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3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  8,772 Ratings  ·  795 Reviews
As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption—even murder and genocide—generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie.

In Lying, bestselling author and neuroscienti
Kindle Edition, 26 pages
Published September 13th 2011 (first published September 2011)
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Autodidactprojectblog 23 pages in my print. He released another print with 10 or some more pages added where he adresses some new topics. A very short "book".
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Community Reviews

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Aug 02, 2012 Marta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book - or booklet, with its couple dozen pages - is an attempt of Sam Harris to describe and justify his personal philosophy of honesty and avoiding lies if at all possible. The author does not shy away from the classical "but what if an axe-murderer asks me about a child hiding in my house" dilemma, and from providing a scathing critique of white lies and lies that spare someone's feelings, and in this, I found the essay interesting. It is well-written, too, interesting, not a word too lon ...more
I liked this essay. I read its majority while at a cafe with my wife, and it stirred very interesting discussions. Even while reading it alone, I remember constantly stopping and thinking about the insightful ideas and examples that Harris demonstrated.

Harris shows how lies, even those (conveniently?) called "white" do more harm than good. He proposes living a life without a single lie, even at the cost of much discomfort. Of course, situations where telling the truth will undoubtedly cause har
Sep 19, 2011 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is less of a book than a long essay, one that is currently available in free downloadable PDF form from Harris' website.

Throughout the piece, Harris makes the argument that there are significant benefits to be gained both personally and societally by rejecting lying in both large and small forms.

Most of us think of ourselves as honest people, yet may still frequently engage in the "white lie," an act of dishonesty designed to spare both ourselves and another discomfort.

Harris offers some c
Sara M. Abudahab
Jul 10, 2016 Sara M. Abudahab rated it liked it
A short booklet about lying it'll probably take less than an hour to finish, highly recommended

"Honesty is a gift we can give to others"
This is a very neat little book about lying. It's not out to flesh out the subject in all its glory, but instead to give you enough information and insight that you can make an informed decision on the subject and feel you know what it's about (and that's in 58 pages, *slow clap*).

It can also work as a bit of an eye opener. We're quite used to lying in our every day life - so much so it becomes habit, we don't even think about it. The great thing about Sam Harris is that he doesn't just tell yo
Nov 22, 2013 -uht! rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When is it okay to lie? When is it not? Sam has opinions which he'll gladly tell you. But they seem a bit arbitrary to me.

On top of that, the writing is incredibly dry. I do think the subject could be interesting (especially if approached by an author with a less simplistic but more internally consistent view), but Sam's take didn't do it for me. There's no sense of humor, there's no exploration, there's just simple and dry utterance of what amounts to moralism.

But let's take an example he gives
Mar 05, 2017 Pooja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Lying is royal road to chaos.
Oct 09, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
On the whole, this little novella (long essay) was really fantastic. Sam Harris makes a really strong case for never lying. And I think the case he makes transcends his commitment to utilitarianism (which he doesn't even mention in this essay), and resonates strongly with this virtue ethicist. I have two problems with his prescription.

1) Harris would be committed to the argument that even lying to someone to keep a surprise party you are throwing for them a secret is wrong. Examples along those
Cora Judd
Sep 20, 2011 Cora Judd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harris' writing here is so clear and elegant that it might be easy for one to mistake his ideas as simple. However, while 'Lying' can be read in a sitting, it can be mulled over for a very long time.

The ideas that linger are of the power of honest speech. Of his lie-related proposals, however, the most compelling is the destructive nature of the white lie; the one we tell out of compassion or embarrassment. I'm equally moved by his portrayal of plain truth-telling as a "source of power and an e
Oct 26, 2014 Saman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is a short essay about lying and its implications. The book has many short comings in my opinion and it could have been written much better and I wish it was longer; I wish it could have been developed into a proper book. There are so many things left unexplained and premises unproven, yet the subject is interesting.
The writer basically argues that is is almost always bad to lie, except in very very rare cases that would probably never happen in the course of the lifetime of the average in
Feb 18, 2016 Karla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook
Sam Harris' podcast is one of the more enjoyable ones out there. He's got a great clarity of speaking, and his method is to take the listener through the issue at hand in a thoughtful and considered way. His writing shows the same method: everything is clear and precise and deliberate.

