• The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

  • How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves
  • By: Dan Ariely
  • Narrated by: Simon Jones
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,126 ratings)

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The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

By: Dan Ariely
Narrated by: Simon Jones
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Publisher's Summary

This program is enhanced with 14 never-before-heard episodes of Dan Ariely's "Arming the Donkeys" podcast, available exclusively on this audiobook!

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 honest or less so? Does religion improve our honesty?

Most of us think of ourselves as honest, but, in fact, we all cheat. From Washington to Wall Street, the classroom to the workplace, unethical behavior is everywhere. None of us is immune, whether it's the white lie to head off trouble or padding our expense reports. In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, award-winning, bestselling author Dan Ariely turns his unique insight and innovative research to the question of dishonesty.

Generally, we assume that cheating, like most other decisions, is based on a rational cost-benefit analysis. But Ariely argues, and then demonstrates, that it's actually the irrational forces that we don't take into account that often determine whether we behave ethically or not. For every Enron or political bribe, there are countless hidden commissions, and knockoff purses.

In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Ariely shows why some things are easier to lie about; how getting caught matters less than we think; and how business practices pave the way for unethical behavior, both intentionally and unintentionally. Ariely explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and how it affects all of us, even as we think of ourselves as having high moral standards.

But all is not lost. Ariely also identifies what keeps us honest, pointing the way for achieving higher ethics in our everyday lives. With compelling personal and academic findings, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty will change the way we see ourselves, our actions, and others.

©2012 Dan Ariely (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I am a huge fan of Dan Ariely. I have read his previous two books (predictably irrational) multiple times and recommended them to friends and co-workers. And he continues that same work in this book by describing the experiments he's done that deal mostly with honesty. Many of the experiments are repeats from what he has described in previous books -- which was okay with me, because I like to hear about them again.

If he had stuck with the same format as his previous books and described his clinical work only, that would have been best. But, he goes on to offer explanations of why he thinks people are dishonest and of course, none of that can be supported with any evidence.

And he makes some pretty big leaps to conclusions on why people do what they do in the experiments he conducts. It's one thing to measure the outcome, but his conclusions (while put forth as speculation) are not based on anything but his own reasoning and logic. Which may turn out to be true, but the fact is there is no way (at this time) to determine the "why" and just because that's what he thinks does not make it so.

(ie - the sun rises around the same time each morning. Good, we've established this as a fact. Now, for the why...well because it's driven by a god in a charriot, of course. At least that's what some people believed thousands of years ago, but that didn't make it true.)

We have no way of knowing why people cheat and lie. Yes, he can measure that we do and that it gets worse or better under different conditions, but it's a big, big leap from that place to saying they do it because of X. There is no way to know X. At least not at this time. So he shouldn't speculate -- even when he doesn't state it as a fact it still comes off as if he's sure he's got the right answer for the why.

38 people found this helpful

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You Cheat (and I Do Too)

Dan Ariely's "Honest Truth About Dishonesty" is a nice divergence from his earlier books on irrationality, and contains much more original psychological research than these books. If you've enjoyed his prior books, you'll enjoy this one.

Ariely's books are all connected by the theme of how it is that we fool ourselves. In this work, Ariely shows that we're fooling ourselves and others just a little bit, almost all of the time through a number of clever experiments. What's particularly interesting is that Ariely finds that this cheating is not driven by cost/benefit tradeoffs -- the generally accepted rationale for why people cheat -- but, as in keeping with Ariely's prior work, cheating is found to be driven by less rational motivations. Changes in cost/benefit do matter, but opportunities for rationalization, the effect of social norms, and cognitive dissonance are at least equally important.

I don't know why Ariely keeps choosing Simon Jones to read his books. Jones is a great reader, but in a strongly British theatrical manner. Ariely, whom you'll get to hear in podcasts appended to the end of the book, or whom you may have heard on a TED talk, speaks American English with an Israeli accent. Further, the places Ariely writes about are almost always either in the US or Israel and almost never in England. If you know what the author sounds like, Jones seems to be a strange choice.

20 people found this helpful

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Food for thought!

I have enjoyed all of Dan Ariely's books and this one was no exception. It was interesting to read how we are all a little dishonest at some point or another. I found it fun spouting the research in this book to family and friends who insist they never lie or cheat. You will definitely learn more about how society behaves but I think, more importantly, you'll get a better understanding how you sometimes behave.

I know others don't like the English narrator but I think he is perfect for the job and narrates with a wonderful sense of irony.

