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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incrementally advancing our understanding of behaviors
Finding a unique narrative angle when a book by the de-facto creator of the behavioral psychology field - Thinking, Fast and Slow is recently published is not an easy task. However, Ariely picks up from where he left off in his previous works - Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and The Upside of...
Published on March 21, 2012 by Sreeram Ramakrishnan

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139 of 153 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Honestly a good book, but not Ariely's best
Dishonesty is not rational in the sense that you cannot control dishonesty by increasing the chances of getting caught or its penalties. Those remedies, which are the basis for much of our regulatory and enforcement policy do not control dishonesty. In the real world, according to this book, we all cheat a little, but not so much that it causes us to comprise our...
Published on March 31, 2012 by Mark P. McDonald


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, November 18, 2012
This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
I had the opportunity to read Dr. Ariely's book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty as part of an assignment in Carlow University's Master's of Science in Fraud and Forensics course on Forensic Research and Analysis [...]. We had the opportunity to watch companion videos that followed the text. I found Dr. Ariely's book very easy to read and was able to complete it in three sittings. I especially appreciated this in light of the accelerated nature of our program and my experience with how dry some texts can get. He offers great explanations of his research as well as real life experiences to make the reader want to continue on with the read. I have not read Ariely's other books; however, this does make me want to go and read his other works.

Ariely discusses the SMORC model: Simple Model of Rational Crime and how it proposes that our decisions regarding honesty are made very simply through cost-benefit analysis. Everyone is looking for their greatest advantage and that is how decisions are made as to be honest or dishonest. He explains how that must not be the real world; otherwise we would likely lock our wallets in our drawer and hide our cash under the bed and be unwilling to ask for our neighbor to bring in our mail lest he steal it. He illustrates how this isn't the case so something else must be at work.

Ariely then backs up his illustration with scientific research, which is of course our interest in the book as it backs up our scientific research course. The SMORC model he states is based on three things: "(1) the benefit that one stands to gain from the crime; (2) the probability of getting caught; and (3) the expected punishment if one is caught." One only needs to compare the costs with the gain and determine if the course of action is worth it.

During Ariely's numerous experiments there are some new insights into the dishonest mind for me that are revealed that did not follow my initial assumptions. One was clearly the discovery that a lot of people cheat, but just by a little bit. His hypothesis is that this allows us to cheat just enough to save face and still look at ourselves as basically honest people. He refers to this as the "fudge factor theory." The remainder of the book tests the theory scientifically while changing variables in the experiments. His findings are somewhat counterintuitive at times and are revelations to me. He found that the amount of money involved in the cheating did not really impact the magnitude of cheating and was actually even slightly lower when more money was at stake. He also found that the more something is removed from actual money the more susceptible it is to theft or cheating.
These were just a few of the revelations in his book throughout the ten chapters. Unfortunately, the book seemed redundant at time as he continued to drill the fudge factor into our mind. I think the book could probably have been shorter and more to the point and it seemed as if the final chapters that added positive outlooks were almost added on to put a positive spin on some information that to me seemed a little depressing at times. It seems that everyone was cheating, but only by a little bit.

I still feel this book was an excellent read, especially for anyone in the fraud prevention, loss prevention, human resources, or management fields. His insights and the design of his very simple scientific experiments gave new insights but also showed the importance of scientific evidence to overcome preconceived assumptions and bias. I am already look for his other books and am researching Dr. Ariely himself, due to his extremely interesting story and his excellent lecturing ability. I think you will enjoy it too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insights, November 18, 2012
This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
I read Dan Ariely's "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty as a student in Carlow University's Master's of Science in Fraud and Forensics Program. [...] As a student in this program, studying a wide range of aspects in fraud, Dr. Ariely's book provided a great amount of insight in a simplistic manner. This text is filled with experiments to determine what most affects when people cheat, and how external factors may contribute to their rationalization of cheating. The explanation of experiments clearly defines Dr. Ariely's thoughts prior to, as well as after the research. The ways in which he thought of experiments was quite intriguing. For example, while meeting with a fashion-oriented friend before a lecture, he began thinking of how brand name labels influenced people's code of morals and honest (or dishonest) behavior. The results of experimenting with brand name labels and honesty were quite interesting: individuals had a higher level of cheating when they were aware that the clothing and accessories they wore were counterfeits.
There are few weaknesses that I noticed as I read this book. Each chapter is mostly independent of others, so it is rather easy to pick and choose the topics to read. However, if read through as one book, it becomes slightly repetitive, as Dr. Ariely recaps information from previous studies that are utilized throughout several experiments. This repetition is both a positive and a negative, though. If read slowly, it serves as a refresher and good reminder so readers clearly understand what was used from previous experiments. If read quickly, however, it slows down the reader and serves more of an annoyance than refresher.
As a future fraud investigator, this book truly helped in understanding the thought process behind individuals who rationalize cheating, and the degree to which they rationalize it. It helps people to see the simple things that aid people to rationalize their lying behaviors. Ariely included several letters from individuals who have read his writings, and sought out his opinion because of the situation they faced- such as a gentleman who faced over billing client hours (which was done by all other employees) or being the first to be fired when the time for terminations came. The manner in which Ariely addresses these real individuals helps readers connect the dots between his experiments and research to associations in the workforce. This book is a great read for anyone interested in lying, cheating, and rationalization. After I finished reading this book, I realized just how prominent cheating is, and just how much it goes unnoticed and/or unpunished merely because of social surroundings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more to this book than the snipets you've heard, October 17, 2012
By 
Jon (PEARL CITY, HI, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
So many times people want to say that if you've read these 47.5 words, you know everything this book has to offer and can go ahead and save your hard earned. Often I heed those warnings or try to find the book in the library.

