The enterprise of writing The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars...[is] difficult ... The diction he deploys suggest otherwise. Sun, like others, falls into the science-writing trap of stretching biological phenomena to fit the contours of human understanding ... Sun uses terms that suggest intentionality ... Sun’s desire to draw lessons from the natural world about human lies has a subtler danger: Other living things are not just furry or feathery little proto-people, and comparing their behavior to ours risks underappreciating them as the amazing organisms they are ... My recommendation is to read The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars for its great cocktail-party fodder, and to leave lessons about human deception to the psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers.
Sun is given to punchy pronouncements ... This claim—that the 'laws' of cheating are universal—is key to The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars ... It also explains how Sun ends up as an apologist for humanity’s cheating ways. Lying is in Homo sapiens’ genes, and it has had much the same generative force as deceit in the wild. Indeed, by Sun’s account, it is responsible for human culture ... How to explain [Sun's] apparent credulity? Was he actually duped by Abagnale? Or is he only pretending to be, to demonstrate his larger point about the power of deceit? Honestly, who can say?
The accessible prose offers an eye-opening take on lying in the natural world and how evolutionary pressures to deceive impact human behavior. The smart parallels between humans and animals make for an insightful outing.