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The Truth About Lies

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Raden crafted an excellent book in The Truth About Lies. From the very beginning, I was riveted by her subtly wondrous presentation of the nature of deceit and how prevalent and second nature lying has become for practically all living creatures around the world. The author gives poignant case studies, examples and illustrations to carry her case: there are distinct things that can be known about the nature of a lie. I especially enjoyed the deconstruction of Joel Osteen's ministry as one based on a nontruth and why the lie of the prosperity gospel, for example, threatens to undermine true Christianity. A truly great book!
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The Truth About Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit is a book about why we’re taken in by falsehoods, framed in the context of nine frequently encountered confidence games and/or swindles.

Of course, we’ve all been here before. There are many fascinating and well-researched accounts of our cognitive biases and how easy we are to fool not in spite of our rational nature but because of it. The writer Maria Konnikova even wrote an entire book about con artists and scams; it was one of the best books of 2016.

But there is a difference to Aja Raden’s book: she interrogates the complex relationship between truth and lies to make the point that lies are foundational to our acceptance of truth.

It’s a scary thought, but The Truth About Lies makes a compelling argument of it. As Raden explains, “Why we lie and how we believe are so inextricably intertwined that there can be no faith without fraud, there can be no truth without lies, there can be no civilization without cons.”

In that sense, exploring the idea by showing how easy it is for us to get conned is a brilliant approach. Whether it’s a game of three-card Monty, or a pyramid scheme, or today’s proliferation of “fake news,” Raden shows how fraught our concept of truth really is. To some extent, it’s not because we’re so dumb we're ready to believe in anything; rather, it’s because we’re smart enough to understand that to get by in life we all have to believe in something.

“We all lie, all the time, and we all agree to name certain lies truth,” Raden writes. “And when we all believe a thing together, that thing takes on the weight of reality. Perhaps, in the end, truth is the oldest trick in the book.”

Perhaps, indeed.
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Fascinating and engagingly written. A highly recommended purchase for general nonfiction collections.
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The Truth about Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit
 by Aja Raden

Imagine you’re sitting in a bar nursing an afternoon cocktail and a person takes the stool next to you. It’s a lady with raven-colored hair and an enigmatic smile. She begins telling you in colorful, bar-type language about many of the ways people have been deceived, lied to, and otherwise led to believe in a variety of dodges and gimmicks that never end in their favor.

In The Truth about Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit by Aja Raden I felt exactly like that. I was entertained, educated and often amused by Raden’s story of lies and the myriad ways that unethical people have taken advantage of the unsuspecting, the greedy, or merely foolish victims. Raden describes the various ploys, including the simple shell game, Ponzi schemes, forgeries, and the “long con” that people fall prey to and have for centuries. What was most illuminating was that the reason many of the deceptions were so successful was that they took advantage of the human brain and its receptors operating just as they should.

Raden has assembled an impressive source list and then presented it in an off-hand, fun, but comprehensive way. The sad thing is that after reading it, like Diogenes, you’ll be left looking for an honest man. 

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for review.
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Ever got taken in by a hoax or a really good lie? If you're like most people, you tend to believe the things you hear. But why is that? Aja Raden takes an in-depth look at why we're built to believe the lies people tell us (no matter how insane they may sound). This book is non-fiction but it was so insanely captivating that I couldn't stop reading. I love the psychology behind why we act the way we do, and this was a great way to get educated without being bored even one bit. With fascinating examples ranging from the War of the Worlds hoax to Bernie Madoff, there's so much to learn here - and I certainly feel like my eyes have been opened about the lies I've tended to believe in the past. I'll definitely be recommending this read to everyone and will greatly anticipate whatever Raden writes next!
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Great. Googly. Moogly. What a book. 
We are all hardwired to lie. Who knew? And apparently, we are all hardwired to believe a lie [or of a certain perception], no matter what it might be [think the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast]. 

