On this page: a personal selection of nonfiction books on lying, links to notable articles and podcast episodes about lies, secrets and more.
From hours of reading about the art of deception, secrets, and more, I have come to believe that examining how and when people lie and tell the truth can help in understanding many relationships. In fact, telling a lie often tend to fill the gap between what we wish ourselves to be and who we actually are – which is basically an attempt to control the way you are perceived by others.
But, as we tell lies to others every now and then, we also tend to make the unconscious effort to lie to ourselves sometimes. Most often to feel better or to boost self-esteem.
The Art of Deception
Therapists working in the field of psychiatry have dealt with the concern of how to believe a patient when its says to be ok, but is not. Their practical concern raised a very fundamental question about human communication: can people, even when they are very upset, control the messages they give off, or will their nonverbal behavior leak what is concealed by their words? Basically, are there facial expressions or gestures that can be found in human communication that are universal? And if so, how can that information help us detect.
Even professional lie detector Pamela Meyer mentioned in her TED Talk: How to spot a liar, “lying is a cooperative act – think about it, a lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
As a result, the book pickings below are my favorite books on lying and I obviously read every single book I added to this booklist. Stay tuned if you want to know more about the art of deception—how it works, why we’re vulnerable to it, and how telling lies is woven into our personal relationships. Here are some of the best books on lying: