The Honest Truth About Dishonesty Book Review

927 words - 4 pages

One thing that we all (humans) have in common is that we lie and cheat. At some point of our lives, whether young or old we have been guilty of lying or cheating. The book The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely delves into the question of why we cheat. He explores this question through numerous experiments, real life examples, and personal encounters. This book has honestly been one of the most interesting books I have ever read. It kept me going from the beginning to end, captivating my attention through every page. The book is balanced between delightful learning and humor. Dan Ariely doesn’t fail in keeping you laughing while learning something new.

What I liked most about the book was that it not only entertained me, but also taught me some lessons and helped me learn things that I didn’t know about myself. One of the things that I learned was that we tend to cheat when we are tired (Ariely 97). As we go through our day complete with various stressors (especially me) and saying no, we are more prone to cheating than someone who isn’t as mentally strained. This helped me recognize that by the end of the day I am predisposed to cheating and lying more often. After using so much mental effort it just becomes easier to do the wrong thing. This reminded me of what we talked about in class about system 1 and system 2 thinking. We naturally used our system 1 thinking because it’s our default, but through the day we still use our system 2 thinking which uses a lot more mental effort. We are essentially miserly by this point. Because we use so much mental effort, we immediately go back into system 1 thinking which would make it easier to cheat. You can see this in one of Ariely’s experiments involving the Stroop Task (Ariely 109).

Another topic that Ariely covers that was enjoyable was that religious and moral reminders help people cheat less (Ariely 39). Through experiments he found that people who were told to recall something like the Ten Commandments regardless of their religion were less likely to cheat. However, when Ariely did experiments about moral reminders about honor codes, he found that there was no significant difference in the amount of cheating for those who had signed an honor code in a University who had previously had an honor code and another who did not (Ariely 42). In an article by Jennifer Dirmeyer and Alexander D. Cartwright they believe that the success with an honor system depends on the students. They say “It is far easier to maintain a culture of integrity than it is to build one” (Dirmeyer, Cartwright 2012). These things relate to...

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