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The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  15,128 ratings  ·  1,246 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality returns with thought-provoking work to challenge our preconceptions about dishonesty and urge us to take an honest look at ourselves.

Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat? How do companies pave the way for dishonesty? Does collaboration make us more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Harper
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Brendan The human mind can rationalize behavior so that it can accomplish goals while maintaining a veneer of "honesty"; which is a difficult trait to define,…moreThe human mind can rationalize behavior so that it can accomplish goals while maintaining a veneer of "honesty"; which is a difficult trait to define, particularly when applying to one's own behavior.(less)

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Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This might save you needing to read the book - https://www.thersa.org/discover/video...

And this is the cartoon version - https://www.thersa.org/discover/video...

A few years ago I read Predictably Irrational – a book that remains one of my favourite books on Behavioural Economics. The research reported in that book has just about everything going for it – it is amusing, fascinatingly interesting, clever and fundamentally undermines the core dogma of our age, that we are economically rational agen
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly awesome book.

Not only it is very easy to read and understand, but it has study designs that are so witty, I feel I am getting smarter just by reading it. The information presented here is so important that anyone in a leadership position must be aware of this. It is very well in accord with the data from the book 'Pathological Altruism` by B. Oakley and points out some of the misinterpretations presented in `The Invisible Gorilla`.

If you are interested in why people lie and che
Nov 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
METHODS, METHODS, METHODS. Just because someone says they did a study and here are the findings, it doesn't mean; a) those findings were robust or statically significant, or b) that you can generalize those findings to other phenomena. Not only were Ariely's studies extremely soft/subjective, but he actually took those extremely unreliable results and applied them to other social situations he had no business applying them too. I never know how to rate these books. The questions social scientist ...more
David Rubenstein
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
How can such a depressing book be so much fun to read? Dan Ariely is an excellent author; I've read two of his previous books, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Ariely combines a light-hearted writing style, a solid set of psychology studies (many of which he personally conducted), and a big dose of common sense. Many of Ariely's findings are not intuitive at first glance--but he is able to explain his findings and make them understandable to the reader.

Ariely shows why we cheat--but with a l
Daniel Clausen
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2018
It's strange to say, but I never expected a book on dishonesty to be so tame...even small.

The book is a look at dishonesty, especially cheating, and covers the author's own experiments and what they tell us about cheating. The most important points are these:
(1) We're not purely rational cheaters; we usually don't cheat to the fullest extent possible, we typically just fudge things in our favor. Thus, we're also sensitive to self-image.
(2) We cheat much less when we're given subtle reminders
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I was in college I learned a bit about the Simple Model of Rational Crime which basically states that people lie/cheat by rationally looking at the pros and cons and make a decision based on that. Needless to say, this never sat right with me. People don't make rational decisions, they just don't.

In this book Ariely puts forth another theory, one that he calls the Fudge Factor. The theory goes that there are basically two opposing forces when we decide whether to lie or cheat. One of the fo
Grouchy Editor
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
In all honesty, this book was a letdown. The human propensity for lying and cheating should be a juicy topic, but Ariely manages to squash reader interest by (mostly) confining his experiments to sterile classrooms, where one group of student volunteers after another pencil in answers to one dull test after another, usually involving dotted matrixes, one-dollar bills, and paper shredders. When Ariely and colleagues DO leave the artificial environment of the classroom –- sending a blind girl into ...more
Christine Cavalier
See this review on my blog: http://www.purplecar.net/2012/07/book...

I “cheat” on crosswords. I don’t cheat, exactly. I don’t look at the answer key; THAT would be Cheating, with a capital C. Instead, I cheat with a lower case c; I Google or Wiki the subject of the difficult clues online. This only works for clues with keywords like an author’s name or a movie title, but the answers I find give me enough forward motion to continue solving the puzzle. If I get stumped again, I scan the clues for m
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-2, the-brain
We all admit to telling ‘white lies’ or cheating/bending the truth and usually, several times a day. How often do we admit to (and even realize) that we also lie to ourselves to the point of believing our own dishonesty? Best-selling author, professor, and cognitive psychologist Dan Ariely explores the topic in, “The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone- Especially Ourselves”.

