Dina Nayeri

Feb 28, 2023

Who Gets Believed?

When the Truth Isn't Enough

Catapult 2023

Why are people judged on whether or not they are compelling? Why isn’t telling the truth enough? What are people really listening for when others share their truths? And how does this harm asylum seekers? Dina Nayeri joins us to share:

  • Why our perceptions of other people’s experiences impact them and us.
  • What makes a “credible” story, and what doesn’t.
  • How her own stories shape her.
  • Why it can be difficult to believe a messy truth.
  • What she had to forgive herself for.
  • The book Who Gets Believed.

Today’s book is: Who Gets Believed by Dina Nayeri, which asks unsettling questions about lies, truths, and the difference between being believed and being dismissed. Dina Nayeri begins with asking why are honest asylum seekers dismissed as liars? She shares shocking and illuminating case studies, as the book grows into a reckoning with our culture’s views on believability. From learning the tools of persuasion and performance in her job at McKinsey to struggling to believe her troubled brother-in-law, Nayeri explores an aspect of our society that is rarely held up to the light. Who Gets Believed is a book as deeply personal as it is profound in its reflections on morals, language, literature, human psychology, and the unspoken social codes that determine how we relate to one another.

Our guest is: Dina Nayeri, who is the author of novels, articles, and creative nonfiction. A former Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, winner of the UNESCO City of Literature Paul Engle Prize, and fellow at the American Library in Paris, she has also won a National Endowment for the Arts literature grant, the O. Henry Prize, and Best American Short Stories, among other honors. Her work has been published in 20+ countries, in The Guardian, The New Yorker, Granta, and many other publications. She is a graduate of Princeton, Harvard, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has recently joined the permanent faculty at the University of St. Andrews.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is a historian.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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