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Faking It


  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.45 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521613705 | ISBN-10: 0521613701)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$29.99 (G)

In this book polymath William Ian Miller probes one of the dirty little secrets of humanity: that we are all faking it much more than anyone would care to admit. He writes with wit and wisdom about the vain anxiety of being exposed as frauds in our professions, cads in our loves, and hypocrites to our creeds. He finds, however, that we are more than mere fools for wanting so badly to look good to ourselves and others. Sometimes, when we are faking it, our vanity leads to virtue, and we actually achieve something worthy of esteem and praise William Ian Miller is the Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and the Universities of Bergen and Tel Aviv. His previous books include The Mystery of Courage (Harvard University Press, 2000) and The Anantomy of Disgust (Harvard University Press, 1997).


Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: split in two; 2. Hypocrisy and Jesus; 3. Anti-hypocrisy: looking bad in order to be good; 4. Virtues with natural immunities to hypocrisy; 5. Naked truth: hey, wanna …?; 6. In divine services and other ritualized performances; 7. Say it like you mean it: mandatory faking and apology; 8. Flattery and praise; 9. Hoist with his own petard; 10. The self, the double, and the sense of self; 11. At the core at last: the primordial Jew; 12. Passing and wishing you were what you are not; 13. Authentic moments with the beautiful and sublime?; 14. The alchemist: role as addiction; 15. 'I love you': taking a bullet vs. biting one; 16. Boys crying and girls playing dumb; 17. Acting our roles: mimicry, makeup, and pills; 18. False (im)modesty; 19. Caught in the act; Afterword.


"William Ian Miller...scratches the itch of authenticity and relieves the ache of morality with delicious determination in Faking It."
--The Boston Globe

"Faking It is a fascinating book that explores, among other things, the anxiety, tension, and self-doubt that we all experience as we try to play certain social roles. Faking It is written in a clear and accessible way and would be of interest to anyone curious about deception, insincerity, authenticity, and human nature."
--Philosophy in Review

"...learned and deliciously discursive..." anyone curious about deception, insincerity, authenticity, and human nature."
--The Independent

"Faking It is essentially an intellectual thrill ride, complete with scholarly twists and comic spins -- certainly worth the price of admission." anyone curious about deception, insincerity, authenticity, and human nature."
--California Literary Review

Advance praise: "Wonderfully wry, satirical, comical, and of course extremely widely read, he's apparently all-knowing about every low personal dodge by which we maneuver to appear better in the eyes of others than we really are--in love, in church, in bed, in the classroom... None of our common low bluffing and double-bluffing, our devoted passing ourselves off as what we're not, our making of false claims and laying of false trails about ourselves, none of our perpetual and practiced scams and schemes and dodges for gaining some personal advantage, escape Miller's unrelenting scrutiny. This is ethical-personal investigating for everyday consideration and of the most biddable and readable kind. One turns the page in a mounting agony of embarrassed recognition - exposed, found out, guilty as charged on every count. What a glorious delight of a book for the ethical self-
--Valentine Cunningham, Oxford University

"In this refreshing book, Miller ... entertains us with stories of adults who overestimate their sexual prowess and children who find out that saying "please" doesn't buy them what they were told it would. In short, he finds us all engaged in fakery much of the time.... Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries."
--Library Journal

"Intelligent, articulate...its most compelling feature is the inexorable pull of its author's Jewish identity...the book as a whole makes a fine introduction to that voice, and to the 'ancient tradition of moral writing' that integrates serious thinking with everyday contexts."
--Publishers Weekly

"William Ian Miller's "Faking It" (Cambridge University Press) is a brilliant, insightful and very funny study of the tendency to lay claim to more power. knowledge and authority than you really have."

"Miller...has written an erudite, accessible and relentlessly lively book."
--San Diego Union Tribune

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