Menu Search

The folly of fools: the logic of deceit and self-deception in human life. (2013)

“…an ambitious investigation into the evolutionary logic of lying and the costs of leaving it unchecked.”

Robert Trivers, Professor, Rutgers University.
Basic Books, 2013

From the Amazon site:

“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?

“…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 behaviour 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.”

Reviewed by The Guardian (UK):

“After forty years of research Trivers wrote The Folly of Fools against the backdrop of a global economic meltdown caused by self-deceived, over-confident egoists grossly out of touch with reality, and when he explains how the human male drive for power and control correlates with ignorance and self-delusion, your blood runs cold….

The Folly of Fools is an exhilarating read: the intertwined issues of deceit and self-deception are infinite, involving positive and negative outcomes for the fool and the fooled–roles that can reverse and revert without your even knowing.”

Access the book here: The folly of fools

Leave a comment (2)

Back to the top
We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't accept comments that are unsubstantiated, unnecessarily abusive or may expose the Trust in any way. All contributions are moderated before being published.
  1. Martine McDowell says:

    This is fact is very sad, indeed, very sad…

  2. Martine McDowell says:

    Correction on my above comment : THIS FACT IS, INDEED, VERY VERY SAD !