Filled with facts and told with often biting humor, the author tackles a difficult subject and breaks down just how all of this affects all of us. But don't take my word for it - go and read. And be in awe as I am of just how mind-blowing this subject is. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Aja Raden, and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Truth About Lies by Aja Raden is completely fascinating!!  I don't read very much non-fiction, but I plowed through this quickly. In some parts, it almost read like a novel (and sometimes like a comedy, lol). Highly recommend!
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A really interesting book about lying.The author discusses why we lie takes us through examples of hoaxes and scams found the book entertaining and informative.#netgalley #st.Martins books
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This was an interesting and informative read and I would rate it at 4 1/2 stars. According to the author learning to lie is an early developmental milestone that children have to reach on the road to normal development. She goes on to describe the lie and the many ways we lie either by voice or by actions . It starts out with a quote from one of the evilest people in history Adolf Hitler when he said "The great mass of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small lie". There are many forms of lying, they can be a verbal lie, an action like three card monty or the shell game that you find on big city street corners. Do you realize the actions of an illusionist is a form of a lie or really a deception and it is interesting to learn how our minds aid the illusionist. There what the author calls Guru cons people that maybe a Guru, Politician, or a televangelists just to name just a few. There is detailed section that explains how Rasputin was able to pull his con on the Russian family. Did you know it is easier to convince someone to believe a lie than it is to convince that person that they have been lied to once they've come to believe the lie. This even covers what maybe the biggest con of all the diamond industry and the engagement ring. After seeing many of things taking place today this book should give you some insight on why some individuals think the way they do and how they or we can be manipulated.
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The Truth About Lies was a great book! It brought about great points I would not have thought of otherwise. For what I would have considered a common sense book, I was pleasantly surprised throughout. Interested to see what else Raden will offer in the future!
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This is an incredibly readable nonfiction book that looks at the lies people tell and why we believe them. Raden discusses several stories that actually overlap with another book on lies that I read recently but comes at them differently. The stories themselves are interwoven with information about why it is so easy to believe them, even when we see proof of "the truth" right in front of our own eyes. And more startling, even when people come out and SAY that they've been lying, people will refuse to believe it.

Four Stars
This book comes out May 11th, 2021
ARC kindly provided by St. Martin's Press and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Aja Raden, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Everyone lies! Let’s get that out of the way before we get any further. Aja Raden sets out to explore the world of lies that seems to have woven its way into our moral fabric, offering the reader some insight in to why we lie, how it has become commonplace, and what lies have become supposed truths over the centuries. While she attempts to divide the types of lies into three categories, she is able to show that some lies have turned to accepted truths, though many are oblivious to the fact that will is constantly being pulled over their eyes. With straightforward writing and insightful research, Raden provides the reader with a great exploration of how truth and lies are interconnected on so many levels.

Raden uses the first part of the book to explore the world of lies and swindles that some have used to tell others. Her example of a man travelling from Europe to ‘settle’ a territory in the Americas, only to sell tracts to unwitting people shows that some people will believe something because it is so far-fetched that it must have a grain of reality. Raden hashes out how and why people believe these types of large-scale cons, explaining that the extravagance is too large to trick people, so it must be true. Yet, people fall for the cons each and every time because they are hard-wired to trust in others. Shell games, where someone is to guess the location of a pea under a shell, are also prime examples of putting trust in others. The expectation is that one of the shells will hold the sought after pea, while in reality, a sleight of hand means that none of the shells possesses the item in the long run. Trust and deception are intertwined here, providing the con artist the greatest advantage throughout.

The book continues by exploring the large-scale world of deception of the masses through lies, deception, and guilt. Raden uses some wonderful examples, the greatest of which is the promotion of medications of all sorts. The reader learns of the origins of ‘snake oil salesman’ and how the masses are duped into trusting that their ailments can be cured with one item of another. Scientific studies show the effect of placebos to the individual, debunking the need for the miracle cure if the personal inherently trusts that what they are putting in their mouths (or elsewhere) is the cure all. This can be extrapolated to the world of televangelism, where the only path os the one used by the speaker on the television, whose needs to ‘save’ are wrapped in a pricy donation. People fall for this because they cannot see past the wonders of salvation or healing, however dubious or backwards it may look on the outside.

Raden’s final section tackles the topic of lies on the grandest scale, the con, where it is society who is the targeted victim of falsehoods. Using platforms of media and mass information distribution, Raden shows how there are certain soapboxes that have been used to push an idea to the masses, all in the hopes of spreading a falsehood that is so vast that it seems real. While many readers may have lived through the time where #fakenews was a daily cry, Raden explores what it means and how it works, amongst other areas of societal duping. She also offers the reader insight into how to create a great con by insisting that lies can be used, brick by brick, to create a false truth that everyone seems to follow. Fascinating throughout and definitely perplexing when put in those terms.

