An open email to Dan Ariely in response to The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty:
Zeroth meta: Below is [sort of] the actual email I wanted to write to him. My first reply to this comment will be the actual submission to his webform (which will also be linked back to this posted comment), and my second reply to this comment will be my page-based notes from the book.
First meta: Why don't you [by default Dan Ariely throughout] implement a proper celebrity email system rather than use the unavoidably rude webform approach. It would also subsume your FAQ approach, especially the last two questions. (Details Available Upon Polite Request (DAUPR))
[Now that I'm away from the webform, I do feel more free to go into those details, though Ello is awkward for other reasons and I'm mostly going to stay with my DAUPR idea. However, in this environment, you [including readers besides Dan Ariely] can obviously make the request as a reply to this comment, but I hope I can just respond with a reference. I've written about celebrity email many times (though I might have to dig around for a public description).]
Second meta: Your [back to Dan] multiple-choice idea is interesting and I will use it for the actual webform response, but I still think proper celebrity email would be better in terms of leveraging small amounts of your time against large amounts of email.
Main question: Why do you lie so much? Notwithstanding your claim on page 189, the essence of your research is lying to people, and in this book, it is worse than that since you are encouraging other people to lie, and even rewarding them for their lies. (DAUPR)
Methodological question: Where are the standard deviations and sample sizes?
Elephant in the room question: Where are the HONEST people? You seem to pretend they don't exist, but you must encounter some percentage of them. Is that why most of your results (as distinct from the anecdotes) seem to pretend individuals don't exist? In reality, no individual is a stereotype and no person lives out the long-term average. (DAUPR)
Proposed solution: If people are basically good and want to feel good about themselves, isn't the obvious solution to dishonesty to make it easier and more rewarding to be honest? Or to word the solution from the other side, won't honesty increase if we stop incentivizing dishonesty?
Third meta: After reviewing our email exchange of early 2012, I wonder if you ever did meet Al Evans? In this book you mentioned visiting Austin and you also mentioned receiving painful medical treatments that reminded me of his hands, though I'm pretty sure he wasn't the burn victim you met around that period in your own treatment.
Fourth meta: Still in relation to the email of 2012, if you ever did pass through Japan, I never heard about it.
Fifth meta: Is it the mark of a thought-provoking book that it is hard to formulate a cohesive response? In essence I'm wrapping up mostly for the sake of time, as in I don't want to spend too much more on this book just now.
In conclusion, thanks for the interesting read.