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A good read, very similar to his "Predictably Irrational" and "Upside of Irrationality". There are repeats of some of the previous findings, but now through a different lens.
The essential message is that all of us lie. The trick is balancing how much we lie and cheat with our perception of ourselves.
It is fun making yourself predict the outcome of the studies as he is describing them... but a little disturbing to understand how much every single one of us lies in some way.
It finishes with some interviews from his "Arming the Donkeys" podcast, where Dan himself hosts the discussion - which are entertaining if you have not heard them before.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
In both academic and real-world situations, Dan Ariely continues to show that we deceive more than we imagine, despite our best intentions. Simon Jones conveys the author's nuances of style just right. I've listened to it twice and it didn't feel redundant.
MPs dishonestly claiming expense, banks lying to manipulate the LIBOR irate, price fixing by oil companies... Lying, cheating and dishonesty are all around us! Indeed Ariely's research shows that most of us are just a little bit dishonest, it seems. That's perhaps no surprise. The surprise factor for me, is that the bigger the amount, the LESS likely we are to cheat. The limiting factor seems to be not how much we can get away with, but how much we challenge our self-image by an act of dishonesty - and how far we can justify it to ourselves. This book looks at the many ways we justify our cheating, and how far from the truth and into serious fraud such justifications can subtly take us by salami tactics. Many factors are investigated by Ariely in a series of experiments. How does cheating by others corrupt our own honesty? How much do we calculate the risk of getting caught? Would a pair of drawn cartoon eyes stop you taking unclaimed money off a table? Are highly creative people more likely to tell lies than less creative people? Like his other books, I found this quite an eye opener - into my own attitudes towards honesty, cheating and my own self justifications to preserve intact my own good self-image. If nothing else, I think I recognise my own mental tricks to fool myself more. Enjoyably read by Simon Jones - the narration is like a hitchhikers guide to dishonesty in the very pleasant company of Arthur Dent.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Dishonesty and cheating is quite a difficult issue to write about, but Dan Ariely has a light-handed, breezy approach which works very well. Much of the news is rather depressing - most people cheat some of the time, our doctors, dentists and bankers exploit us to their advantage, children are born with the natural inclination to deceive and we all mislead ourselves to our own advantage. On the bright side, most people are constrained by a broader moral code - you should only cheat a bit, you should not cheat blind people, you might also lie or cheat to achieve a greater 'overall fairness' in the world.
A lot of the results presented come from experiments on US undergraduates, so research-wise you might question the wider validity and implications. I found the questions raised interesting and most of the results intuitively satisfying. The book ends with a series of interviews/conversations with Ariely's colleagues. These do not add much to the content (they repeat results already presented) but it is interesting to hear Ariely, on the hoof, talking through the possible interpretations, misinterpretations and complications in the results. It shows how careful you have to be in experimental design, and in drawing any firm conclusions. The academic mind at work, you might say.
Narration. Mr Ariely (who speaks English with a strong Isreali accent) stumps up the fee for a professional narrator and I salute that decision. The narrator is a bit sing-song/Jackanory, but this is sometimes welcome as an antidote to the sensitive nature of many of the findings - i.e. a humorous tone helps when we are discussing how 'we are all a bit naughty, aren't we?'
5 of 5 people found this review helpful