Honesty Book


WOULD I LIE TO YOU? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies is now available! (See links to order toward the bottom of the page.)


Book cover that says Would I Lie to You? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies, by Judi KettelerSo what's this honesty book all about?

Everybody wants the truth, but nobody wants to be honest.

Out of diplomacy, kindness, privacy, and old-fashioned self-interest, we don’t always tell the truth. But instead of noticing this, we focus on the dishonesty around us. So . . . what happens when we start paying attention to our own decisions around honesty?

When award-winning journalist and New York Times contributor Judi Ketteler looked at her life, she saw a content mother, a generous friend and sister, a good daughter, and a wife with an authentic and happy marriage. It wasn’t quite the whole story though.

In thinking about all of the truths she wasn’t revealing, Judi wondered how often she was exaggerating, concealing, side-stepping, or spinning half-truths. To answer that question, Judi started her “honesty journal,” and wrote a piece for the New York Times called "How Honesty Could Make You Happier."

Focusing on honesty helped her confront her perennial fear of speaking the truth in so many areas: in social situations, among friends, in the workplace, with her kids, inside of her complicated marriage—and finally, within herself. Along the way, she discovered the surprising power of paying attention to her choices around honesty in each dimension of life. This honesty journey is what led her to finally stop feeling like one more faceless victim of a dishonest world seemingly run by dishonest people, and instead, feel like an empowered human being—more engaged and more connected in her relationships.

A well-researched personal narrative that blends heartfelt storytelling from the author’s own search for honesty with the latest thinking from behavioral economics, etiquette, psychology, and philosophy, WOULD I LIE TO YOU? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies is a timely consideration of the joys and pains of truth in a world that seems committed to lying.


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 What are people saying about WOULD I LIE TO YOU?

“Great for generating discussion on the subject of authenticity and thinking through tough questions.”

— Library Journal


"An interesting reported memoir about the power of honesty—not surprisingly, a surprisingly honest account."

— Gretchen Rubin, author of five bestselling books, including The Happiness Project


"The narrative is compelling and I learned a lot about honesty from reading this book. Even with ideas and research I know well from my training in social and organizational psychology, such as the actor observer bias, and Emma Levine's research on prosocial lies, I found that the author writes about this work in such a way that it helps readers understand how it all fits together."

— Taya Cohen, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business


Would I Lie to You? is full of focused analyses and helpful chapter summaries, paired with candor, humor, and wry guidance for developing positive, forthright relationships with ourselves and others.”

— Foreword (a publication that reviews books by independent publishers)


“Some books change how you think. Some change how you act. Would I Lie to You? does both. It's impacted how I talk to my friends, my colleagues, my family—and myself, and given me a fresh perspective on how important both larger and smaller truths are in our lives.”

— KJ Dell'Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent


Would I Lie to You? is filled with so many fresh insights and proactive solutions that it could pass for a masterclass on honesty. With a journalist’s sharp eye and a deep appreciation for the complexities of human behavior, Judi Ketteler has created a compelling and necessary examination of the risks and rewards of fessing up. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you said exactly what you were thinking—or simply stopped sugar-coating the truth—this book is for you.”

— Camille Pagán, bestselling author of I’m Fine and Neither Are You





I know why I wrote the book, but why might you want to read it?

How about one of these 20 reasons . . .

1. You feel frustrated—hopeless even—at how dishonest people can be.

2. You feel like you need to be doing more to change a dishonest world, which is currently full of misinformation.

3. You feel the shame of judgment and are really tired of it.

4. You feel dissatisfied in your relationships and wonder what honesty might have to do with it.

5. You go through whole days feeling like an imposter.

6. You feel like the truth is too scary to say and you struggle to be direct with people for fear of hurting their feelings.

7. You feel like you aren’t able to be yourself and communicate how you want to communicate in certain situations (or all situations).

8. You feel anger at the political situation, won't permit Donald Trump's name to be said in your home, and can barely read the fucking news without losing your shit.

9. You feel misaligned with who you are and who you want to be.

10. You feel hurt by the lies someone you love told you (or pissed off by the lies someone you don’t even like told you).

11. You know that you have hurt, or are currently hurting, someone you love with lies, but you aren’t sure what to do about it.

12. You don’t recognize yourself on social media.

13. You are trying to navigate a professional conflict of interest and finding it confusing.

14. You are in a long-term romantic relationship and fear you and your partner aren't communicating honestly.

15. You have a fear of losing everything (job, reputation, relationships) if you tell the truth.

16. You feel like a hypocrite with your kids.

17. You feel unqualified to parent and answer your kids’ most difficult questions truthfully.

18. You have a feeling of sobering up to a truth about yourself you didn’t want to see, particularly if you are a white person who is new to having honest conversations about race and privilege.

19. You feel like half your life is just glossing over situations, and you’d like a bit less gloss and more rawness.

20. You’re just plain curious how honest of a person you really are.


I can’t promise that I have the perfect answer for every one of these, but I write about every one of them, because I have felt them all. If anything in that list sparks something for you, I hope you will check out Would I Lie to You?


Have a press inquiry about WOULD I LIE TO YOU?

For book and event queries, contact Ann Pryor, Kensington Books: apryor@kensingtonbooks.com or fill out the contact form on this site.


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