From Machiavelli to P. T. Barnum to Donald Trump, many have perfected the art of strategically using language to gain the upper hand, set a tone, change the subject, or influence people's beliefs and behaviors. Language--both words themselves and rhetorical tactics such as metaphor, irony, slang, and humor--can effectively manipulate the minds of the listener.
In this book, Marcel Danesi, a renowned linguistic anthropologist and semiotician, looks at language that is used not to present arguments logically or rationally, but to "move" audiences in order to gain their confidence and build consensus. He demonstrates that through language techniques communicators can not only sway opinions but also shape listeners' very perception of reality. He assesses how the communicative environment in which the art of the lie unfolds--such as on social media or in emotionally-charged gatherings--impacts the results.
Danesi also investigates why lies are often accepted as valid. Artful lying fits in with an Internet society that is largely disinterested in what is true and what is false and in which attention is often given to speech that is entertaining or persuasive. Have we become immune to lies because of a social media discourse shaped by untruths? In an electronic age where facts are deemed irrelevant and conspiracies are accorded as much credibility as truths, this book discusses the implications of lying and language for the future of belief, ethics, and American democracy itself.
About the author
MARCEL DANESI teaches on the history of puzzles at Victoria College of the University of Toronto. Danesi has written puzzles for Reader’s Digest, The Toronto Star, and also maintains a blog on puzzles for Psychology Today. He has also published several best-selling puzzle books, such as The Total Brain Workout and The Complete Brain Workout.
""When systematic lying is the modus operandi of the most powerful leader on the planet, it becomes vitally important to understand the power of linguistic manipulation to distort perceptions of reality and discourage critical thinking. There are many more facets to the successful lie than simply not telling the truth, and this book provides an excellent analysis of how those various elements can be so effective. I highly recommend The Art of the Lie to all who strive to understand and confront deceit, political or otherwise.” —James Alcock, PhD, professor of psychology at York University and author of Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling
“When lies are weaponized, defenders of truth need an equally potent weapon to fight back. Marcel Danesi’s The Art of the Lie is the weapon that can defeat the liars and leave them no retreat.”
—Keith M. Parsons, professor of philosophy and humanities, University of Houston–Clear Lake, and coauthor of Polarized
Other titles by Marcel Danesi
The Ultimate Brain Health Puzzle Book for Adults, Vol. 2
Even More Crosswords, Sudoku, Cryptograms, Word Searches, Logic Grids, and Calcudoku Puzzles!
Master Your Mind
Critical-Thinking Exercises and Activities to Boost Brain Power and Think Smarter
The Quest for Meaning
A Guide to Semiotic Theory and Practice, Second Edition
The Total Brain Workout
450 Puzzles to Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Memory & Keep Your Brain Fit
Mathematics in Ten Great Ideas
The 125 Best Brain Teasers of All Time
A Mind-Blowing Challenge of Math, Logic, and Wordplay
From Flappers to Rappers
The Origins, Evolution, and Demise of Youth Culture
Murder in Plain English
From Manifestos to Memes--Looking at Murder through the Words of Killers
The Complete Brain Workout
500 New Puzzles to Exercise Your Brain and Maximize Your Memory