Book review on “Lying”
Hey, all. So a couple weeks ago I read a really short, but really formative book called “Lying” by Sam Harris. If you have three or four hours to dedicate to reading this year, I would recommend dedicating them to reading it (40-50 pages).
Even though it’s short, it’s amazing how much of an impact it can have if you actually take the thesis to heart. Sam’s argument is incredibly convincing, and his point of view on lying is uncompromising. He reveals that even in the instances where it seems to be most obvious that lying is the right thing to do, it’s still the wrong option. And its not just the people that you lie to that have to deal with the consequences; most of the burden of being less than perfectly honest is carried by you, whether you know it or not.
Sam’s focus is mostly on what people call “white-lies”, the types of lies that even the people with the best intentions tell, thinking they are doing the right thing. His argument is challenging and engaging throughout the book, because he constantly brings up situations that seem to call for a lie, and then proceeds to go in depth into how lying can make things worse.
Until I read “Lying”, I didn’t really recognize how many opportunities I missed when it came to being completely honest with people about my beliefs and attitudes. I accepted my level of truthfulness as ethical enough and functional enough to get me by, while unknowingly cutting myself off from the possibility of having interactions that were more deeply personal and meaningful.
There’s something liberating about committing yourself to simply being truthful, no matter what. It implies a certain acceptance of the way you are, and the way things are, in any given moment, and when I can remember to do it, it makes a big difference in my life.
Plus, Sam gives poker players a pass from lying in the 6-minute audiobook excerpt, so its all good.
It’s here: http://www.samharris.org/lying if you want to buy it, or if you think you want to read it but aren’t sure you would buy it let me know and I’ll just send you the PDF in an email (he gave permission to share after buying a copy when it was first released)