New York Times bestseller, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely, mentions how each and every one of us lies about something, especially to ourselves on a daily basis. Some of us may think we're honest people and we "would never lie", but in reality, every person lies whether we're aware of it at the time or not. Ariely points out in this book that when we lie, we think of reasons to make it seem acceptable in our minds and what we look at as "social morality". He explains why we lie and cheat ourselves and others, and how it can have an impact on things later on in life. Ariely gives examples of how out behavior effects us not only in our personal lives, but in the business world as well. He shares his own experiences along with experiments himself and others have done to help understand this dishonest behavior each of us have. Ariely explains how dishonesty works and when we are more likely to be dishonest in certain situations. Being able understand where our dishonest behavior comes from helps us better ourselves.
My favorite part of the book was chapter 1 because it sucked me into the book. It made me want to read more about what causes our dishonest behavior. Ariely has a guest speaker come into his classroom and discuss how cheating can make you rich. The guest speaker explains to the students that you can cheat your way and get rich without anyone ever finding out that you did it. This introduction gives a good hook because it had me pulled in like I was apart of the experiment and not just someone reading about different stories. By engaging the reader into your own work helps them better understand where your coming from and I thought it was neat how he did that. This book makes you think about being in their shoes and what you would do if you were given the chance.
Have you ever cheated on a test and thought it was okay to do it because you saw someone else cheating? Or feel bad that your cheating so you just stop? I know I'm guilty of them both. Sometimes we cheat and sometimes we don't, and it all comes down to how we end up looking at ourselves. Ariely states "Results suggests that cheating is not driven by concerns about standing out. Rather, it shows that our sense of our own morality is connected to the amount of cheating we feel comfortable with. Essentially, we cheat up to the level that allows us to retain our self-image as reasonably honest individuals" (Ariely, 22-23).
After reading the lecture slides on willpower and self-control, this is what crossed my mind. Cheating is a choice, but sometimes we don't do it because it may impact of later on in life. I related this to - willpower and self-control because cheating can give you the sense of accomplishment and reward, but deep down are you really that proud of yourself? Deciding when its okay or not okay to be dishonest is sometimes being able to have the power to control this feeling. To have the willpower and self-control to not be dishonest and work at things on your own.
I found a youtube video on Dan Ariely and it really gives good background information on why we do the things we do. Dan Ariely has an incredible background story on why/how/when he thought of this concept "the honest truth about dishonesty" but in this video he really makes you think about the big picture and how everyone is dishonest. We know things are wrong and not a good idea, but yet we still do them anyway. A good example of this is when he brings up the talk about cell phones while driving. This video has humor in it, but it helped me better understand the points made throughout the book. Hope you enjoy it!
Ariely, Dan. The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. New York: 2012. Print.