The Concise Book of Lying

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Macmillan, 2002 - Philosophy - 334 pages
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One bright morning in the third century B.C. the philosopher Diogenes set out with a lantern in search of an honest man. His doomed gesture makes the point clear: in some way or another, we are all liars. In The Concise Book of Lying, professor Sullivan tackles this most pervasive of sins, using history and mythology, anecdote and analysis to shed light—pace the first cynic—on our long relationship with deception.

The book opens with a cross-cultural survey of the important—and ambiguous—role lying plays in a wealth of early texts and stories, from the Bible to myths about those most inventive liars, tricksters. A Burton of deception, Sullivan asks what motivates people to lie; what mechanisms are involved in creating an effective lie; and what the costs are once we've decided to commit one. Society, dependent on truth telling, has responded with countermeasures, from the medieval "ordeal" to the dubious lie detector test, but the fact is that millennia of practice have made us experts at deceit. Touching on philosophy, literature, history, and psychology, The Concise Book of Lying is an erudite tour of the twilit realm of trickery.
 

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THE CONCISE BOOK OF LYING

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Another treatment of one of humanity's oldest traits (also see Jeremy Campbell, above).Considering how common lying is, it's a wonder that there are not more popular accounts of it. Sullivan (Four of ... Read full review

The concise book of lying

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Why do people lie? What do people lie about? And what kinds of lies are considered unpardonable? These are some of the questions novelist and Stanford writing professor Sullivan (Games of the Blind ... Read full review

Contents

A Casebook
3
Deception at First Light
29
Why Liars Lie
55
How to Weave and Sell a Tangled Web
86
The High Cost of Lying
118
Liars Liars Liars
151
Deep Down I Knew
162
The APEX Truth Meter
189
Generals Greeks and Other Liars
229
The Briar Patch Revisited
254
Even Educated Flies Do It
273
Epilogue
293
Notes
295
Bibliography
313
Acknowledgments
321
Index
323

The Ordeal
211

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About the author (2002)

Evelin Sullivan teaches technical writing at Stanford University. She is the author of four novels, including The Dead Magician and The Correspondence. She lives in Redwood City, California, with her husband.

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