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The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships Hardcover – August 3, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bob Walter adds his own pizzazz in his narration. With an approach that is arresting but not alarming, you can feel the drama as he delivers examples of lies that occur in personal, government, media, and business arenas. His vocal centeredness helps him engage with the book's exposé approach and make listeners pay attention without making them feel manipulated."―AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

A Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science, Robert Feldman's research has examined lying and everyday deception for over 25 years. His studies have been supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (August 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446534935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446534932
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Robert S. Feldman is Dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Feldman, who is winner of the College Distinguished Teacher award, has also taught courses at Mount Holyoke College, Wesleyan University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

As Dean, Feldman is responsible for developing, administering, and promoting the academic programs of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In this position, he is involved with supporting students, faculty, and staff of the college, as well as developing programs that benefit our faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.

Previously, Feldman was Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology, where he initiated the Research and Mentoring Program. Feldman regularly teaches introductory psychology to classes ranging in size from 20 to nearly 500 students. He also has served as a Hewlett Teaching Fellow and Senior Online Teaching Fellow, and he frequently gives talks on the use of technology in teaching. He initiated distance learning courses in psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Feldman also founded and continues to direct Power-Up for Succes, a first-year experience course for students.

A Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, Feldman received a B.A. with High Honors from Wesleyan University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is winner of a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer award and has written more than 100 books, book chapters, and scientific articles. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS).

His books, which have been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and other languages, include The Liar in Your Life, Understanding Psychology, Essentials of Understanding Psychology, Fundamentals of Nonverbal Behavior, Development of Nonverbal Behavior in Children, Social Psychology, Development Across the Life Span, and P.O.W.E.R. Learning: Strategies for Success in College and Life. His research interests include honesty and deception and impression management. His research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research.

Feldman's spare time is most often devoted to serious cooking and earnest, if not entirely expert, piano playing. He also loves to travel. He has three adult children and lives with his wife, also a psychologist, overlooking the Holyoke mountain range in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on October 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
"Deception forms a common part of ordinary social interactions.... If we didn't lie, we would be considered socially awkward, not to mention something of a jerk." -- from The Liar in Your Life

You're a liar. And you're lied to every day. Think you're not? Count the number of times someone answers "Fine" to your "How are you?" when they're obviously bothered by something. Even your "How are you?" is a lie, because how often do you really want to hear about an acquaintance's personal problems? And how many times have you said, "What a beautiful baby" when you really believe the child looks just like its ugly parents?

Why do we lie so much? Why are lies like, "That dress looks great on you" and "The dinner was delicious" considered vital for social interaction when, if we knew the person was lying to us, we would likely be disturbed -- and yet, according to the research of author Richard Feldman, just as likely to increase the number of our lies to that person?

In The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships (which is being marketed as self-help when it's really a wonderful psychological portrait of deception), Feldman shows that even trained lie detectors like police officers are statistically only as good as the average person at detecting a lie: accurate less than half the time (this is worse than random guessing). He also describes the liar's advantage and the truth bias, and offers tips on encouraging truth and how to find the balance between "radical honesty" and blatant deception.

Feldman shows how the legend about George Washington and the cherry tree is a made-up story that we ironically use to keep children honest. And there is a politeness / honesty paradox.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly R. Mason on September 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this book is very misleading. It does give insight as to why people lie, however it does not give any insight as to how to build honest relationships. I would not recommend this book to anyone that is looking for guidance on how to overcome a liar in a relationship.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rick Sheridan on October 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Lies are much more common than we realize, and deception is an unfortunate part of everyday life, according to Robert Feldman. From mistruths by Presidents Nixon and Clinton, to false diplomas by the dean of admissions of M.I.T., to the lies from our local used car dealer. Feldman believes that the issue is not whether people lie to us, but how much and why, along with why we often believe them. Finally, he explores why we view certain lies as harmless, while rejecting others as manipulative and shameful. From [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By YoyoMitch on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Finding a book of this sort caused me to feel a jolt of anticipation. "Finally," I thought, "a counterbalance to the deceit ever-present in our culture," and it was written by a "secular" author. There would be suggestions of how to: confront lies, identify when they occur, limit their effect and, perhaps, course a wave of truthfulness across the land. My expectations were frustrated.
Dr. Feldman uses these 260 pages to speak of his research into lying. What he gives is interesting but largely academic. Written in an easily read style, divided into chapters for easier access, the book is a useful resource for understanding that lying and deceit is a part of all relationships. While such behavior is despised, it is universal and, according to Dr. Feldman's research, possibly genetic. Repeatedly the author cites incidences of lying/deception in various (every?) situations - from romance to larceny, from infancy to decrepitude, from humankind to flora and fauna.
After reading this work, it would seem that everything and everyone makes a practice of lying with regularity and abandon. Through his research, Dr. Feldman discovered, consistently, that people average lying three times, per minute, in an introductory, ten-minute conversation. He is insistent that most of these deceptions are not of a sinister nature. Rather the intent is to cause the "liar" to be seen in a more positive light. He is also clear in stating that some liars do so with full knowledge and intent to defraud and cause harm.
As a therapist, I was hoping for a resource to help those with whom I sit to live a more honest life. Such a resource is notably missing from these pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Magpie on April 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was so impressed with how it connects with real life--it is true! It has helped me realize what I do and what others do and how life can be better being more truthful. Everyone needs to read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vernetta Stewart on July 28, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have a co-worker (psychiatrist) who lies all the time and how frustrating, given there are just two of us doing the work. It's proven to be a resource, too, in working with my patients, and interacting with friends. I didn't realize that lying is really a norm for most people. I've gained insight into my own behaviors, too. Thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Froehlich on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Mark Twain said that lying is a universal behavior that can and should be used for good purposes. Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church, the nation's first megachurch, teaches that lying is wrong and Christians should eliminate the practice. So which is it, a universal behavior that can be used positively, or a regrettable violation of ethics?

Professor Robert Feldman takes a scientific approach, presenting what the research tells us about human beings and deception. It's fair to say that the issue isn't as black and white as Pastor Hybels would have it. Some lies are obviously destructive, designed to rip people off or to otherwise harm them. But Feldman says the evidence backs up Twain, that lying is a widespread, common and often harmless occurrence, not an act confined to cheating spouses or hardened criminals.

When meeting someone new, most people lie at least three times in
a 10-minute conversation. A study of job interviewees found that four out of five lied during a 10-15 min. interview, with an average of 2.2 lies.

Why do people lie so regularly? One major reason is to build affinity.
When two people meet, they often look for what they have in common. Relationships are built by what people have in common and by agreement, not by disagreement and conflict. People build affinity by mirroring the other person's posture and by agreeing with him even if one doesn't really share the same enthusiasm. This process can involve exaggeration, emphasis and omission that presents a distorted picture of the truth.

Among the other reasons for lying are these:

* To express empathy, which is what the social situation calls for sometimes, even if we really don't think, say, the death of a pet is a big deal.
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