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Truth: How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  59 reviews
For fans of Nudge, Sway, and The Art of Thinking Clearly, a fascinating dive into the many ways in which "competing truths" shape our opinions, behaviors, and beliefs.

We like to think that there is a clear distinction between true and false. The reality is far murkier.

Hector Macdonald has spent much of his career exploring the ways that two completely true statements about
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Little, Brown Spark
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
🐬 Complexity, History, Context, Numbers and Story are the (anti)heroes in here.

The Human Rights addressed very shallowly in here: the history of this 'Social Construct' has barely been scratched in here.

In 1986, the Guardian newspaper ran a TV and cinema advert that has stuck in my mind like few others. In newsreel black and white, it showed a skinhead running away from an approaching car. The soundtrack was completely silent except for an authoritative voiceover: ‘An event seen from one point
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The author makes the case that for almost any issue, there is not just the one "TRUTH" but in fact, many competing truths. More so in the current digital age where we are often faced with a deluge of "information" from various sources (most of which are dubious), it is imperative that we be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to make informed decisions. Macdonald provides many good examples of how various issues can be argued from numerous angles and depending on the perspective y ...more
E. H. Nathasia
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am very excited about reading this book since we are in an epidemic of fake news and alternative facts, especially after the unexpected win by the PH government and also, other international issues that garners our interests such as Trump, Israel-Palestine conflict, China diplomacy and so much more.

I always want to know about Truth itself.

Well, truth is not as straightforward as some might think, or want to believe. Its not black and white, as there are different ways to speak about the Truth,
Nick Duretta
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Macdonald is a good writer and there is definitely food for thought here, but this had what I felt was a lot of irrelevant padding, and it seemed to be structured for a corporate audience (Macdonald is a corporate consultant). When he stuck to the topic at hand--how can we tell a truth from a lie, something not easy these days--it was good. But then he got too far into the squishy logic of looking at "competing truths" (sort of like "alternative facts") that he lost me. ...more
Michael A.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Truth: How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality, Hector MacDonald has provided an incisive view of how language and belief interact to determine everything that people think, feel and do. His story is based on the psychological insight that everything that one understands comprises a worldview (or mindset), a collection of individual beliefs and meanings which automatically determine one’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions on an ongoing basis. Everything that we think, feel ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most important book you may ever read has arrived at a time when it is most sorely needed.

For both sides of a liberal/conservative debate understanding the motivations of others and the way in which we present and interpret truths, this is the most important book of 2018 and possibly the most important book a person could read in this or any year.

A fast, and concise read- with recaps at the end of reasonably broken up chapters, I am in awe of this book now and will be glad to share this bo
Kent Winward
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Is this a true review? 4 stars? Well yes and no. And Hector would agree with me. It is also a 1, 2, 3 and 5 star book -- sort of a pentagon of reviews are available, depending on the reader.

Subjective truth is a form of truth and perhaps the most dangerous when the believer acts on their truth. I'm not saying you should act on my review and I don't want to give the impression that this book is some sort of post-modern, relativistic, multi-cultural, everything is true so nothing is true, because
Jap Hengky
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
The world is full of competing truths, where many different things can be true at the same time. Truth can be used by those who seek to mislead, those who unintentionally misinform and those looking to inspire. It’s up to us to learn how to decipher how truth is used – by politicians, corporations and the media – so that when we form an opinion, it’s based on the full picture, not partial or selective information.
Achi Arjevanidze
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Idea is as simple as it can get, modern world is full of misleading information, on facebook or on the media. Most of the time there is no objective truth, because we people base our trust on social constructs that we create by believing in it. For example fiat currency or even bitcoin. Also many times there are cases where trust can be turn into lie just by omitting some details and so on and so on... pretty simple, but, reason why I'd recommend this one, is that it has great examples of lies a ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
MacDonald, as a business strategy consultant, knows a thing or two about persuasion. And yet his book begs the question, how are our actions affected by our commitment to ‘the truth’? Does our knowing ‘the truth’, even out of many competing truths, affect our subsequent actions? People know the truth about lots of things: driving while texting is dangerous, for example, but this knowledge seems to have limited practical effect. I believe that MacDonald leaves open the question, whether truth, as ...more
Betsy Myers
I won this book via Goodreads First Reads. I am an ECE administrator and I look forward to adding this book to the lending library for parents and staff at my school.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A shockingly good read that REALLY opened my mind!!!