13 people found this helpful

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Great Listen! (No Lie)

The week I listened to Dan Ariely's "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty - How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves" (2012), Ted Wells' 243 page "Investigative Report Concerning Footballs Used During the AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015" was released. Wells is a criminal defense attorney who was hired by the NFL to determine if the New England Patriots intentionally underinflated footballs. Wells dryly noted "it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules," Wells report, page 2.

The buzz since the report was released on May 6, 2015 is whether famed quarterback Tom Brady knew. As I write this review, Brady hasn't said one way or the other. Thanks to Ariely's "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty" I've got an idea of how the coaching staff and players might have thought it was okay to 'cheat a little' - even when there was absolutely no reason to cheat. Ariely's done controlled experiments and published peer reviewed studies that show a lot of people will cheat, given the opportunity to do so; but most people don't cheat to the maximum amount possible, even if they know they won't be caught.

Ariely's book explains his work and the work of other behavioral scientists in ways that are engaging, easy to understand, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. There's a very, very funny discussion about the correlation between finals and dead grandmothers. He calculated the uptick in fatalities, and the correlation was alarming. It was a silent epidemic - of lying.

If honesty is armor, Ariely's identified "What the hell" as its biggest chink. Once someone does a little something dishonest, WTH? Why not crib a term paper, fudge the numbers on accounting report, and keep the extra change the guy at the drive through gave you along with your supersized fries. And if everyone else around you is doing it? Well, there's Enron manipulating California's energy market and knocking power out to schools and hospitals - and the Patriots running away with an AFC Championship that might have been a real contest if Brady didn't have the advantage of an easier to hold pigskin.

The last hour or so of the Audible is a series of interviews/podcasts that Ariely did with colleagues. That's kind of a neat way of putting the work into perspective.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

7 people found this helpful

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Another Wonderful Dan Ariely Book

First I would like to say that the reader is great. Whenever a English accented reader is needed he should be the first one chosen because he has the flavor needed without the difficulty to understand.

Anyway I love all Dan Ariely's books. In many ways they are similar to "Freakenomics" but I tend to like them a bit better because they seem to me to be scientific in their conclusions... although both are great.

This book about honesty is something we all need to think about and it makes me wonder if humans can ever really be honest.

The one shortcoming in the book is basicallly talking about lying to ourselves he never goes into religion. For example Christians claim to follow Jesus yet he primarily preached sharing all we have with others... particularly the poor... which is something few do. Modern Christians today mainly attack abortion and gays which is something Jesus never preached against yet the main thing he did preach is largely ignored. Not trying to pick on Christians because the same contradictions (lies) are found in all religions.

7 people found this helpful

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Can we control our lying?

Where does The Honest Truth About Dishonesty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is incredibly thought- provoking! I love books that developer or change the way I see the world or my life. This book achieves that in a way that kept my attention. Because of that I see as a must listen to book. It is my favourite book at this moment. I now hove lots of books I think are the best I've listened to so it's hard to say its my favourite as it may be a lie.

I'm glad I bought it.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The narrator keeps the story moving. At the end of the book there are interviews conducted by the author. The author has a different accent.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This book makes you consider the subtleties of being truthful and honest and the many unconscious, reasons for dishonesty. The book shows how mass deception can be acceptable in organizations such as Enron and in our governments.

The author does many social experiments and many of the outcomes are counter-intuitive. Those findings were the most provocative part of the book.

I also enjoyed the end of the book where the author let us listen to interviews with others he collaborated with in the formulation of his findings expressed in the book.

5 people found this helpful

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great studies in human nature we already knew

this is emperical evidence of how we deceive even ourselves. the narrative is very listenable.

4 people found this helpful

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Relevent information

Would you consider the audio edition of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty to be better than the print version?

The audio edition of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty is better than the print version only in that it makes the information all that more accessible to me...I've discovered that I'm an aural learner.

Any additional comments?

This book was highly interesting to me because all of the little studies that Ariely conducted dealt directly with how I behave and how I observe others behaving on a daily basis. As I was reading it, I became acutely aware of how, like most people according to Ariely, I continually rationalize cheating in my own life. This book is thought provoking and kind of fun too. I recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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Regurgitating old material

This is nothing special, some of it is interesting, but it is a short book with regurgitated material and some interviews.

3 people found this helpful

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Get a new narrator

I just couldn't stomach the officious tone of the narrator. It is so different than what Dan Ariely is like. It stopped
Me from reading the book

3 people found this helpful