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Born Liars

Written by Ian Leslie

  • 400 Pages
  • 9781770890282
  • PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
  • PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture



Publication Date May 21, 2011

Lying is an intrinsic part of our social fabric, but it is also a deeply problematic and misunderstood aspect of what makes us human. Ian Leslie takes us on a fascinating journey that makes us question not only our own relationship to the truth, but also virtually every daily encounter we have. On the way he dissects the history of the lie detector, how parents affect their children’s attitude to lying (and vice versa), Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the philosophical ambiguity of telling the truth, Bill Clinton’s presentational prowess, Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth, and why we should be wary of anyone with more than 150 Facebook friends.

Born Liars is thought-provoking, anecdotally driven narrative nonfiction at its best. Ian Leslie’s intoxicating blend of anthropology, biology, cultural history, philosophy, and popular psychology belies a serious central message: that humans have evolved and thrived in large part because of their ability to deceive.

Selected for the Globe and Mail Top 100 Book 2011


Ian Leslie
Ian Leslie is the critically acclaimed author of Born Liars: Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit, which was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. He has written about politics, culture, marketing, and psychology for the Guardian, The Times, Prospect, and the BBC. He lives in London, England.


"Born Liars is in quite a different league [than other pop psychology books]. It’s erudite yet wears its learning lightly and is full of terrific stories. It will also make you see yourself, and the world around you, in a new light." Born Liars

"Ian Leslie uncovers the truth of the matter: Lying of all kinds is woven into our makeup . . . by tying lying into culture, Leslie gets near the core of what it means to be human." Chatelaine

". . . fascinating . . . of interest to everyone . . ." Independent

". . . persuasive and wide-ranging . . . [Ian] Leslie brings intelligence and a wealth of thought-provoking research to his topic." Globe and Mail

". . . stuffed full of interesting studies and good writing . . . a fun read . . ." Wired

"[Born Liars does] a grand job of challenging misguided human conceit about our honesty and its benefits ... convincing ..." Kitchener Waterloo Record