I'm just going to say up front here that the cover of this book is atrocious. I have no idea why the publisher chose it, but it's really awful in my opinion. They say don't judge a book by its cover, but everyone really does, don't they? And had I not been GIVEN this book, I'd never have bought it on my own, mostly because I wouldn't have stuck around long enough to even read the synopsis. Which is a fact I bring up specifically, because for
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There are some interesting aspects to this book. The author attempts to handle the intricacies of truth and the use of it to mislead. Unfortunately the book begin by relating the obvious. The author then proceeds to present some interesting case studies. I will give him credit for attempting to illustrate multiple facets of the issues he highlights in an evenhanded style. However, I found it distasteful that he betrays his prejudices by ascribing intentions on the proponents of the different fac ...more
David Broughall
The chief imperative of this book is that we must all think critically about the things we see, hear, and read that are being presented to us as truth. Not only must we take care with the truths we consume, but also with the truths we utter. A few times the author is guilty of uttering what he thinks are self-evident truths, when to this reader they are anything but. In particular, his statements about the gender earnings gap. The earnings gap may be true, but only in the broadest sense. His sta ...more
Abin Arjun
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marvelous take on the truth. We take truth as something absolute. This book takes that concept and shatters it to pieces. Today's problem be it political, business or societal are plagued by different versions of truth. The book explores in detail where to spot what. What is the most compelling positive truth and what is a harmful negative one. It's a good read for everyone who's interested in understanding how communicators use words to make a meaningful impact - for better or worse. Some of th ...more
Ravi Balakrishnan
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing Book! This book is about truth. Though truth is not as straightforward as it seems. There are different ways to speak truth, not all of them honest!
There is so much information out there now, coming at us from so many varied sources.Moreover we can no longer rely on press and media houses to curate the world’s information for us and tell us which truth is more relevant and which is misleading. There are no gatekeepers any more. We have to do it for ourselves and help those around us do i
Nice read and very thought-provoking. What I gather from the read is that I should not jump into conclusions and take truths as absolute but pay attention to why the truth was stated, by whom, when and in what context. The book talks about the many facets of truth and how we should always question it and try to see the bigger picture and know what other contradicting truths are being obfuscated, this is so that we could be better informed about a topic and not be used as pawns. This book also ta ...more
Bryan Blanchot
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve read this book in a day while being sleep deprived for travel reasons so I might not have been in the best conditions to evaluate this book. However, the language used is very clear and the author skilfully explores the different truth bending devices used by master « misleaders » (his word, not mine) but which can also serve a better purpose. Through concrete examples he casts light on the fact that often a situation can have competing truths depending on context/beliefs/data/predictions e ...more
Bang Learnedly
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Despite the title Truth is a how-to of how to lie creatively. The author helps corporations with internal advertising (for example aiding in getting employees on board with a controversial company-wide undertaking) and most of the book is written as a guidebook for people with similar career aspirations, with a lot of time also spent doling out advice on how to catch on to and avoid falling for various manipulation techniques.

Many chapters' topics feel more like common sense than insight, to the
Holly Law
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting look at how to spot completing truths and a call to arms to call out #misleadingtruths spread by politicians, media and corporations. I do feel like it’s given me a few tips on how to better digest my twitter feed. Overall, if you’ve been taught how to critically analyse at uni or elsewhere then don’t expect this to expand your knowledge greatly. That said, a helpful reminder in this age of overwhelming information were bombarded with of how to consume it without being misinformed ...more
Travis McKinstry
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
So there were definite parts of this book that I liked. It had some very interesting facts and stories. However, there is something I dislike about this book, a lot. I’m not exactly sure what that thing is, but it’s definitely there.

At times I felt like the author was erroneously off-topic, other times I felt like she was on topic but not making it applicable to real life. I’m not a writer, so describing how I feel about a buck is not a strength of mine. However, I am an avid reader and there is
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Variations on the theme TRUTH. Or rather, various ways and strategies to (misre)present and detect competing truths and misleading truths - the two are mutually exclusive and this book illustrates why and how. It is a fairly easy and useful read for all that recognise that truth is a blend of someone’s beliefs, circumstances, method of communication, words used, choice of focus (or omission) between competing truths and most of all, point of view.
Masatoshi Nishimura
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
My impression of this book is Hector is an amazing writer. The book is filled with anecdotes, which made it exciting to read until the end. Even though he claims in the beginning that it's not a book about the philosophy, he definitely revists some of its classic themes into a modern context. I enjoyed that applicability. I also liked his summary at the end of each chapter. Storytelling approach in a book is often confusing of what the takeaway of your reading was. He brushed that concern off. ...more
This book is certainly timely and looks at truth and the very manifestations of it in an interesting and thoughtful way. However, as much as I agree that truth is being distorted in an alarming manner these days, I just couldn't get fully immersed in this one. Maybe it's that I'm trying to avoid having to think about how big of a problem this is. ...more
Adrienne Row
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started reading it for pleasure, but then realized it's informative topics and discussions would be helpful for my upcoming photography projects. If you're looking to understand the many facets of how we come to believe something to be true, and how that can be shaped, then this is the book for you. ...more
Bob Gao
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is an eye opener on "truth".
The author used easy to understand language to explain what are the traps of truth and enormous amount of real life & real time examples were used to explain the truth.

Part 1- partial truth was the most exciting reading. In business life, the partial truth is most relavent - complexty, history, context, numbers and stories were all the truth behind partial truth.
Nathan Holm
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book as it provided many opportunities to explore the nuances of what is presented as truth. The author does a great job of highlighting the battle truth has with being hijacked by ‘misleaders’
and/or misinformers’. Ultimately it is our individual responsibility to protect truth and to evaluate what others are presenting as truth and not merely accepting their version.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book made me see problems and solutions with a diverse opinion. I have come to understand the many reasons behind why people are selective of what they say and choose to show.

It is a good book to understand and learn why one should never mislead and how to avoid being a misleader or mis-informer. Worth a read tho after awhile it may appear repetitive.
Yousra Bushehri
This was a really easy read and I feel the fact that it was easy and conversational just goes to show how awesome the author is.

It's full of useful tips and tricks to do and look out for and honestly, it makes you really think about what the 'truth' is. I definitely feel like I might reread this in the future because there was just so much to unpack and think about in its 300 or so pages.
Michael Bernard
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful and thought-provoking work by Mr Mcdonald. I particularly liked the section on numbers and learned a lot from his explanation of Simpson's paradox. The only area of serious weakness was on climate change, where there are several misleading statements, ironically. However, despite that, well worth reading. ...more
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