Cheating and deception are not commonly considered among humanity’s most noble features. Still they are inextricably linked to our creativity and social capabilities.
Our constant suspicion of possible liars and cheaters has shaped our culture greatly. Yet in certain areas, our skills for detecting lies and bluffs, especially our own, are surprisingly bad.
A constant yearning for realness and authenticity echoes throughout our culture, advertising, politics and identity struggles, creating ever-expanding markets for new bluffs.
What is real, what is fake and artificial? Do politicians lie? Is a great forgery real art? How does trust work? Can true love be faked? Why are we so fascinated by deception? Bår Stenvik has visited everything from a Defense Research Establishment, the police’s collection of art forgeries, the brain scientists and biologists, and attended a pick up artist course to find the answer to why we can’t live without lies, deception and self-deception.
The reviewer in Dagbladet wrote: «Bår Stenvik thinks deception is undervalued in human interaction. (…) Stenvik [emerges] as a good science writer, and an engaging and reflective essayist. He shows that inventing, boasting, lying, as well as deceiving others and oneself, is all deeply human. “
Bår Stenvik (b. 1976) is a journalist. He has studied English, literature, and musicology, graduating with a M.A. in Liberal Studies from New School for Social Research in New York. In 2011 Stenvik published Dirt (Skitt) – a journey in dirt and bad smells, through historical and cultural examples. He was awarded with The Booksellers’ Non-Fiction Prize 2012 for Dirt.
Translations: Bluff sold to Germany, Russia.