Review: ‘Lying’ (e-book) by Sam Harris

LyingLying by Sam Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Extraordinarily thorough and readable discourse, especially considering the concise nature of this long essay ‘form’, on the effects of lying both on the micro (personal) and broader societal(macro) levels. Harris makes quick and wise work of clearing up some of the silly, often semantic hangups of this conversation, i.e. the hairsplitting of technical lying and deceit at large.

I think Harris gives appropriate concessions to the very uncomfortable and concrete ramifications of even ‘white’ lies, while nicely intellectualizing the real, that is to say short-term nature of these consequences. The many arguments for nearly categorical truth-telling in all situations continue to nicely promote what is almost a logistical argument as much as a moral one — the often absurd lengths one must go to in order to sustain any lie nearly always outweigh the freedom of truth, its complete independence. As Harris says, a truth needs no maintenance, ‘it can only be reiterated’.

As someone with a more than healthy conviction against e-readers and e-books by and large, I do have to note I found myself enjoying this little (literally, small) new literary form of the short-short book or long essay, available appropriately enough only as an e-book. This astute and enjoyable bit of philosophy is more than worth the $2.

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