Ariely instantly dives into thought-provoking and interesting dialogue regarding the topic of dishonest
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining, eye-opening, disturbing

This funny, fascinating, personal paradigm shattering book is in a genre I love, books that make me examine my thinking process, but this one caused me more soul searching than any other I’ve read. According to the Simple Model of Rational Crime (SMORC) we decide whether or not to be dishonest based on a logical, mathematically calibrated cost-benefit analysis, and we’d all be as dishonest as we could be as long as it brought us a benefit greater than the lik
Malda Smadi
Dec 23, 2012 rated it liked it
The honest truth is, we are all dishonest.

I want to share a real life scenario that happened with me just yesterday right after I finished reading Dan Ariely's new book The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

The situation: An anonymous person at our office refills the office refrigerator with a dozen small water bottles, everyday. They’re stacked in the top compartment on their own, unlocked, unmarked, un-anything. They’re just there. Sinister, isn't it? Next to that fridge are two water coolers that
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book and very insightful. The research presented is compelling and surprising... and often concerning. To know about it is to be far better prepared to recognize why people do what they do. There are helpful suggestions to recognize when I am not being fully honest and to align my own actions better with the integrity that I perceive myself to have. VERY helpful and super insightful. Thanks yet again Dan, for an amazing book.
Oana Sipos
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
My rating is 5 because it is that kind of book which made me reflect upon my own behaviour. On the one hand, because of some mistakes and the stories I told to myself, and on the another hand because it was a confirmation for the times I felt really bad, as I was aware of my action.

First thoughts when trying to predict what is the book subject, were that it's most probably a book about cheating in relationships and cheating for becoming richer. Sorry to disappoint you, but it's not about cheati
I feel a little bad about the three stars. I enjoy Dan Ariely's entertaining and informative books about behavioral economics and the many ways in which we are far less rational than we want to believe. Exploring the topic of honesty from a variety of angles appeals to me as well, and true to form, Ariely highlighted many interesting aspects of honesty/dishonesty -- contagion of dishonesty, how a sense of altruism and collaboration can facilitate dishonesty, the relationship between creativity a ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Either 3.8/5 or 4.2/5 .
This one is intriguing. Ariely's writing is easy to follow. It's so fluent, spontaneous and most importantly, he explained everything in simple words with examples & experiments avoiding
complex theories & technical jargon. He discussed psychology behind dishonesty. And if you think about it you'll see that many fundamental cues behind dishonesty are accepted as normal behavior or treated as an open secret. For example, in lab experiments when the result seems to be incorre
Alex Givant
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent review on one of the most important part of people behavior - lying.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
The reasons why we lie and to what extent we’re willing to lie are pretty fascinating, and if you haven’t read anything else of the sort before, this might be pretty revelatory. Ariely explains the various studies and results pretty clearly, and it’s definitely not aimed at people who have actually dug into the academic publications: it’s accessible to a layperson, definitely, and to my mind pretty much aimed at the layperson. At any rate, I didn’t find any of it surprising, because I’ve read mo ...more
Michael Siliski
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting topic, though pretty familiar ground if you have any exposure to behavioral economics and/or cognitive psychology. Feels a bit rote, lifeless overall. A straight survey of the material. Takeaways:
* Standard classical model of dishonesty/cheating is SMORC – simple model of rational crime – which says we cheat when it's in our rational interest. EV is positive, or expected payoff is greater than the risk of getting caught and the associated punishment.
* SMORC is false. Ariely calls
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
To be published in June of 2012 (DWD's Reviews received an uncorrected proof advance copy) by Harper.

Dan Ariely's The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty is a fun look at a serious topic - lying. Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, describes his simple experiments and details his results in a light, easy to understand way. His results are often surprising and counter-intuitive.