His background in neuroscience puts his approach towards the issue of belief and disbelief on a different level than other famed atheists such as Christopher Hitchens (snarky, acerbic and entertaining) and Richard
Apr 14, 2012 Gail rated it liked it
As someone who finds it incredibly difficult and unnatural to lie, and who, as a result, knows full well the pitfalls of being constantly honest, I was curious to read this book. It had very good reviews - but after reading it I wasn't really sure why. It's not a terrible book, but what it says is either blatantly obvious (to me, at any rate), or else not entirely true. While of course there are many kinds of untruth that cause all kinds of problem, the author goes as far as to argue that any ki ...more
Tabarek Raad
"But what could be wrong with truly “white” lies? First, they are still lies. And in telling them, we incur all the problems of being less than straightforward in our dealings with other people. Sincerity, authenticity, integrity, mutual understanding—these and other sources of moral wealth are destroyed the moment we deliberately misrepresent our beliefs, whether or not our lies are ever discovered."
Thomas  Jackson
Aug 23, 2015 Thomas Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Commit to honesty
lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship. By lying we deny others our view of the world. And our dishonesty not only influence the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make--in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is an assault on the autonomy o
Hatem El-Sheemy
قرأت مقال اعتذار باسم يوسف عن خطأ عدم ذكر مصادره .. ثم شاهدت حلقة ل"ألعاب العقل" تتحدث عن "لماذا نكذب؟" بمعالجة لطيفة كالعادة..
هذا ذكرني بالكتاب فقرأته..
أفكار جيدة، راقني عموما تنظيم الأفكار بخصوص موضوع كهذا في شكل كتاب، ربما شعرت كثيرا انه يحاول معالجة نقاط نمطية أغلبنا قد تأملها وتفكر بها كثيرا لكنها بالطبع نقاط شائكة، فتنظيم الأفكار بهذه الطريقة مفيد..
الأمثلة التي ذكرها قد أختلف معه في بعضها لكن أتفهم طريقة استخدامه لها.. الكتاب عموما لم يضف شيء جديد لي لكنني استفدت منه بتنظيم الأفكار -كما
While being no major work it is nonetheless a thoughtprovoking piece of writing. Sam Harris thesis is that lying is by definition unethical and he carefully dissects different situations to show how lying is no alternative to telling the truth.

The small booklet (which I read) also contains a dialogue with Harris old philosophy teacher at Stanford. I found this dialogue to be more informative than the essay by Harris because it provided more reasons to actually believe in Harris arguments. He is
Sean Liu
Sep 30, 2016 Sean Liu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic - should be required reading for everyone, especially because it's so short. This book will make you think twice about telling lies—even the most subtle, well-intentioned white lies. The key things I took away from this book are:

1. "To lie is to recoil from relationship."
2. Lies, even white lies, are indicators of a poor quality relationship.
3. To offer insincere praise is to treat someone like a child when everyone else will judge them as adults. We do them no favors by sparing their
Tanner Potter
Audiobook: Only about an hour long--good reminder that honesty is the bedrock to any good relationship. Good discussion, but certainly not exhaustive. Also, I was hoping for a more scientific treatise of the subject.
زهیر پرست
Feb 04, 2017 زهیر پرست rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
نباید دروغ بگویید. این تز اصلی کتاب سم هریس، «دروغگویی» (۲۰۱۳) است. به نظر می رسد برای رسیدن به زندگی خوب این اصل به قدر کافی سرراست باشد. از این رو، هریس در سرتاسر این کتاب به صورت ضمنی می گوید که حقیقت و صداقت باید در هر نوع تعامل انسانی حاکم باشد؛ وی این اصل را حتی در مورد افرادی که با نیکخواهانه ترین مقاصد از دروغ مصلحتی برای محافظت از افراد در برابر واقعیت های ناخوشایند و آسیب غیرضروری استفاده می کنند به کار می برد. هریس اذعان دارد که ممکن است شرایط مرگ و زندگی ای وجود داشته باشد که نیاز با ...more
Jeff Harris
Jan 18, 2017 Jeff Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
A short listen (~1 hour), Lying is an intriguing stance on how lies, no matter how trivial, can impact our lies negatively. Sam Harris has a voice that remains calm and rational making it easy to grasp the points he is making.
As part of my "self-improvment/self-help" reading kick, I read this very short book on lying by Sam Harris. It caught my attention because I've always prided myself on being an honest, open person, but a big part of his argument is that even lies of omission or white lies, told for the sake of kindness, are harmful and unethical. Thinking about it, I feel like I do that a lot trying to spare people's feelings, and Sam Harris argues that this kind of thing is hurtful, because by not being honest ...more
Brendan Monroe
Despite its pithy title and sparse number of pages, "Lying" packs a wallop! This is perhaps one of the most important books I've ever read and it's clear once reading it that the world would be a sorely better one if everyone followed the precepts written within.

