The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

by Dan Ariely



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 a farmers’ market to buy tomatoes, for example – their research yields some interesting results.

But back to that classroom … our intrepid social scientist’s big discovery is this:  We all cheat, but only a little bit.  And if we can just get a few reminders that cheating is bad, maybe we won’t do it so much.

That’s not exactly a scientific breakthrough; it’s simple common sense.  And that’s the brutal truth.


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