From time to time publishers send me books ‘hoping’ that I will read them and that I might write something on this blog. They sit in a pile on my desk… One sat on the top of the pile ‘The (Honest) truth about dishonesty – by Dan Ariely – How we lie to everyone – especially ourselves. I read it from cover to cover and couldn’t put it down. But for the sake of honesty I need to declare that I was given the book… so does this equate to cash for comment?
The book touches on the very touchy subjects of lying, cheating, and dishonesty – and how we all do it. That it is intrinsic to human nature. The degree to which we use the ‘fudge factor’ depends on our moral compass. The author is very amusing… and I laughed out loud at his insights. Ariely seems to not take himself to seriously and I’m so glad, because otherwise the reader would have been left feeling less than good about themselves.
In essence he covers eight areas that shape dishonesty – that is in what circumstances are we likely to be more dishonest than others. He even mentioned ‘white lies’ and altruistic cheating (that is dishonesty done for the good of another person – apparently there is a bit of Robin Hood in all of us). I was curious to learn that people who consider themselves creative are more likely to be dishonest that those with a higher intelligence.
Ariely did determine that financial gain – nor the likelihood of getting caught influence the degree of dishonesty, which I found interesting.
I was glad that he identified four ways to decrease dishonesty… simple effective methods to reduce people cheating or lying. I was pleased too that he did talk of the impact dishonesty has on our society and us…. and it’s infectious nature.
I have identified that I did have a conflict in being given this book – however the subject was fascinating and I think the benefit of reading this book far out ways the fact that there was an obvious intention of why I was sent it. (See I just justified it to you – and to me, demonstrating that I am just the same as everyone else – oh it’s nice to be human… far less than perfect.)
Worth the read