London: Bloomsbury, 2000, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.
From the cover: THIS IS A BOOK about the lies we tell ourselves. The most intimate and treacherous relationship a person ever has is with him or herself. Why are we so spontaneously inclined to deceive ourselves to believe our powers greater and impulses purer than they are? And how is the trick achieved? In his radical and illuminating book, the eloquent historian of ideas, Eduardo Giannetti, takes off on his own adventurous quest into the truth about lies.
Giannetti approaches his subject by intriguing routes. In the natural world, he surveys the art of deception, from orchids simulating female insects in order to trick the males, to human babies simulating misery in order to manipulate their parents. He considers chemical deception introduced into the body by drugs. He assesses the role of self-deception in individual acts of daring and great enterprise and indeed in facing death. He unmasks the degree of self-interest and partiality we hide from ourselves but are very ready to spot in others. Of profound interest is the paradox which allows one part of the mind to lie to another, and Giannetti weighs up the implications of this internal hypocrisy from an ethical point of view as it reflects on the individual and impacts on society.
Giannetti is sceptical of the ethos of self-help books which tout self-knowledge. Yet his entertaining and provocative analysis opens up a rich horizon for those who recognise that they are seriously deceiving themselves.
Very Good+ in Very Good+ Dust Wrapper.
Black boards with Turquoise titling to the Spine. [XV] 304 pages. Index. Bibliography. 8½” x 5¾”.