The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-06-05
  • Publisher: Harpercollins
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Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and the New York Times bestselling author of The Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational, examines the contradictory forces that drive us to cheat and keep us honest, in this groundbreaking look at the way we behave: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. From ticket-fixing in our police departments to test-score scandals in our schools, from our elected leaders' extra-marital affairs to the Ponzi schemes undermining our economy, cheating and dishonesty are ubiquitous parts of our national news cycle-and inescapable parts of the human condition. Drawing on original experiments and research, in the vein of Freakonomics, The Tipping Point, and Survival of the Sickest, Ariely reveals-honestly-what motivates these irrational, but entirely human, behaviors.

Table of Contents

Introduction Why Is Dishonesty So Interesting?
From Enron to our own misbehaviors
A fascination with cheating
Becker's parking problem and the birth of rational crime
Elderly volunteers and petty thieves
"Why behavioral economics and dishonesty?p. 1
Testing the Simple Model of Rational Crime (SMORC)
Get rich cheating
Tempting people to cheat, the measure of dishonesty
What we know versus what we think we know about dishonesty
Cheating when we can't get caught
Market vendors, cab drivers, and cheating the blind
Fishing and tall tales
Striking a balance between truth and cheatingp. 11
Fun with the Fudge Factor
Why some things are easier to steal than others
How companies pave the way for dishonesty
Token dishonesty
How pledges, commandments, honor codes, and paying with cash can support honesty
But lock your doors just the same
And a bit about religion, the IRS, and insurance companiesp. 31
Man versus himself
A four-inch lie
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to take the mulligan
Schrödinger's scorecard.p. 55
Blinded by Our Own Motivations
Craze lines, tattoos, and how conflicts of interest distort our perception
How favors affect our choices
Why full disclosure and other policies aren't fully effective
Imagining less conflicted compensation
Disclosure and regulation are the answers-or not.p. 67
Why We Blow It When We're Tired
Why we don't binge in the morning
Willpower: another limited resource
Judgment on an empty stomach
How flexing our cognitive and moral muscles can make us more dishonest
Self-depletion and a rational theory of temptationp. 97
Why Wearing Fakes Makes Us Cheat More
The secret language of shoes
From ermine to Armani and the importance of signaling
Do knockoffs knock down our standards of honesty?
Can gateway fibs lead to monster lies?
When "what the hell" wreaks havoc
There's no such thing as one little white lie
Halting the downward spiralp. 117
Cheating Ourselves
Claws and peacock tails
When answer keys tell us what we already knew
Overly optimistic IQ scores
The Center for Advanced Hindsight
Being Kubrick
War heroes and sports heroes who let us down
Helping ourselves to a better self-imagep. 141
Creativity and Dishonesty: We Are All Storytellers
The tales we tell ourselves and how we create stories we can believe
Why creative people are better liars
Redrawing the lines until we see what we want
When irritation spurs us onward
How thinking creatively can get us into troublep. 163
Cheating as an Infection: How We Catch the Dishonesty Germ
Catching the cheating bug
One bad apple really does spoil the barrel (unless that apple goes to the University of Pittsburgh)
How ambiguous rules + group dynamics = cultures of cheating
A possible road to ethical healthp. 191
Collaborative Cheating: Why Two Heads Aren't Necessarily Better than One
Lessons from an ambiguous boss
All eyes are on you: observation and cheating
Working together to cheat more?
Or keeping one another in line
Cheating charitably
Building trust and taking liberties
Playing well with othersp. 217
A Semioptimistic Ending: People Don't Cheat Enough!
Cheer up! Why we should not be too depressed by this book
True crime
Cultural differences in dishonesty
Politicians or bankers, who cheats more?
How can we improve our moral health?p. 237
Thanksp. 255
List of Collaboratorsp. 257
Notesp. 265
Bibliography and Additional Readingsp. 267
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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