Thanks this website. And Disney.
Thanks this website. And Disney.

I’m a big Dan Ariely fan. I’m also running a bit short on time this morning.

So in lieu of a longwinded post, I’d like to direct your attention to this youtube clip of Dan talking about one of his more recent books (and here is the link for the subscribers: RSA Animate – The Truth About Dishonesty).

And really, the summary is this:

  1. We want to feel like we’re good people.
  2. But we also want all the benefits that come from being dishonest.
  3. And you can’t really have both.
  4. Except that we manage to do both.

How do we do that?

We cheat just a little bit (so instead of stealing money from petty cash, we just take extra stationary out of the cupboard). And then rationalise it (“it’s only a pencil – and I’m going to use it for work a bit anyway”).

And that doesn’t sound that serious.

Only, when Dan conducted his “cheating” experiment with 30,000 people (spoiler alert):

  1. He found 12 big cheaters, who in total stole about $150 from him.
  2. But there were 18,000 little cheater who stole, in aggregate, $36,000.

A little bit of cheating goes a long way?

Check the clip out. Totally worth it.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at