Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty shows how people rationalize their dishonest actions and what factors increase or decrease dishonesty. Why should you read it? In the words of the author "recognizing our shortcomings is a crucial first step on the path to making better decisions, creating better societies, and fixing our institutions."

...many people need controls around them for them to do the right thing.”

...we can restructure our environment, and that by doing so we can achieve better behaviors and outcomes.

...merely trying to recall moral standards was enough to improve moral behavior.

...signatures at the top of forms could also act as a moral prophylactic.

...anyone who thinks that companies are rational has never attended a corporate board meeting...

...if we want to take a bite out of crime, we need to find a way to change the way in which we are able to rationalize our actions.

When our actions are more distant from the execution of the dishonest act, when they are suspended, and when we can more easily rationalize them ... [we] find it easier to be dishonest.

...drug companies, especially smaller ones, train their reps to treat doctors as if they were gods. And they seem to have a disproportionately large reserve of attractive reps. The whole effort is coordinated with military precision. Every self-respecting rep has access to a database that tells them exactly what each doctor has prescribed over the last quarter (both that company’s drugs as well as their competitors’).

One doctor’s office even required alternating days of steak and lobster for lunch if the reps wanted access to the doctors.

...after giving a short lecture about the benefits of a certain drug, the speaker would begin to believe his own words and soon prescribe accordingly.

Their [securities] abstractness allows you to view your actions more as a game, and not as something that actually affects people’s homes, livelihoods, and retirement accounts.

...the rules for exclusion have to be made up front, before the experiment takes place, and definitely not after looking at the data.

...after a long day of saying “no” to various and sundry temptations, our capacity for resisting them diminishes—until at some point we surrender and end up with a belly full of cheese danish, Oreos, french fries, or whatever it is that makes us salivate. This, of course, is a worrisome thought. After all, our days are increasingly full of decisions, along with a never-ending barrage of temptations. If our repeated attempts to control ourselves deplete our ability to do so, is it any wonder that we so often fail?

...the first act of dishonesty might be particularly important in shaping the way a person looks at himself and his actions from that point on—and because of that, the first dishonest act is the most important one to prevent. That is why it is important to cut down on the number of seemingly innocuous singular acts of dishonesty.

...the obscurity of our real motivations doesn’t stop us from creating perfectly logical-sounding reasons for our actions, decisions, and feelings.

Most of us tend to think that the longer we are in a relationship with our doctors, accountants, financial advisers, lawyers, and so on, the more likely it is that they will care more deeply about our well-being, and as a consequence, they will more likely put our needs ahead of their own.

...recognizing our shortcomings is a crucial first step on the path to making better decisions, creating better societies, and fixing our institutions.

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