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Lying (2011)

de Sam Harris

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5892632,592 (3.54)1 / 10
"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 [this book] ... Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie"--Dust jacket flap.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Lying by Sam Harris consists of a long essay on the topic of lying and two appendixes, one an interview with his former professor Ronald A. Howard and the other a series of questions from readers. It took reading the additional material for me to really appreciate the case Harris makes against lying – to understand even the tiny ones aren’t harmless and that there are better ways to deal with an awkward truth. ( )
  wandaly | Oct 6, 2021 |
Some interesting thoughts and arguments, but he shies away from the deepest ethical arguments and relies too heavily on a few assumptions not fully expressed: lying will always eventually be "caught", in any situation where lying seems justified there is a non-lying alternative that is better by nature of not having to lie, the energy required in lying makes it less desirable than truth-telling. While I feel many of his conclusions were accurate or at least thought-provoking, I was left generally unsatisfied with the arguments leading there. The most interesting portion of the book was a section on responses to reader's questions given at the end. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
I had two issues with this “book”.

First, I know [a:Sam Harris|16593|Sam Harris|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1274184541p2/16593.jpg] and his opinions on many topics quite well, having read some of his tweets, posts and articles over the years, and listened to so many hours of his own podcast, appearances in other podcasts, and interviews. Obviously, I have spent so much time on him because I like very much his style and his take on things. And because I generally like what he says and write, I unconsciously set the bar quite high whenever I pay attention to him on something new. This book is below his usual standard.

Second, this essay is better thought of as a long blog post, not as a very short book. I feel the distinction is relevant here. At least, it is to me. When I read a post I expect it to be somewhat incomplete, tentative, exploratory. I don't need lots of references and I don't need every point to be rigorously supported by evidence. On the other hand, when I commit to reading a non-fiction book, I expect its content to be much more robust, and I expect to be persuaded, to some extent. This essay looks more like the former.

Besides that, intuitively I like the main thesis: lying is bad, wrong, hurtful, most of the times. OK, I get it. The problem is, there are lots of situations, and subtle variations of the same situation, when lying is not only acceptable, but sometimes even the most ethical option. There are many examples among the comments other readers have left here on Goodreads, so I won't elaborate.

There are a few footnotes and references in the book. But nowhere near the breadth that one would expect to support Harris' thesis with enough robustness. Some of his injunctions seem a bit whimsical, visceral, poorly supported.

I'll stick with the topics and communication channels where Harris deliver the best of his insights. This book has not convinced me, thus the poor rating. ( )
  tripu.info | Jan 5, 2021 |
Really short book which up-front tells you "you already know you shouldn't lie, and why", but goes into some detail on why this all makes sense. There were a few really good insights:

1) when we lie to people, we respect them less, even if we successfully deceive them
2) cognitive overhead of maintaining lies

Harris makes the argument even white lies are bad, and that he wouldn't reassure a dying person that they'll be fine, but instead something factually accurate like "your doctors are very good". The more interesting case was saying he wouldn't lie to a murderer to protect a victim, or at least, would prefer to take some other action if available -- which at some level makes sense (particularly if the other action involves shot placement) -- because there may be unknowable consequences of the lie.

Overall, a decent read, and brief, but not a must-read book by any measure.

(audible audiobook) ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Simple, short but powerful. You don’t have to agree with Harris, but you have to think honestly about that topic. ( )
  jbrieu | Nov 6, 2020 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)

"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 [this book] ... Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie"--Dust jacket flap.

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Mitjana: (3.54)
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