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  • Writer's pictureJL Nash

SPY THE LIE - a review

the publishing blurb

“Three former CIA officers - among the world’s foremost authorities on recognizing deceptive behavior - share their proven techniques for uncovering a lie.

Imagine how different your life would be if you could tell whether someone was lying or telling you the truth. Be it hiring a new employee, investing in a financial interest, speaking with your child about drugs, confronting your significant other about suspected infidelity, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences.

As former CIA officers, Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero are among the world’s best at recognizing deceptive behavior. Spy the Lie chronicles the captivating story of how they used a methodology Houston developed to detect deception in the counterterrorism and criminal investigation realms, and shows how these techniques can be applied in our daily lives.

Through fascinating anecdotes from their intelligence careers, the authors teach listeners how to recognize deceptive behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, that we all tend to display when we respond to questions untruthfully. For the first time, they share with the general public their methodology and their secrets to the art of asking questions that elicit the truth.

Spy the Lie is a game-changer. You may never experience another book that has a more dramatic impact on your career, your relationships, or your future.”

©2012 Philip Houston, Susan Carnicero, Don Tennant, Michael Floyd (P)2012 Macmillan

Yes, I’ve just finished it. It was a very enjoyable read for a nerd like me who is obsessed with behaviour profiling and body language. I don’t now that it’s a game changer but if you’ve never read any other body language books it will certainly be an eye opener for you. This not only has useful data to aid interpretation and profiling, it also has anecdotes to demonstrate how analysis has been done on certain people in certain circumstances.

However, I’d not rush out and buy it first. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend beginning with Chase Hughes’ “6-Minute X-ray” or if you want to get stuck into something more in-depth, go for his “The Ellipsis Manual”. Both are excellent and will immediately give to access to training data. You can choose to go through the texts yourself or you can enroll on courses which accompany the texts. I self taught the “6-Minute X-ray” and am following a self paced official program learning ‘The Ellipsis Manual’.

I am addicted. I recently finished the course Body LanguageTactics by Greg Hartley and Scott Rouse. I learned so much that I am still reviewing my notes to absorb everything I’ve gone through.

Isn't it just about deception detection? Well, that’s certainly much of what you might see once your eye has been trained in what to look for, but it is the appearance of stress and its context which are the main definers for the observations. I want people to trust me and if I can communicate that by using some gestures and movements which are universal to all humans, then why not? If I can help someone move out of stress into comfort.. why not again?

Did you know there are 7 universal facial gestures which are common to all humans regardless of culture? These are Happiness, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Surprise, Disgust and Contempt. Once you know what these look like, you can begin to read humans in an entirely different way.

I like the authors of this book and indeed all the experts I have mentioned here because they are NOT absolutists. Just because you cross your arms does not mean you are creating a barrier. Just because you scratch your nose does not mean you are lying.  Behaviour meanings are attributed through observing clusters of different behaviours, sometimes in milliseconds like micro expressions (Paul Ekman) but always with context in mind.  In fact usually in clusters of three or more behaviours/movements performed in close succession in a matter of seconds.

So watch out friends… I’m profiling every word you say and watching where your eyes dart to when you speak...and don't try to maintain solid eye contact with me. I’ll give you a hint - liars usually do that.

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