Judi Ketteler’s Would I Lie to You? surveys society’s levels of dishonesty and deception, showing that even seemingly sincere people can drift into untruths. Featuring analyses of honesty and guidance from experts in psychological and social behavior, the text also includes Ketteler’s personal experiences and motivations for beginning an “honesty journal.”
Jolted by an extramarital emotional affair between herself and a colleague, along with the bitter political climate following the 2016 US presidential election, Ketteler decided to explore her relationship with honesty. Founded on this self-assessment, Would I Lie to You? examines gradations of deception, including lies involving deliberate duplicity or criminal behavior; lying about one’s accomplishments or abilities; lies of omission; and “prosocial” lies, which are often told to cushion the full impact of honesty or to spare a person’s feelings.
Incorporating social media into this honesty framework, Ketteler notes how interactive platforms like Facebook and Twitter keep people connected, but also encourage the spread of hoaxes, fake news, fake profiles, and exaggerations of personal happiness or popularity. Honesty in the workplace can be thwarted by office politics or pecking orders, she says, and without appropriate challenges, toxic cultures will never change. Meanwhile, ignored family or marital conflicts create dishonesties of avoidance that preserve the domestic status quo, but that may result in far more serious future consequences.
Though an honesty project is a daunting task, Ketteler founds hers on a Buddhist notion: “You heal the world when you heal yourself.” She stresses that, while the truth can indeed be freeing, it also needs to be managed with tact and compassion. Would I Lie to You? is full of focused analyses and helpful chapter summaries, paired with candor, humor, and wry guidance for developing positive, forthright relationships with ourselves and others.
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