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The New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely has a new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. As a fan of his previous books Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality, I was excited to delve into his new area of research. That new area of research is all about dishonesty, and I guarantee you that it will open your eyes.
It’s easy in today’s society to point to others who are unethical or liars. Watch the news and you can’t miss the new corporate scandal or some form of corruption in government.
Dan’s research shows why we may think it’s okay to lie or cheat. It shows how one lie can build into another, and affect others around us. It shows that none of us can claim perfect honesty. The research then shows what we can do to improve honesty for ourselves and our culture.
About Dan Ariely
Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He holds two PhDs, one in business administration and the other in cognitive psychology. His work has been featured in numerous publications from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal. He has also been a keynote speaker for TEDTalks.
What sparked your interest in dishonesty?
I first became interested in dishonesty after Enron. And the basic question that I asked myself at that point was, what’s a better description of the Enron catastrophe—is it that there are a few bad apples who plan and execute and create some terrible, economic devastation, or is it better described by lots of wishful blindness that is created by lots of sort-of good people.
And the reason I thought this is an important question is because dealing with these two very different types of dishonesty is very, very different. If you think that dishonesty is mostly created by bad apples, then you basically want to change hiring procedures and make sure you won’t hire bad apples.
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Many years ago, I heard Zig Ziglar recommend turning your car into a “rolling university.” He explained that you could listen to motivational seminars, hear great speakers, learn a language, brush up on some sales skills. Really anything you wanted to learn could be one cassette tape away.
I listened to Zig’s advice. (I even have boxes of old cassette tapes in the basement.) Technology has changed, but his advice remains as powerful today as it was then.
My personal habit varies between seminars, news programs, and music. I like to listen to the news, but if that’s all I do, I often arrive at my destination mentally stressed. Seminars and speeches give me additional insights and ideas. If you like audiobooks, what a great opportunity to “read” more books.
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When I was much younger, I was what you would call an extreme extrovert. Myers Briggs showed my “E” was almost as high as you could go. If I went into a small restaurant, I almost felt uncomfortable unless I introduced myself to everyone else in the room. I wanted to know everyone. All of my energy came from other people—listening to their stories, learning what made them who they were.
I married someone who was the complete opposite. My wife was an introvert. We would go to a social event, and I would come home exhilarated while she would be exhausted. It’s not that she didn’t love people. It was just that she tired out around too many people. She needed alone time. She preferred one-on-one versus huge gatherings.
I’ve heard many successful relationships are built on differing qualities. “Opposites attract” is the old saying. If that’s true, the couples I’ve studied who have been together for many years generally start to inherit qualities from each other.
In the United States, this is Memorial Day weekend. We remember those who have served our nation who have paid the highest sacrifice. We thank all of the veterans who have given of themselves to serve the country.
It’s also a time to reflect on our country. Though we have challenges, we are still a blessed nation.
Local artist Beau Davidson is releasing his powerful new video “Blessed” this weekend. When he shared it with me, I was so moved that I just had to share it with you. Please take a few minutes this weekend and watch it and share it with others.
After watching the video, I had the following Q&A session with Beau.
Tell us about this video. What inspired it?
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“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert
Today I’m announcing personal news. I am stepping down from my role as CEO of Ingram Content Group and turning over the leadership reins to John Ingram.
Five years ago, I joined Ingram in large part because I was excited about the possibilities ahead for the company. Excited to work with John Ingram, I signed up to accomplish certain goals, and those goals have all been met one by one.