Cover the social superpower

“There are a few secrets,” he tells me. “A few discoveries that I’ve never published. Some of the most powerful ones. I wouldn’t betray them under torture.”

In a time of deep fakes, alternative truths and leaked secrets, it would be easy to think that we are surrounded by lies. While most people are shaking their heads and muttering dark things about the new levels of deceit, former Times journalist Kathleen Wyatt is busy marvelling at how society manages it.

How do we do this extraordinary thing, often under the most ordinary of circumstances? When do we first do it, why do we do it and do we really tell more lies today? Wyatt goes deep into disinformation to find out, but given her own lies, can she even be trusted on this subject?

In this brilliant, wide-ranging study of lies and lying, Wyatt introduces us to a cast of professionals and professional liars – from scientists to investigators, from double agents to toddler specialists, from a fallen titan of industry to a Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist. Together, they all help her prove a remarkable thesis: lies hold us together as much as they push us apart and they play a vital role in a healthy society.


“This might sound like a back-handed compliment, but it is not meant to be: I cannot think of a better, more elegant or more articulate guide to mistruth than Kathleen.”

Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain
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