For example, it is often considered that people are dishonest because they have calculated t
Mind blown. I was amazed at how many ways we are dishonest with ourselves and others. My conscious was pricked a bit, honestly. The part about children, for me, really drove home the Biblical concept of “train up a child in the way he should go.” We have such a duty to our children to model honest and responsible behavior. I loved the author’s sense of humor, his clear and understandable writing, and the interesting content! Absolutely wonderful book.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Loved the newest installation from Dan Ariely. I'm a huge fan so I'm already biased, but this book was a breezy read and very insightful. It was also disturbing and slightly distressing, as the main premise is that most harm to society comes from normal people each cheating just a little bit, then rationalizing it to fit in our personal "fudge factor". With connections to many great researchers, including Roy Baumeister of "Willpower" fame (among others), Ariely presents a delicate balance betwe ...more
Alain Burrese
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves" by Dan Ariely is a fascinating look at cheating and dishonesty. Backed by research, Ariely provides explanations for the unethical behavior that seems to be endemic from Washington to Wall Street, the classroom to the workplace, and everywhere else you turn.

It is interesting to see that irrational forces are often behind whether we behave ethically or not, and cheating and dishonesty are not merely derived from
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really great look into the current research into how/why people cheat/lie to other people and even to themselves. The book is well written, well paced and I personally think the topics discussed are fascinating.

I really like Dan Ariely's (Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke, formerly of MIT) books because:

His writing is easy to understand and has a playful entertaining tone. His anecdotes always add to the topic being discussed - unlike Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize winner
Jennifer Rivera
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book because of the author’s interesting findings, easy to read style, and outside applications.
The findings of cheating/ being dishonest might surprise many of us mainly because some of the things we do is unconscious and not robotic. (I won't provide any spoilers here, but if you are interested in any social behavior of human beings, then this is a book I highly recommend for you, especially if you want to know more about human immorality.)
Although many of the studies c
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book in one sitting. It is a fascinating look into the inherent dishonesty that lies in all of us. We all cheat. Just a little. White Lies, Pens from the office, travel expenses, etc. But what is interesting is what allows us to cheat; What factors are in place that let us choose to cheat and by how much we will cheat; And how we trick ourselves into rationalizing our cheating.
It's a bit disheartening, and perhaps a bit relieving, to know it just apparently in our nature and that to
Dũng Nguyễn
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read on Behavioural Economics/Psychology.

Dan Ariely explained how we cheat and how we find excuses for all our little lies. I was impressed by Dan's so-called "Fudge Factor", and other factors on his experiments that make us irrationally lie.

This book is absolutely fun and yet still informative.

Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
The main thesis of this book is that people are dishonest not (purely) based on a rational analysis of the costs and benefits, but based on a tension between wanting the benefits of dishonesty and wanting to see themselves as honest people. The book also discusses a bunch of ways our dishonesty plays out in practice. For example, we are less likely to cheat if reminded of our moral standards right beforehand, more likely to cheat when the results of our cheating are indirect, and more likely to ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dan Ariely (so far) never ceases to impress me in his quest to unlock the secret of human irrationality. In his third book, he puts dishonesty on the centre stage. I read it, I am hooked, I love it.

First, I admire his passion and ability to narrate researches using layman language in a way that makes readers feel as if they're involved in the journey. It makes me able to appreciate research more - you see something, no matter how trivial it is, that intrigues your interest, design the research c
Cesar Diez Sanchez
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A practical book talking about how our honesty works in different scenarios. Very interesting, to be honest.
Abdullah M. M. S.
Apr 05, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the the second book I read for Dan Ariely, and I can simply say I love his writing style so much! Despite that it is based on empirical scientific research, it is fun and easy to read. I loved his ‘fudge factor’ theory.
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From Wikipedia:

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He also holds an appointment at the MIT Media Lab where he is the head of the eRationality research group. He was formerly the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dan Ariely grew up in Israel after birth in New York. He served in the Israeli army and

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