I do enjoy a mix in my reading, usually to keep me on my toes and my brain sharpened to some of the non-fiction topics of the day. Aja Raden did a masterful job presenting this piece as being one that is not only relevant, but also highly intriguing. The psychology, sociology, and plain history that emerges from the pages of this book are not over simplified, but used effectively to keep the reader learning at every page turn. With a strong narrative, peppered with some saltiness to lighten the mood, Raden offers a wonderfully relatable piece that will keep the rewards enthused and laughing in equal measure. Lies have a way of pulling people in, wanting to see where they were duped and how others fell for something so simplistic (in hindsight). Raden does this perfectly and kept me wanting to know more. Quite the book, sure to pique the interest of many. My only much of it was true?!

Kudos, Madam Raden, for a great piece. You had me hooked from the opening pages and I learned more than I thought I could on one (vast) topic. I cannot wait to get my hands on your other book, which I hope is just as informative.
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A book about how liars use different tricks to fool our brains.

The beginning of this book was a lot of fun! The author's research into the subject was insightful, well written, and well structured. However, as the book went on, it because more disorganized and meandering. Still interesting, but overall the book didn't seem to back up its larger, society-level claims or come to a final conclusion other than "gosh we all lie a lot." Which, although true, felt a bit obvious. So a fun read on the subject, but it didn't quite live up to its potential, given the beginning.

I received an ARC copy of this book, though, so that may have been handled later.

Recommended if you're interested in points where psychology, history, and crime intersect.
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Thank you to Sara at St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book. 

The Truth About Lies seeks to explain why we, as humans, fall for lies, hoaxes, and the like. The author uses historical examples of successful lies from small (the shell game) to huge (the housing bubble) to illustrate our vulnerability. She attempts to break down our responses to lies in psychological and sociological terms. You may think this book sounds too serious, but the author maintains a snarky sense of humor throughout the book.  

The sense of humor used in the book WAS really funny. The use of footnotes to add humorous asides to stories really did amuse me. I’m just not sure I was able to take the author, or her subject, seriously. In addition, frequent use of “f***” as a verb, adverb, and adjective detracted from the credibility of the book. The inclusion of political perspective didn’t  help. 

An interesting topic and an easy, enjoyable writing style kept my interest. I was also surprised by several good points (such as the point about money). If you like social insight that isn’t dry and boring, you may want to give this book a look.
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Interesting look into why the author thinks we are all hardwired to lie. I'm always interested in grifters but she went into that and much more--- Big Lie, the Shell Game, and the Bait and Switch and the Long Con. A good companion piece to a lot of true crime and criminal memoirs that are out there.
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I felt some of this book was quite compelling and I liked how to the author divided the book and then broken down and went in depth with each. The author obviously cares about honesty and lies in the larger picture. However, I really did not learn anything new or mind blowing and there was not much of a bibliography. Seriously?! Like 70% of the book was your own original thoughts and observations? Plagiarism, anyone? Maybe that is part of "the lies."

Just ok for me and still recommended for other people into psychology and truth/lies.

Thanks to Netgalley, Aja Raden and St Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Available: 5/11/21
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Date reviewed/posted: March 11, 2021
Publication date: May 11th, 2021

When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave ( #thirdwave ?)is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Why do you believe what you believe?

You’ve been lied to. Probably a lot. We’re always stunned when we realize we’ve been deceived. We can’t believe we were fooled: What was I thinking? How could I have believed that?

We always wonder why we believed the lie. But have you ever wondered why you believe the truth? People tell you the truth all the time, and you believe them; and if, at some later point, you’re confronted with evidence that the story you believed was indeed true, you never wonder why you believed it in the first place. In this incisive and insightful taxonomy of lies and liars, New York Times bestselling author Aja Raden makes the surprising claim that maybe you should.

Buttressed by history, psychology, and science, The Truth About Lies is both an eye-opening primer on con-artistry—from pyramid schemes to shell games, forgery to hoaxes—and also a telescopic view of society through the mechanics of belief: why we lie, why we believe, and how, if at all, the acts differ. Through wild tales of cons and marks, Raden examines not only how lies actually work, but also why they work, from the evolutionary function of deception to what it reveals about our own.

In her previous book, Stoned, Raden asked, “What makes a thing valuable?” In The Truth About Lies, she asks “What makes a thing real?” With cutting wit and a deft touch, Raden untangles the relationship of truth to lie, belief to faith, and deception to propaganda.

The Truth About Lies will change everything you thought you knew about what you know, and whether you ever really know it.

This was a fascinating read, I am not going to lie  Having just finished binge-watching season 3 of "Damages" (love Glenn Close and Rose Byrne!) we know the power of lies from that season alone ... never trust anyone, at least on that show!  We get lied to all the time, and this book takes it to the nth level of understanding why we lie and why we are lied to.

