We’re All Lying Liars

Admit it: You’ve lied. You told a friend that his shirt looked stylish when you actually thought it was tacky and garish. Or maybe you said to your boss that her presentations were fascinating when in fact they were insipidly mindless. Or perhaps you told your landlord that the rent check was in the mail. Don’t feel bad. You’re in good, dishonest company. A growing body of research shows that people lie constantly, that deception is pervasive in everyday life. One study found that people tell two to three lies every 10 minutes, and even conservative estimates indicate that we … Read More

Why Do We Trust?

Why do we work together? Why do we trust others? Harvard University’s Dave Rand has this great image that sums it up:

Social Trust Can Be Rebuilt: A Photo Essay

As I was working on my book The Leap, I often found myself in cocktail-type conversations, trying to explain my book on trust and social cohesion. People would listen to me talk and then often tell me something along the lines of: There’s nothing we can do to improve our faith in others. Our sense of community is gone. Once trust is broken, it can never be rebuilt.  But I came to learn that there are a lot of problems with this idea, and our sense of social trust can be improved. We can improve our sense of community, and as part of my book, I visited … Read More

The Sorry Legacy Of The Founding Fathers

In 1784, five years before he became president of the United States, George Washington, 52, was nearly toothless. So he hired a dentist to transplant nine teeth into his jaw–having extracted them from the mouths of his slaves. That’s a far different image from the cherry-tree-chopping George most people remember from their history books. But recently, many historians have begun to focus on the role slavery played in the lives of the founding generation. They have been spurred in part by DNA evidence made available in 1998, which almost certainly proved Thomas Jefferson had fathered at least one child with … Read More

How Sysco came to monopolize most of what you eat.

A hot dog from Yankee Stadium. Potato latkes from the Four Seasons in Manhattan. Sirloin steak at Applebee’s. The jumbo cheeseburger at the University of Iowa Hospital. While it would seem these menu items have nothing in common, they’re all from Sysco, a Houston-based food wholesaler. This top food supplier serves nearly 400,000 American eating establishments, from fast-food joints like Wendy’s, to five-star eating establishments like Robert Redford’s Tree Room Restaurant, to mom-and-pop diners like the Chatterbox Drive-In, to ethnic restaurants like Meskerem Ethiopian restaurant. Even Gitmo dishes out food from Sysco. Should you worry that one source dominates so much of what you eat? … Read More