However, I was so interested in the Wall Street Journal article which discussed this book from a few month ago, that I went ahead and took the leap. After all, I think I am an honest person. And I (think I) always strive to be more so - and especially to be a proper role model for my family.

This book contains much more than the sound bites you may have heard about a study about some college students getting paid to tell how many answers they said they got right on some silly math test and determining that most people cheat, but only a little, only enough to convince themselves that they are still honorable people.

The author discusses study after study which express variations on the theme of honesty in many situations. I appreciated how thorough he was.

One complaint: his discussion on the societal effects of dishonesty was somewhat more superficial than it should have been.

I think most of us want more than just to be known as honest, we want to fully believe ourselves to be honest. This book reminds us how we often delude ourselves and gives suggestions on how to help ourselves be that person we want to be.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much fluff, too little substance, August 27, 2012
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This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
Dan Ariely entertains while teaching. That's not such a bad thing. But I like more substance and less fluff. Cotton candy tastes good, but meat and potatoes makes a better meal.

In his book The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, Dan Ariely describes his research and tells stories (some about himself, and some about others) focusing on honesty. While entertaining enough, there is little to chew on here. Dan Ariely tries to connect his research to bigger themes like the fraud at Enron, the staggering thefts of Bernie Madoff, and the across-the-board dishonesty shown in the financial meltdown of 2008.

But the connection seems fragile. Dan Ariely's research gets nowhere near the mindset and motives of corporate pirates. He focuses instead on the trivial--things like stealing cans of Coke from dorm refrigerators, wearing fake "high-fashion" sunglasses, and cheating when working with matrices in a contrived experimental study. Not the same at all.

Because of that, I had a hard time getting through the book. The first third I read fairly rigorously, the second third I read rather quickly, and the last third I skimmed. I don't think I missed much. As another reviewer said, this book would have been better as an article rather than a book.

Much better on a similar topic was the book The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust. The author of that book, John Coates, does not have the academic credentials of Dan Ariely. Nor does he have the comedic bent. But where Dan Ariely serves up cotton candy, John Coates serves up meat and potatoes. Although The Hour Between Dog and Wolf has its faults (including a title that makes little sense), it's a much, much better book than this one.

One final note about a delicious irony: One of the blurbs on the back of The Honest Truth about Dishonesty reads as follows:

In this endlessly fascinating book, Dan Ariely proves that dishonesty is everywhere: we are all bad apples. It's an uncomfortable message, but the implications are huge--and nobody understands this better than Ariely. If you care about the truth, read this book.

--Jonah Lehrer, Author of How We Decide and Imagine

Why is that deliciously ironic? Because Jonah Lehrer is now disgraced and his book Imagine pulled by its publisher, after Lehrer admitted to making up quotes in his book. Yes, indeed, dishonesty is everywhere. But this book--The Honest Truth about Dishonesty--will do little, if anything, to help those who care about the truth. It's full of fluff, and lacking in substance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinocchio's Nose. Now You See It, Now You Don't, August 8, 2012
This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
Social Scientist Dan Ariely's new book begins (on the dust jacket) and ends (on the last page of the bibliography) with an illustration of a magic mirror. It depicts a man with a Pinnocio nose peering into a glass which reflects a normal nose, that of a person who has not told a lie after all. The transformation, which Ariely calls "the fudge factor", is the effort we make "to maintain a positive self-image and to benefit from cheating". Easier said than done is the conclusion you'll reach from reading this engaging and informative book.

