On cheating and stealing from Dan Ariely

I realize this is a Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship blog and some of you may question why I'm writing about this topic. I'll tell you why...entrepreneurs are in the business of creating trust and managing trust. As such, the topic of cheating and stealing is appropriate, especially in light of some of the characters and stories documented in the news as of late (e.g., Madoff, AIG, to name a couple).

Yesterday, my tongue-in-cheek post about Bernie Madoff may have touched a nerve in you. Perhaps after you watch the most-recently posted TED presentation from Dan Ariely, you'll have a clearer understanding of how rampant cheating and stealing, unfortunately, becomes part of the fabric of American business. His presentation underscores the social nature of cheating and swindling. To me, the icing on the cake is when he stated:
"a lot of people cheat, they cheat just a little bit...when we remind people of their morality, they cheat less...when we give them distance from actual money, they cheat more...when we see instances of cheating around us--especially someone in our ingroup--cheating goes up"

If you have a moment, take a listen to Dan's presentation. He does a great job simplifying the extensive behavioral economics experiments that he's run over the last 10 years. If you like it, check out his recent book, Predictably Irrational.

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