The Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers
The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book of 2012
Whether it’s in a cockpit at takeoff or the planning of an offensive war, a romantic relationship or a dispute at the office, there are many opportunities to lie and self-deceive—but deceit and self-deception carry the costs of being alienated from reality and can lead to disaster. So why does deception play such a prominent role in our everyday lives? In short, why do we deceive?
In his bold new work, prominent biological theorist Robert Trivers unflinchingly argues that self-deception evolved in the service of deceit—the better to fool others. We do it for biological reasons—in order to help us survive and procreate. From viruses mimicking host behavior to humans misremembering (sometimes intentionally) the details of a quarrel, science has proven that the deceptive one can always outwit the masses. But we undertake this deception at our own peril.

Trivers has written an ambitious investigation into the evolutionary logic of lying and the costs of leaving it unchecked.

 

About Robert Trivers

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Robert L. Trivers is a Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. He won the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences in 2007 for his fundamental analysis of social evolution, conflict, and cooperation. He lives in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Basic Books. 418 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Folly of Fools

Kirkus Reviews

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Self-deception has long been a dark, opaque side of our behavior, but the author brings a bright flashlight to his investigation of why we alter information to reach a falsehood.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

The New York Times

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In one especially poignant passage, Trivers recalls walking down a city street with an attractive young woman, “trying to amuse her,” when he spots “an old man on the other side of her, white hair, ugly, face falling apart, walking poorly, indeed shambling.” Trivers abruptly realizes he is seeing...

Dec 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

Publishers Weekly

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The two are related, says noted Rutgers biologist Trivers in a spirited, provocative exploration of the evolutionary logic of deceit and self-deception: “we deceive ourselves the better to deceive others.” The self-deception Trivers is concerned with is unconscious, not planned.

Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

Denver Post

They are rife with self-deception, he argues in one chapter, their theories not based on the robust methods of physics — where self-deception is minimized, he insists — but on a preference for poorly defined variables and a tendency to cherry-pick examples.

Jan 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

City Book Review

This exploration into immorality provides provocative reading and the reader will question one’s perception of self, others, and events, wondering what is really real and what is fabrication.

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

Huntington News

I was really attracted to the title of Robert Trivers' book, "The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life" (Basic Books, 416 pages, $28.00) and my own concept of where the writer might be going.

Mar 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

Portland Book Review

In his telling, success – whether financial or interpersonal – depends on one’s ability to narrate what might be called ‘reality.’ Human senses have adept skills to determine truth, but they matter less than our ability to get others to accept our self-interested versions of it.

Apr 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

Bookmarks Magazine

Publisher: Basic Books Product Description A New York Times Notable Book of 2012
Whether it’s in a cockpit at takeoff or the planning of an offensive war, a romantic relationship or a dispu...

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Folly of Fools: The Logic...

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