Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Dan Ariely, author of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, discusses the multitude of situations in which people are the most likely to cheat or be dishonest in their dealings with other people. He explains that being dishonest occurs at every relationship level, in every business organization or industry and in every aspect of human life. According to the studies, people are more likely to lie or cheat others when they are emotionally exhausted or when the person can gain the most benefit personally from perpetuating the deception on others.

The book is an interesting amalgamation on why we are dishonest: from why we buy knock off watches to why people who are overpaid don’t return the money to the rightful owner – and the person’s internal reasoning for their dishonest actions. Apparently, social scientists have done tons of research on this topic, and Ariely is able to back up his interpretations of the social reasons for dishonesty and cheating with quantitative and qualitative empirical data every time. Plainly said, he can prove the validity and accuracy of his statements regarding cheating – and for this reason the book is a definite “How To” guide for dealing with others on a daily basis.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. There are plenty of examples of dishonest, cheating or revenge-based experiments, incidents and scenarios observed from research taken from around the world. Ariely does a very good job at making the findings understood in only as many scientific words as it takes to be clear – no, this does not read like a scientific dissertation (for those who are wondering).

I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in why we lie to ourselves and to others. Reading this book will make us all more aware of why we are dishonest ourselves, and will raise awareness as to why we tolerate this type of behavior in ourselves but look to punish others who exhibit the same behaviors towards us.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.