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 lightâ€”pace the first cynicâ€”on our long relationship with deception.
The book opens with a cross-cultural survey of the importantâ€”and ambiguousâ€”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.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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.
"[A] fascinating survey of the lie in history from the Garden of Eden forward . . . thoroughly engaging."—The Washington Times
"A comprehensive study of deception. By analyzing biblical texts and Greek mythology, she shows how the cultural evaluation of deception changed with the spiritual and intellectual climate of the times. She tells of wartime intelligence missions, in which deceit is the fulcrum, to exemplify the strategic brilliance we employ to protect the truth and thus ourselves. Sullivan suggests that not only is lying an intrinsic mechanism of self-preservation but that it is also a creative force; tricksters become 'inventors of potential alternate realities . . . by talking about an event not the way it was but the way it might have been' . . . Anyone interested in the history and philosophy of human nature will appreciate this compelling and cleverly written volume."— Stephanie Maher, Booklist
"A true pleasure . . . rarely has [lying] been so well written about, or had more light shed on its true nature."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A brisk walking tour of the cultural implications of the power to deceive . . . elegantly presented."—Newsday
"Wide-ranging . . . sprightly . . . engagingly eclectic."—The Christian Science Monitor
"Casually charming . . . [Sullivan] make[s] us think harder and more intelligently about everything from what we read in the newspaper to why we cross our fingers and say how truly sorry we are that we'll be out of town on the night of that dinner party."—Francine Prose, Elle
"[Sullivan] is the perfect person to give us this spry cultural history . . . because [she] is a learned woman with an infectious, wide-ranging curiosity."—Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman
"An enjoyable meander through moral thickets."—The Wall Street Journal
"Sullivan smartly comes at deception from a variety of angles, all the better to pin down its shifting and devious qualities."—The San Francisco Chronicle
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Picador. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0312420471 Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # Z0312420471ZN
Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New. 100% Money Back Guarantee! Ships within 1 business day, includes tracking. Carefully packed. Serving satisfied customers since 1987. Bookseller Inventory # 109614
Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312420471
Book Description Saint Martin's Press Inc., 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. reprint edition. 334 pages. 8.25x5.50x1.25 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0312420471
Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312420471
Book Description Picador, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312420471
Book Description Picador. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0312420471 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1024423