This is not a casual read but I will recommend it to friends, family, patrons and book clubs as there are a zillion conversations that can be held as a result of reading this book, trust me.  (lol)

Take this book to the beach (or your back yard, porch or balcony) and enjoy it  - just wear a tonne of SPF110 as you will lose track of time as you read this. - If we are in the 3rd or 4th wave/mutation of COVID19 by then, stay inside: no tan is worth dying for.  

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube  Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️🏖️
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I found this book hard to follow. There is potential and the deeper meaning is there if you dig around a little but I felt like the flow of the book was disjointed and the examples didn't always serve to support the idea presented.
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The Truth About Lies by Aja Raden

Aja Raden’s book is well-timed, with election conspiracy theories still echoing across the country. As frustrated partisans glare at each other across the divide, Raden steps in to explain how people can believe such different truths and refuse to budge despite the facts compiled to move them. 

The truth is, Raden says, we can’t handle the truth. She combines history and behavioral science to delightful effect to show us that lying is simply part of the human condition. So is believing lies -- the bigger the lie, the better.  Raden travels through time to show the patterns repeating: how Rasputin conned a desperate tsarina in the early 20th Century and how Bernie Madoff built a better Ponzi scheme a hundred years later. No matter how much more sophisticated we get, the cons keep coming.
“Whether they’re the lies we tell each other or the subtler and more complicated lies we tell ourselves, deceit and belief are two halves of one whole,” Raden says. “Society cannot function without both.” 

Her study of  “the evolution of deceit” covers politics, religion, business and medicine. Jaw-dropping examples lay out the Big Lie, the Long Con and more ways to exploit our healthy default of believing what people tell us. Yes, there will be snake oil. The results can be funny -- Orson Welles’ Martian hoax, for example -- until they’re not. Readers likely will think of the deadly assault on the Capitol built on false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. This book is too new to get into that, but Raden does make a reference to President Trump and his one-time “guru” Steve Bannon to show how the rich and powerful can figure in. 

It’s serious stuff, but Raden’s humor makes even the bitterest pills palatable. Take Bitcoin, an example of a financial instrument as tempting as it is impossible to quantify. “Sure, you can use it to buy things, in certain venues,” she says, “though the same is true of live chickens.” 

In Raden’s sure hands, the madness of the mortgage meltdown becomes more understandable, and art masterpieces less so. The takeaway is: There are facts, there are lies and they are not opposites. A lie can become your truth. And beware, beware the conventional wisdom. 

In “The Truth About Lies,” Raden joins the ranks of gifted commentators such as Dan Ariely (“Predictably Irrational”),  Malcolm Gladwell (“Talking to Strangers”) and Shankar Vedantum (“Hidden Brain”), who help us make sense of our senseless behavior. She lays out lots to ponder here, promising her book a long shelf life. 
“When you fall for lies, as you have, as you will again, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid or there’s something wrong with you,” she reassures. “Quite the contrary, it means that everything is working exactly the way it’s designed to.”
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I was given a review copy by the publisher.
I will admit, I was hesitant to read this. After the last few years of being bombarded by "fake news" and social media propaganda, the constant daily list of lies from You-Know-Who, and the growing acceptance of the "post-truth society", I really didn't want to think about this topic. Can't we just try being honest with each other? 
Well, as it turns out, no. We're hard-wired, almost literally from birth, to deceive each other. The only questions are how much we're going to do it and whether we're going to get caught. (Short answers, more than we like to admit, and, eventually, yes, but it it may not matter.)
Raden delves into the different types of deceit, from the Big Lie, the Shell Game, and the Bait and Switch to the Long Con. She goes from small-scale grifters to massive civilization-wide cons such as the value of diamonds or the mortgage market, and even religion. She doesn't just tell stories, though, she addresses philosophical questions like what it takes for a lie to be accepted as fact, or why we refuse to accept it when we're told we've been lied to. (And although Raden mostly stays away from contemporary politics, the implications for how we're going to rebuild our world are horrifying.)
What really hooked me was the easy-going and conversational writing style. It was fun to read, and I read most of the book in one sitting. (Though if you're offended by f-bombs, you should probably stay clear of this - personally, I like them, because they made the writing feel authentic.) It was a great mixture of stories, psychology and philosophy, combining humor and shock with fascinating information. 
If you enjoy shows like Hustle or Lupin, you'll enjoy this book.
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