Everyone agrees that lies and self-deception can do terrible harm to our lives, to our communities, and to the planet. But in Useful Delusions, NPR's Hidden Brain host Shankar Vedantam argues that, paradoxically, deceiving ourselves and others can also play a vital role in human success and well-being.
... lively and digestible ... The last words of the last chapter constitute a question: 'When should we fight self-deception, and when—and how much—should we embrace it?' Seems like something worth addressing earlier ... In the end, the book’s merits lie not in the depth of its analysis but in its breadth of synthesis and quotable lucidity.
... takes us on a fascinating, enlightening tour of the human mind and its evolution in order to help us come to terms with our ability to self-deceive. The authors are not out to disparage our delusions, but to expose them in a compassionate way that illustrates how we would not have evolved to be who we are today if we did not occasionally fudge facts and remain willfully ignorant ... well-researched and liberally illustrated ... a very readable book
Whatever it is, when Vedantam tells stories on his podcast and radio show, Hidden Brain, even when he’s imparting highly disturbing truths about human behavior, he’s a joy to listen to. It would seem difficult to duplicate that effect with the written word, but he manages to do just that. He explains the phenomenon of deceit in general, and self-deception in particular, with the same plain language and gentle authority that his listeners have come to rely on ... intriguing[.]