It describes a series of carefully designed experiments which Ariely and his colleagues carried out to determine what encourages us to cheat and what we and the people we deal with can do to discourage dishonesty. What is most effective in this regard? Explicit reminders at the outset of the endeavor that honesty is expected of us when we fill out insurance forms, give expert testimony, describe damage, take tests, write term papers, etc.

To set the table, Ariely recounts the Kennedy Center experience with the 300 "elderly, well-meaning, art-loving volunteers" who ran the Center's souvenir shops. They were "run like lemonade stands" with cash boxes instead of cash registers and without receipts. You guessed it. From annual sales of more than $400,000 worth of goods, the shops banked only $250,000. The thefts stopped cold once the manager instituted a system of inventory control, sales records and receipts.

Ariely's studies deal with the ways we cheat ourselves, using the way we play and score golf as an example. He also deals with conflicts of interest; demonstrates that we make better (more honest) decisions early in the day when we're fresh; with the adverse effect on our self-image from buying and wearing fake designer goods; the way the dishonesty germ spreads from one bad apple to the barrel full; and the fact that working collaboratively may increase, not decrease, the likelihood of dishonesty.

Social science studies like those described in "The (Honest) Truth" are necessarily arbitrary and so raise niggling questions about the methodology used, the selection of participants, and the degree of peer review involved. These doubts may leave you wondering how accurately real world conditions are replicated in such studies. My conclusion. Ariely's experiments came up with useful insights even if the experiments could not fully match the circumstances that pose the opportunities for dishonesty we face in our daily lives.

End Note. "Lying -- Moral Choice in Public and Private Life" (1999 Edition), Sissela Bok's definitive treatment of lying, will be subject of my next review. Chapter XIII, "Deceptive Social Science Research," provides an extensive discussion of the problems inherent in much such research. The one set of Ariely's experiments that might trigger Bok's concerns involve those in which the participants' honesty (dishonesty) was tested wearing genuine designer eye glasses which they were told were fakes. In for a dime, in for a dollar, those participants cheated more than the others. Such practices, Bok argues, may have a lasting adverse effect on the participants.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Dan Ariely, July 2, 2012
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This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
Every one of us considers himself as honest. But are we really are?
Dan Ariely states one locksmith which says that door locks are there to prevent the vast majority to enter doors. 1% of people are truly honest, 1% is crooked and the rest of the 98% of people need locks to remind them to be honest.

The book, in its fun way of writing checks the symptoms of our own honesty. With exampled tests it proves that all of us tend to cheat. But we are tended to stay honest to our self, so we deceive just a little.

I was happy to see at the end that the tests were done in different cultures and found that we are all alike, even though we think differently.

Dan Ariely is a gifted writer, this book is another fun to read on how we humans behave irrational.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have not enjoyed Ariely, July 23, 2012
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This review is from: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves (Hardcover)
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I always find Dan Ariely's titles interesting and find myself thinking that if the book can deliver on the promise of the title it will be insightful and helpful. Unfortunately, I have not found that to be the case with the books of his that I have read. I am not a social scientist but I find that the research methods that he describes lack adequate (or applicable) controls for the many variables that are outside of the scope of the research. I have also become very skeptical of much of the pop lit social science that has been crowding shelves and Kindles since Freakonomics. As self-help, this may help; but, if like me, you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of the behavioral science that go into the conclusions and recommendations, you may want to stick to journal articles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Obvious, January 17, 2014
Dan Ariely will probably never be as successful as Malcolm Gladwell. Which is a shame, because although Gladwell's anecdotal style of writing may be more interesting, Ariely backs up his assertions with facts and experiments. Of course, Ariely's assertions are generally just common sense backed up with data. People are generally more honest than not, but they are likely to cheat a little if they think they can get away with it, if they can rationalize it to themselves, if they have a partner in crime, or if they have a personal incentive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read but not earth shuttering, March 27, 2014
By 
Liza (Fairfax, VA USA) - See all my reviews
Curious read with interesting details however towards the end the book get very repetitive with the same points repeated from the beginning. Additionally, the book seems to scratch the surface of lying and focuses a lot on "disconnecting". again, interesting but i wont be quoting it any time soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting and easy read, March 11, 2014
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Fast review:

Pros: Dan Ariely has a great stories to go with the studies his teams performed. The information was interesting to learn.

Cons: After about 150 pages I understood the premise and the book seemed to drag a bit towards the end.

Overall: A fun read and good information
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The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
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