar 11, 2014 Peter O'Brien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: smart-thinking
"Our need to keep in touch with reality exists in tension with an equally strong need to make up stories that arn't true - and to believe in them. Without the former, we couldn't get on for long with our environment or with each other. Without the latter we wouldn't have the imaginative reach that has driven all of human progress."

Without a doubt, a very important book to read, the story it tells will turn you into a much more effective human being, no lie!
Jun 09, 2011 Gill rated it it was amazing
Born Liarswas thought-provoking, fascinating and entertaining. I didn’t think it would be as enjoyable as it was. I was hooked from the first chapter. Ian Leslie talks about how deceit is part of every encounter we have and how important it is. It’s packed full of interesting anecdotes and touches on philosophy, psychology, anthropology...I think it has something for everyone and well worth reading. And that’s the whole truth! ...more
Lor Du frent
May 13, 2013 Lor Du frent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: neuro-ethics
This is a broad book touching on everything from the possible role deceit played in the development of the brain to the use of self-deceit as a tool for making sense of the world. The history of lie detection also gets a mention, as well as the philosophy of the well-intentioned lie. Given how little of what we know can be definitively proven as "true", what we do with falsehoods is something worth knowing.
Jul 08, 2011 Nia rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked this book a great deal, it skimmed over some of the topics which could have benefitted from more depth and discussion but had particularly interesting insights into the placebo effect in medicine and the nature of self-deception.

This book has sparked my interest in the nature of lying and I will be reading more about the topic, so a definite win for this book in my opinion.
Ian Mcneish
Jun 03, 2013 Ian Mcneish rated it really liked it
A very well put together account of why lying is needed to function as a human being with Case studies to show why lying can actually be beneficial, think of a placebo in medicine, and also the power of believing in lies can have on the brain.

A different book from what I would normally read, but I am glad I had a look!

Very interesting book!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 08, 2014 Ruo-Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book is insightful and easy to understand. It presents its ideas, explanations and examples regarding psychology in the form of interesting stories that gripped me. Good book :)
Mar 20, 2016 Elif rated it really liked it
Eye-opening popular science book. Sometimes it could be boring but it looks at lies ftom a lot of different angles and describes very interesting psychology experiments.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Flipnosis: The Art of Split-Second Persuasion
  • Yasmin How You Know?
  • Immortal Words: History's Most Memorable Quotations and the Stories Behind Them
  • Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times
  • The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy's Only Hope
  • 50 Political Ideas You Really Need to Know
  • Thinking of Answers: Questions in the Philosophy of Everyday Life
  • Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance
  • Asian Godfathers
  • The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris
  • Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy
  • You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to World History
  • History's Worst Decisions
  • Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia
  • Inside Drucker's Brain
  • O: A Presidential Novel
  • Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began
London-based author who writes ideas-based non-fiction. He also writes and performs in the comedy show Before They Were Famous for BBC Radio 4. Ian appears as a commentator on current affairs and culture for the BBC, Sky, and NPR.
More about Ian Leslie...

Share This Book

“how does it feel,' wonders the neuroscientist Christof Koch, 'to bhe the mute hemisphere, permanently encased in one skull in the company of a dominant sibling that does all the talking?” 4 likes
“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” 1 likes
More quotes…