• The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

  • How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves
  • By: Dan Ariely
  • Narrated by: Simon Jones
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-05-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (789 ratings)

Regular price: $25.09

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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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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.

15 of 16 people found this review 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

20 of 24 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Elly
  • Meeker, CO, United States
  • 08-30-12

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 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Terry
  • Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
  • 10-07-12

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 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Carl
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 08-21-12

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 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Lots of good lessons

The book starts a bit too verbose explaining many details about experiments, but it gets better toward the end. It provides a lot of useful insights into how people deceive themselves and others. I think somebody should make a summary of this book for quick reference. The book is followed by a series of audio interviews which also sum up some findings nicely.

Overall, must read and should go along with "Thinking Fast and Slow" book.

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  • Bart
  • WICHITA, KANSAS, United States
  • 10-26-18

I loved this book and I’m not lying.

Great book but I did not enjoy the British actor doing the reading. It made the experience seem pompous. Now I need to go shock myself.

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Excellent! The most practical of all Ariely's book

excellent book, as always from Dan Ariely.
I found this one to be particularly practical, with most of the experiments and theories reviewed in the book having practical implications.

Also love the fact that the author is talking about his own experiments, not like Many popular authors who just recite work of others.