This thin volume has received some criticism of the "oh well, it's just what grandma says and everyone already knows it" variety. Clearly these people didn't take away much from this book, but that likely has more to do with themselves t
Sep 03, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, philosophy
"To lie is to recoil from relationship.”

Re-read review: As a refresher, I listened to "Lying" on Audible today, and found this book to be as thought-provoking and lucidly argued as the first go-round. It couldn't have been more than an hour long, but Harris is so concise that he is able to cover a lot of ground in that time. I love this book. Harris is one of those rare authors who is so precise that you will find yourself thinking more clearly after reading his books. George Orwell and David Fo
Dec 31, 2015 Kimball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kimball by: Larry Hansen
A good little informative booklet. I wish it was longer. It reminds me of this neat article I read about stopping lying %100. If you're reading this review please read this article. Some of the comments are pretty funny/good too.

I didn't agree with the author's opinion about surprise parties. I think those are fun and generally harmless.

Something I wish the author would have addressed is that the person asking a question needs to own up the responsibility/gravity of the question/request they ar
Rodrigo Acuna
Sep 22, 2016 Rodrigo Acuna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“A wasteland of embarrassment and social upheaval can be neatly avoided by following a single precept in life: Do not lie.”
― Sam Harris, Lying

A very small book that is a dissertation on lying, and the price we pay for omitting the truth or distorting it, the author argues very eloquently that almost never is a lie a good thing, and builds a case for living in full honesty, even when it appears uncomfortable.

“By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influenc
Sep 07, 2012 Hinch rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lying is a simple and calmly written essay that seeks to establish an argument against deception. The argument isn't rooted in philosophy, or morality, but rather the pragmatic notion that lying, almost without exception, undercuts our integrity, degrades the quality of our relationships, and impedes on the opportunities and well being of all involved.

I was especially taken by the idea that a "white lie", the kind we imagine will protect another person from hurt or embarrassment, is instead an a
Dec 16, 2011 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life, kindle
This is a philosophical Kindle Short about lying. The argument is that, unless you're dealing with someone you never want to have any kind of relationship with (ex. psychopath, enemy in war)--and maybe not even then--lying does more harm than good. Even white lies meant to spare the other person's feelings or be polite cause damage to a relationship. He gives the example of "Does this dress make me look fat?"--Instead of rushing to say "no!", consider the truth, which might be any of these:
- Tha
Juan Manuel
Mar 18, 2012 Juan Manuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libros de superación personal: ¡Sam Harris llamó y dijo que para hablar sobre cosas relevantes acerca de nuestra naturaleza humana no necesita siquiera gastar cien páginas (o decir pamplinas)!

Mentimos para quedar bien, mentimos para hacer sentir bien, mentimos cuando no aclaramos las falsas percepciones, mentimos cuando obviamos ciertas situaciones. Creemos que no hacemos daño y nos acostumbramos a seguirlo haciendo casi como si fuera respirar.

Harris despliega en este ensayo conciso un argumento
Mark Mallett
Apr 23, 2013 Mark Mallett rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, nook
The best thing I can say about this little monograph is that it was free. That might also be a bad thing, since it is what got me to read it. It starts out with some superficial comments about lying being bad in some particular ways. Most of the comments are things you'd think about the first time you thought about the subject, and I had to go back and look to see if this was perhaps targetted to pre-teens, but alas it wasn't. There's nothing deep in the opinionizing, nor broad, and most of it i ...more
Enrico Bertini
Jul 04, 2016 Enrico Bertini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok. After reading this book this is what happens: you can't stop noticing all the times you tell little little white lies for your convenience. I was astounded how often I would fall into this trap and how unaware of it I was!

Now, after reading this book I would immediately notice and either stop or try to recover from it.

The key message of the book is that we, as a society, tend to believe white lies are ok, but they indeed have a very negative effect on our interactions and our personal integr
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Sam Harris (born 1967) is an American non-fiction writer, philosopher and neuroscientist. He is the author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason (2004), which won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award, and Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), a rejoinder to the criticism his first book attracted. His new book, The Moral Landscape, explores how science might determine human val ...more
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“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship.” 67 likes
“Of course, the liar often imagines that he does no harm as long as his lies go undetected.” 54 likes
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