Identifies how the human willingness to lie is behind most acts of betrayal, fraud, and corruption, arguing that radical societal improvements can be enabled by merely telling the truth where others often lie.
Introduction What is A Lie? The Mirror of Honesty Two Types of Lies White Lies Trust Faint Praise Secrets Lies in Extremis Mental Accounting Integrity Big Lies Conclusion Appendix 1: An Interview with Ron A. Howard Appendix 2: Ten Questions from Readers Acknowledgements Notes
As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption--even murder and genocide--generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie. In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on "white" lies--those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort--for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.