"This book is an exemplar of interdisciplinary research-drawing on evolutionary biology, cognitive science, philosophy, and history of science."—Ronald F. White, Ph.D., Choice"Written with snap, panache, and the sort of insights that stop you in your tracks."—Howard Bloom, author of Global Brain and The Lucifer Principle "Self-deception is one of the most powerful ideas in psychology, indeed, in human affairs, and David Smith's Why We Lie is an excellent synthesis of this crucial topic. The biology is up-to-date and accurate, the psychological implications are clearly worked out, and the writing is inviting and accessible."—Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and The Language Instinct"David Smith has pulled off a beaut. Why We Lie is a wonderfully blended cluster of arguments to support the painful truth that we are a species whose skills at deceiving others is matched only by our ability to deceive ourselves."—Arthur S. Reber, author of The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology "A leap beyond mainstream science proposes how the unconscious mind could drive our everyday mastery of the art of deceit, both of others and ourselves . . . Deliciously tantalizing, with morality as the Grandest Deceit of them all."—Kirkus Reviews"The brain, especially the unconscious mind, is the ultimate challenge for scientists and philosophers. Following the lead of Antonio Damasio and Diane Ackerman, Smith focuses on a particularly baffling trait, our proclivity for deception, not only our habit of lying to others but also, and far more mysteriously, the way we deceive ourselves. To show that lying is as natural as breathing, Smith presents a lively survey of the many forms of deception practiced by plants, insects, and animals. He then turns to Homo sapiens and offers cogent and provocative analysis of the link between increasingly complex societies, the evolution of the brain, and the need for 'social lies' in the interest of civility. This leads to eyebrow-raising speculation regarding the source of our habitual mendacity and psyche-protecting self-deception (the extent of which is truly astonishing), a facet of the unconscious that Smith calls 'Machiavellian intelligence,' and a convincing theory as to why it functions 'beyond the reach of introspection' . . . Smith's inquiry is stimulating and unsettling."—Donna Seaman, Booklist
David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., is currently a professor of philosophy and co-founder and director of the Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New England. He has published widely in the areas of deception and self-deception. A longtime professor in London, he now lives in Scarborough, Maine.