May Contain Lies

How stories, statistics and studies exploit our biases — and what we can do about it

“Powerful and punchy” — Gillian Tett

“Brilliantly researched and written” — Andy Haldane

“A masterpiece” — Katy Milkman

“Fascinating” — Raghuram Rajan

“A much-needed antidote” — Vaclav Smil

Amazon #1 category bestseller (UK and US)

Amazon Top 100 across all categories (UK)

Financial Times Business Books of the Month (April 2024)

“Powerful and punchy”

Gillian Tett

“Brilliantly researched and written”

Andy Haldane

“A masterpiece”

Katy Milkman

“Fascinating”

Raghuram Rajan

“A much-needed antidote”

Vaclav Smil

Order your copy here

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US

    The word ‘lie’ typically means an outright falsehood. But ‘lie’ is simply the opposite of ‘truth’. Someone can lie by hiding contradictory information, not gathering it in the first place, or drawing invalid conclusions from valid data. Even if books, studies, or talks are filled with facts, they should all carry the same health warning: They may contain lies.

    ALL POSTS

    Do women improve decision-making on boards?

    Do women improve decision-making on boards?

    Last week, Harvard Business Review published an article entitled "Research: How Women Improve Decision-Making on Boards". It was widely shared on LinkedIn and someone tagged me in it, given my research on diversity, equity, and inclusion. When I became ...
    Does corporate governance improve company performance?

    Does corporate governance improve company performance?

    Corporate governance...can genuinely add value for business. I was delighted to see a company’s study reach this conclusion. Corporate governance is my main research topic; I’m a Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute, and at the time I was Academic Director of the LBS Centre for Corporate Governance.
    Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

    Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

    Many forms of misinformation have a clear source — authors or journalists misquoting a study, or a famous person giving an extreme quote. That allows us to check the underlying source, as in this example.
    Experimenting on WEIRD people

    Experimenting on WEIRD people

    One of my research fields in behavioural economics, which suggests that people don’t always act in perfectly rational ways. A famous experiment in this field is known as the Ultimatum Game. There are two players, a ‘proposer’ whom we’ll call Amelia, and a ‘responder’, Bilal.
    Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 2)

    Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 2)

    In an earlier post, I covered a Moore Global study claiming that companies with strong ESG performance enjoyed higher profits. If all companies took ESG as seriously as the ESG leaders, their profits would rise by $4 trillion in aggregate.
    Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 1)

    Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 1)

    In late 2022, a CEO posted this on LinkedIn: ‘Companies that place importance on #ESG factors saw profits rise 9.1% and revenue grow 9.7% over the past 3 years’. Having written a book on the value of ESG, I was intrigued.
    Ignoring what’s right in front of you

    Ignoring what’s right in front of you

    The first step in overcoming confirmation bias is to check the facts, even if you’re tempted to take them at face value. But doing so is not always straightforward. My TED talk opened with how Belle Gibson claimed to have beaten cancer through diet. Since Belle’s medical records are private, the person on the street can’t easily check this claim.
    The Marshmallow Study revisited

    The Marshmallow Study revisited

    One of the most famous psychology experiments conducted on children is the Marshmallow Study. In a 1972 paper, Walter Mischel and co-authors gave three-to-five-year-olds at the Stanford Bing Nursery School a marshmallow. They could eat it now, but if they waited 15 minutes, they’d get a second marshmallow.
    Do whole grains prevent heart disease?

    Do whole grains prevent heart disease?

    Study: Whole Grain Consumption Lowers Death Risk. That’s the title of an article in HCP Live, a clinical news and information portal for doctors. It’s consistent with what everyone tells you about the benefits of whole grains. But while some superfoods are peddled out of thin air, this one seems to be backed up by evidence.
    Does Brexit cost the UK £100 billion per year?

    Does Brexit cost the UK £100 billion per year?

    Britain’s leave-voting areas are falling even further behind three years after Brexit. Our Levelling Up Scorecard shows how they are far more likely to face a widening wealth and opportunity gap relative to richer regions. That’s an excerpt from a Bloomberg Close email I received in January 2023.