In The Liar in Your Life, psychology professor Robert Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception, draws on his immense body of knowledge to give fresh insights into how and why we lie, how our culture has become increasingly tolerant of deception, the cost it exacts on us, and what to do about it. His work is at once surprising and sobering, full of corrections for common myths and explanations of pervasive oversimplifications.
Feldman examines marital infidelity, little white lies, career-driven resum� lies, and how we teach children to lie. Along the way, he reveals-despite our beliefs to the contrary- how it is nearly impossible to spot a liar (studies have shown no relationship between nervousness, lack of eye contact, or a trembling voice, and acts of deception). He also provides startling evidence of just how integral lying is to our culture; indeed, his research shows that two people, meeting for the first time, will lie to each other an average of three times in the first ten minutes of a conversation.
Feldman uses this discussion of deception to explore ways we can cope with infidelity, betrayal, and mistrust, in our friends and family. He also describes the lies we tell ourselves: Sometimes, the liar in your life is the person you see in the mirror. With incisive clarity and wry wit, Feldman has written a truthful book for anyone who whose life has been touched by deception.
Feldman (psychology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; Understanding Psychology) reviews studies of lying that he and others have conducted, demonstrating that deception is deeply ingrained in social interaction. Writing for the lay reader and using examples from recent news, he explores, e.g., how learning to deceive is part of a child's socialization, with implications for cognitive and social development. He also shows that lying is essential for self-preservation yet often leads to self-deception. Frequently restating previous findings, Feldman traces the evolution of lying and its consequences for personal and workplace relationships. Trying to be objective and dispassionate, he does not offer formulas or exercises for becoming more honest. Feldman admits that it would be difficult to live in a society where the truth was always told. His final advice is to compromise: accept that lying is universal, become comfortable with uncertainty, and verify information before making conclusions; be aware of your tendency to lie and commit to be more honest. Recommended for self-help fans.-Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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August 01, 2009
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