Most of us think we are about 15 per cent cleverer, nicer, more attractive and better drivers than others think we are. It seems deception begins at home. After all the most convincing liars convince themselves first. Sellers and buyers, parents and children, friends and lovers must conceal from each other the unutterable truth that they don't believe or want the same things. In this book, Ziyad Marar throws a revealing light on the many ways deception is woven into the texture of human life: our wiring leaves us easily suckered by persuasive illusions, while our contradictory desires (for sex and honesty, money and kindness, for cake and losing weight) force us to cook up self-serving stories. We manage flattering impressions with effortless skill, while pretending our sins and self-indulgences are beyond our control.Drawing on insights from philosophy, psychology and literature, Marar explores the implications for living well in the shadow of Kant's humbling thought that "out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made".
Introduction 1. Homo credens: the believer 2. Deceiving ourselves: you can't always know what you want 3. Deceiving each other: the techniques of sincerity 4. "It's beyond my control": and other moral masquerades 5. To thine own self be true?