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Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to…
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Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially… (edition 2012)

by Dan Ariely

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7771321,544 (3.81)16
The author, a behavioral economist, challenges our preconceptions about dishonesty; we all cheat, whether it is copying a paper in the classroom, or white lies on our expense accounts. He explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of use, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards. He explores the question of dishonesty from Washington to Wall Street, and the classroom to the workplace, to examine why cheating is so prevalent and what can be done to prevent it.… (more)
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Title:Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves, The
Authors:Dan Ariely
Info:Harper
Collections:Your library
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Tags:History, General, Business & Economics, Social History

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The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Entertaining extension to the [b:Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions|1713426|Predictably Irrational The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions|Dan Ariely|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1255573980s/1713426.jpg|3074803]Predictably Irrational. I wouldn't read one immediately after the other, but worth reading if you've put some time between the reads. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
A really entertaining book, similar to predictably irrational. Filled with fun anecdotes and asides. I wouldn't call it rigorous by typical academic standards but I really thought it was a fun read.

I appreciate the structure of the book, going from Becker's model of crime to the more interesting nuances that Ariely discovered experimentally. I'm largely impressed by the experimental design of his various studies. His experimental design rules out easy cop outs, and possible alternative explanations for his experiments testing Becker's model of rational crime and the cheating contagion hypothesis. I've had to read many of this experiments (regarding social cheating, ego depletion, fake sunglasses, and honor codes) for class beforehand. It was really entertaining to read about his experiments regarding creativity and self-deception (I liked that he tried to control for intelligence). I never heard of the studies regarding reciprocity and fmri, and his studies on collaborative cheating (that we sometimes cheat to help those we like, and that this effect is greater than the monitoring effect). A lot of his experiments produced evidence that challenged my beliefs about the world. In particular, his one study showing that requiring disclosure might not solve conflicts of interest, since clients did not discount advice enough to get close to the truth.

My criticism of this book is twofold and pretty common in regards to these popular behavioral economic books. Ariely tends to mischaracterize and strawman rational economics. He argues that Becker's model is "disproved" by his experimental evidence. He goes so far to say that the probability of being caught and the increasing the reward of crime do not change the frequency of crime. He comes to this conclusion when he observes that in his experimental setting, he was not able to induce more cheating by making it easier to cheat, and by increasing the payout of cheating by paying a couple of more dollars. In my opinion he moves too quickly to dismiss based off of a couple of experiments on college kids at elite universities. I think the best response is that the stakes were just too low to induce the misbehavior, especially since most of the subjects were coming from moderate to wealthy backgrounds. In the real world, increased punishment and increased probability of being caught probably do affect crime rates. There's some wonderful empirical work done by Levitt demonstrating that increasing police size (holding various other variables constant) reduces crime, along with a whole economic literature discussing empirical work on the real world and confirmation of Becker's model. Ariely goes on to the typical behavioral economic critique that rational economics claims that people are robots without feelings. I agree with Ariely that people commit less crime than they could because they still want to see themselves as "good people". However, Becker never makes the claim that the expected "payoff" of crime is purely monetary. Specifically, Becker notes that some payoffs and costs may be psychological. It would be reasonable and easy to integrate Ariely's beliefs with Becker's model. Lastly, Ariely applies his concepts to explaining every phenomenon on the planet. This sells books but is poor academia! To the hammer, everything looks like a nail.

As an aside, I received this book as a gift from a good friend. I was lucky to have received the version with the extra chapter, I'm a sucker for more material. However, I found the chapter to be rather lacking, and would suggest that people who have the older versions to not bother buying a whole new version to read the chapter. ( )
  vhl219 | Jun 1, 2019 |
Similar to Predictably Irrational, with some material repeated. Still an interesting and fast read. ( )
  3njennn | Nov 25, 2018 |
Skip this one and read "Predictably Irrational" (by the same author} ( )
  howzzit | Oct 18, 2016 |
Five stars means everyone should read it. Two happy evenings in a quiet room should do it - but it'll probably take longer because you'll keep interrupting yourself to share bits with family or housemates.

Good science - Ariely takes his well-done experiments and research out of the college labs, out of the ivory tower, out into the streets, and even around the world. I'm loving the fact that the so-called 'soft' sciences can be studied rigorously by researchers sufficiently dedicated.

Good writing - clear, smart, graceful, engaging, but no forced humor. He clearly cares, sincerely, about what he's studying, and wants to share it with us. No self-righteousness, no pretentiousness, no grubbing for fame or fortune... just a talented, hard-working teacher exploring the frontiers of behavioral economics & psychology with us.

I will say the book is not perfect. The man is influenced by his personal environment, of course. (He'd be the first to admit it.) One footnote mentions that he recently 'discovered' the concept of 'work-hours' (as in, how many hours of wages does it take to pay for a dinner out or a new jacket...). Well, I'm sorry, but I figured this out when I was 17, when I got my first paycheck. Didn't you?

Or more specifically, [W]e all remember the time college friends offered us pizza and beer in exchange for helping them move." Um, no, Dan, we don't.

But those are totally minor quibble. The book is *not* written at a college level, and *is* relevant to all.

We may think we understand white lies, the fudge factor, rationalizations & justifications, plagiarism, pirating, & counterfeiting, wishful blindness, the 'what-the-hell' effect and the 'knew-it-all-along' attitude, the benefits of cooperation, sunshine policies & transparency, story-telling & creativity, temptation & self-deception, etc. etc. - but we've never explored them like this before.

And what about contagion, ego depletion, and resetting rituals? Not sure what those are? Read and find out! And learn how to spot & counter dishonesty in yourself, your co-workers, even your doctor.

Yep, that's right. I'm now actually glad my doctor is joining MDVIP so I have an excuse to get a new one. Betcha you're intrigued now, even if you weren't before! :)" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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To my teachers, collaborators, and students, for making research fun and exciting.

And to all the participants who took part in our experiments over the years--you are the engine of this research, and I am deeply grateful for all your help.
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My interest in cheating was first ignited in 2002, just a few months after the collapse of Enron.
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The author, a behavioral economist, challenges our preconceptions about dishonesty; we all cheat, whether it is copying a paper in the classroom, or white lies on our expense accounts. He explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of use, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards. He explores the question of dishonesty from Washington to Wall Street, and the classroom to the workplace, to examine why cheating is so prevalent and what can be done to prevent it.

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