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Anatomy of a Lie: The Truth About Lies and Why Good People Tell Them Hardcover – October 1, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Everyone who struggles with the complexities of truth-telling should read what Diane Komp has to say on the subject." -- Richard Mouw, author of "Uncommon Decency"

"My consicence may never recover from Komp's boldness in shining the spotlight of truth on the half-lies, deceptions..." -- Philip Yancey, author of "What's So Amazing About Grace?"

"With a physician's skillful precision ... Komp probes the deep abscess of falsehood that signals a pervasive affliction of our culture..." -- Luci Show, author of "Water My Soul"

Truth is one of the pillars of faith. Yet when it comes to practical living, most of us probably would admit we’re not always that truthful. Sometimes “fudging the truth” seems like the wisest—even the most loving—thing we can do.

But since at heart we love truth, even our whitest lies prick like a burr in our conscience. So why do we lie? More important, how can we break free from our lies, big and small, to become men and women of truth?

Anatomy of a Lie offers a close-up look at lying, the moral epidemic that affects our faith, our marriages, our children, our relationships, our careers, and every aspect of our lives. With surgical precision, Yale Medical School physician and best-selling author Diane Komp probes the human soul to uncover the causes of our lies—and the cure.

This forthright, deeply human book is rich in true-life examples, including those from the author’s own life. With candor, Komp shares her personal struggles to grow as a truth-teller. And she introduces us to some remarkable individuals:

The Civil War POW who wrote the book, A Lie Never Justifiable

The college senior who believes he has kept his commitment

made back in junior high to never tell a lie

Corrie ten Boom, who told her first lie at age forty-five

Her sister, Nollie ten Boom, who never lied at all . . . and others who embody our own triumphs and failures as lovers of truth.

Above all, both by insight and example, Komp unfolds a challenging, biblical path toward greater truthfulness in our own lives. She asks pointed, even uncomfortable, questions that force our own matters of integrity out of hiding and into the open. And she provides a grace-filled “anatomy lesson” that helps us break our patterns of untruthfulness and fulfill the Bible’s command to “tell the truth in love.” -- NRSV

From the Publisher

Acclaimed author and pediatrician Diane Komp offers a candid and grace-filled path toward truth-telling for Christians honest enough to be disturbed by how easy it is to lie.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan Pub. House (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310219531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310219538
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I expected this book to take a cold, brutal look at lies, the different kinds, and why we tell them. However the book no where near met my expectation. But the odd part was, it was still excellent.
In each chapter, the author presents a quote, then a Biblical quote, and then a story where someone lied, and gently exposes why they might have lied and the outcomes. Almost like mini-sermons. Then at the end of the chapter there are some questions for self reflection.
Repeated encounters with different kinds of lies, different reasons, and different outcomes you start to strongly rethink your own attitude towards lying. I can definately see why this book has been so well received.
While there exists Christian references and overtones, the non-Christian will get a few mind-bending surprises about their own views of situational ethics. Things really are more black and white then they are grey.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a risky read - even for those who engage conscientiously with the tensions of truth seeking and telling... but especially those who believe they are consistently honest with themselves. Without becoming "preachy", and with more kindness than criticism (except of herself, through which we get self-revelatory shocks), the author couples intellect and soul and gently compels the reader to examine the numerous sub-species of lies and "managed" truths that reside often unrecognized beneath each persona: the lies of convenience, even of "necessity", the casual misleading, the merciful lie, the harmless lie, the repetition of gossip as lying, and much more.
This little book is both timely and timeless. It is required reading for all politicans, journalist, lawyers (which I am), many of the clergy, and all who are sometimes among the "factually disadvataged" (euphemism, Dr. Komp would say, is but another specie of lie). And that is all of us, for we must all struggle with that human failing from which NONE are exempt. If I have any criticism of the book it must be leveled, not at the author, but at the editors whom I suspect of over-redacting the voluminous material Dr. Komp doubtless assembled, given her meathod of research for this project. Therefore, we shall hope for a sequel.
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Format: Hardcover
To tell us the truth, Dr. Diane Komp searches her soul to find out why she does not. At least not always. Her most recent book, "Anatomy of a Lie," could not have come to print at a better time.
To tell you the truth, I felt compelled to read it--not just because of its pertinence to the daily news. There was a reason closer to home. I wanted to glean something from it to share with my son. I had just caught him in a bald-faced lie to his teacher.
I wish I could say that was my principal use for the book: to impress upon him the danger of lying and the value of truth-telling. (Have you ever noticed how kids will believe the doctor when they won't give their parents the time of day?) But I can't say that. After I finished it (in one evening--no lie) I realized the greatest benefit from reading it was not to nurture or nag my son with the danger of lies; but rather to digest its truth for myself.
Lying is not a bug caught by the youngest, the least experienced, the worst or the most evil around us. It is as pervasive and common as the cold. And I found that I had been sneezing myself lately.
People ask themselves if it is not better to lie or at least "stretch the truth" in order to protect those they care most about. In fact, I recently read a newspaper article entitled, "The Truth About Lies" that extolled the virtues of lying, especially when it means helping your friends.
While the Dr. Komp does ask that question, you will not get a pat on the back from her for your white lies. But neither will you get a slap on the wrist.
Her approach is not the least bit moralistic or preachy, accusatory or judgmental. Perhaps that is the very reason the reader has permission to examine his or her own life.
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Format: Hardcover
Lying is much in the news today.But Dr. Diane M. Komp's book "(Anatomy of a Lie)":the truth about lies and why good people tell them, is not a hurry up, get on the band-wagon book. Instead it is a carefully researched and well written treatise on a sin that touches all of us. Komp spent a year writing this book and in it she tells how we --the average "good" people in society sometimes use prevarication as a way of life. Dr. Komp covers such things as "little white lies, fudging the truth and lies of necessity", all the things we as Christians abhor but have used as oil to grease the gears of society's intercourse. I started reading this book with an inflated sense of my own worthiness. (After all, I am a Christian and a TRUTH TELLER). Before I was half way through it I told a lie. Not a major one...just a little, white greasy one. The realization with which it came tripping off my tongue appalled me. This isn't a feel good, fuzzy book. "Anatomy" dissects our lies, examines them but best of all tells us how to eliminate them. It tends to get under our skin and itch yet Komp manages with warmth and humor to make us want to be better people. She does it with definition, inspection and questions at the end of each chapter for us to answer with honesty. "Anatomy" would be a terrific study for any book club or discussion group. It is easily read but not easily dismissed.
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