The Honest Truth about Dishonesty Dan Ariely

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TheHonest Truth about Dishonesty: Dan Ariely

Inthe essay we are going to analyze the book, TheHonest Truth about Dishonesty: How we lie to everyone especiallyourselvesby Dan Ariel. The essay will summarize the main points in Ariely’schapters, provide insight and relate them to our everyday life,

Thewriter first begins by explaining about the time in which he gotinterested in cheating. This habit began when he met Enron where theywere to spend the week at some technology-related conference (Ariely,2014).The writer talks about how Enron was involved in an accounting schemewith other members. This made the writer have a perception that thereis corruption at work which is an element of dishonesty. Theseinstances where Enron was involved in such schemes made the writerdevelop more interest about cheating and dishonesty.

Dishonestyis a widespread problem. Dishonesty can be related to bad apples.Since bad apples can be removed to remedy a situation, thendishonesty can be dealt with according. In the company, it was theduty of the Human Resource department to do some screening so as toidentify the cheaters within the organization. The book talks abouthow to get people to cheat less. First and foremost, is remindingthem of their morality at places of work. This will involve creatinga moral code. This was done by a professor at Middle Tennessee wherehe found out that his MBA’s students were constantly cheating(Ariely,2014).He decided to come up with a more drastic honor code that wasinspired by the Ten Commandments. The act became a very effectivebeing that the students were seriously outraged. The other approachis using religious reminders to discourage cases of dishonesty in aworking environment or any other environment. Additionally, what maycause dishonesty is being blinded by our own motivation. This is ascenario where an individual may owe the other person a favor. Thiswill end up causing a conflict of interest.

Thequestion has always been why do people cheat? What makes them cheat?In this article, I will be giving a detailed summary of theapproaches that Dan Ariel has given out. The article also givesexamples on how to deal with cheating and dishonesty. Additionally,the book also explains to us what causes dishonesty and cheatingwithin our environment. In chapter 2, the writer introduces us to astory that makes us learn more about our morals when it comes towanting something. Cheating and dishonesty can be reduced by the useof moral honor code and creating a religious symbol. In this chapter,we are introduced to a professor, who after realizing that his MBA’sstudents were involved in exam irregularities (Ariely,2014).The professor went ahead and used the Ten Commandments used duringthe exams. The students were made to pledge that in any case ofparticipating in cheating, there would be consequences involved. Thestudents were very outrageous. This was a clear sign that the systembeing put in place was really working. The other approach to reduceinstances where people cheat more is by using religious symbols. Butthis won’t be very effective since people will be ignoring suchsigns. On the contrary, religious symbols will be a reminder of theirmoral codes when an individual want to either cheat or be dishonestin carrying out some activities. Under this, it is important to notethat, a person’s dishonesty is driven by the fudge factor, not bytheir SMORC. The fudge factor brings out the concept of rationalizingour actions when one wants to come out of a crime. Additionally, whenour desire to satisfy our selfish desires increases, then the fudgefactor also increases. This supports that there are more honesty anddishonesty actions than rational calculations. The other cause ofdishonesty is being blinded by our own motivations. This could beexplained by the fact that humans have the idea of returning favors.This occurs when someone helped you to attain a given cause. Thiscreates a platform where you owe the person a good treat in return.With this, a lot of conflict of interest. With favors, people becomemore obligated to others. The field of medicine and academics aremore common with conflicts of interests. In a research carried out byDan, he came to realize a phenomenon where there was a conflict ofinterest. This was a scenario where a drunk man was at the datapoint. When he was carrying out his data on decision making, heignored the details that he got from the drunk man (Ariely,2014).This made the results look perfect but he was guilty. So he decidedto cross-check the results and look at the other side of the data.Therefore, it is within our data across all fields to reduce thechance of a conflict of interest. This will reduce cases wheresomeone has to lie in order to fulfill his obligation to anotherindividual.

Thereare instances where wearing fakes make us cheat a lot. In a researchexperiment, women were assigned to three conditions of fashion(Ariely,2014).They include authentic, fake or no information. There wereconditions in each case. The results showed that the women who werewearing the fake product had many cases of dishonesty and tellinglies. The writer concludes by saying that, “ifyou, your friend or someone you are dating wears counterfeitproducts, there are acts of dishonesty that are closer to them thanyou expect.”The experiments also showed that wearing counterfeit products makesus behave in a dishonest manner. This raised the question that, iswearing counterfeit products makes one develop dishonesty? When itcomes to cheating ourselves, it always comes from the exaggeratedstories. Additionally, there are cases where people are given moneyto judge their performance, it often leads to cheating.Self-deception comes from overconfidence and optimism. Constantly,people deceive themselves to preserve and safeguard their self-image.Therefore, self-deception is dangerous to ourselves since it willcrush us to the least of our existences. This will lead to deprivingus of our own happiness in the name of trying to create a good imageat the expense of lying to yourself. This should create a platformwhere people assess themselves. This will lead to more understandingof who they are and how they should take care of their self-image.

Inconclusion, cheating and dishonesty is a part of our society.Eliminating cases of cheating and dishonesty is very difficult. Frommy point of view, the culture of honesty should start with thefamily. This is the best environment to educate and create sense inthe young and growing children. This will include, teaching them onthe impacts of cheating and dishonesty.


Ariely,D. (2014). Thehonest truth about dishonesty.London: HarperCollins publishers.