Lying — Sam Harris

A kind of handbook that defines “lying” and explains how to be honest all the time. Even though it might seem trivial, it’s actually a lot harder than it seems. It includes several examples to help you determine how to be honest. Being honest is the greatest gift you can give to others and to yourself.

My rating: 3/5. I liked it. My notes length: 2 min.
Date read: January 31, 2016. More information on Amazon.

My Notes

Lies

To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication. — Sam Harris

Don’t lie, even if you think a white lie is better than being honest. You don’t know when it might turn itself around and generate more harm than good.

Don’t intentionally communicate something you don’t believe. Others might act on that falsehood, generating all kinds of problems that you may not be able to predict.

Don’t hide important information. It’s considered misleading as you’re not communicating what you believe, when asked to.

Don’t lie, but don’t be a jerk. Don’t say something you believe if it’s only purpose is to offend people.

Don’t criticize if nobody asked you to. But when asked, be honest. Failing to point out flaws won’t prepare them when others notice the same flaws.

Privacy

Being honest doesn’t force you to communicate every fact about everything. It’s almost never useful nor practical.

You don’t need to communicate personal things you’d prefer to keep private.

Be conscious of your impulses to lie. What false belief about yourself are you trying to communicate? That’s an opportunity for growth.

Truth

Be honest, but consider that it might be different to the truth. Being honest is to communicate your beliefs, but your beliefs might be wrong.

Communicate your uncertainty about your beliefs, when the situation requires it too.

Trust

Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. — Sam Harris

Before lying, consider yourself as the one receiving the lie. You may feel betrayed. Consider saying the information you would like to know instead of the lie.

Don’t decide yourself that you’re able to make better decisions than others by lying to them. That’s just being arrogant.

Being honest is the best gift you can offer to someone. It means that you treat them as adults, as someone that can handle your beliefs. That you trust their decisions when they have all the information.

Relationships

Accept the fact that committing to being honest will generate short term discomforts. But the long term benefits will, without a doubt, outgrow them.

Beware about toxic relationships. Honesty might make them unviable. Think about ending relationships that can’t be maintained without telling lies.

Encouragement

Don’t give false encouragement. You’re stealing time and energy from the person, which may be better spent on something else. Prepare yourself to ask for forgiveness, your beliefs about someone might be wrong.

If you’re honest all the time, then your encouragement will actually mean a lot. People will notice it, and will start looking for your opinion.

Integrity

The best way to be honest all the time, is to live a life of integrity. You won’t have to lie and you won’t feel awkward when telling your beliefs.