Monday, October 8, 2018

Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception (2010) by Pamela Meyer, Book Review

Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception (2010)
by Pamela Meyer

People lie to us all the time. You and I lie to others all the time. We lie to each other all the time. In fact, according to studies by several different researchers, most of us encounter nearly two hundred lies a day (most of it are harmless lies, by the way). That's 200 times per day! That means if you get to sleep 8 hours per day, you're likely been on the receiving end of about 12 lies per hour. According to one study found that over a one-week period, lies were detected in 37% of phone calls, 27% of face-to-face meetings, 21% of IM chats, and 14% of e-mails. There are many more facts about lying that if I were to list down it here, you'll soon think that I'm lying to you! Whatever happened to the 9th Commandment? "We have to trust to survive," writes Meyer, "[but] paradoxically, we have to lie to survive as well." 

Pamela Meyer reminds the readers upfront: "One doesn't undertake deception-detection training just to be able to point a finger at a liar. A little bit of liespotting training goes a long way toward strengthening many of our relationships, so we can develop a small inner circle of fiercely loyal, dependable colleagues and friends, sharpen our instincts, bolster our productivity, increase our confidence in ourselves, and improve our work environment." She summarized, "Liespotting isn't just about sniffing out liars in the short term; it's also about building a sustainable infrastructure of trust for the long haul." Agree! Pamela Meyer first intrigued me when I saw her TED Talk on deception and when I saw this book in the library, I quickly grabbed it and devoured its content. I love the first part of this book but the second half part is somewhat boring… probably because she refers to deception in the business world and I don't feel it's relevant to me now.

Liespotting is a 3-pronged approach that involves equal measures of scientific information, observation training, and interrogation practice. "It's not enough to recognize lies," she reminds her readers again, "It's the complex truth we're after." Spotting a lie is just the beginning, the truth to move forward is most important of all. As I said, this book is divided into 2 parts:

Part #1 Detecting Deception. It begins with a broad overview of lying (Chapter 1: The Deception Epidemic and Chapter 2: Deception 101 – Who, When, and Why) and exploring three patterns of deception as the foundation (Chapter 3: Reading the Face, Chapter 4: Reading the Body, and Chapter 5: Listening to the Words). These first five chapters are very interesting. I get to test it on myself and others. Once I know (still learning and testing) how to read facial, verbal, and behavioral clues of deception, I'm tempted to look for them everywhere. But like what Meyer said we can't be perfectly accurate, we can only improve our detection ability. Then, Meyer introduces The BASIC Interview Method (Chapter 6) which combines facial recognition with advanced interrogation techniques. She taught how to read the map of human face and body, as well as how to decode human language and vocal tone, "exposing the myriad signs people inadvertently leave behind when they are working to hide the truth about something that really matters."

Part #2 Building Trust. Here she addresses the most common high-stakes business situations in which lying occurs – business negotiations and job interviews – and provides tailored strategies for countering deception in each situation (Chapter 7: Liespotting for High Stakes). She also introduces the deception audit (Chapter 8: The Deception Audit): simple steps "executives can take to identify pervasive sources of deception within an organization, and to prevent them from taking root again in its culture." Finally, Meyer taught readers on how to confidently build customized inner circle, a small, handpicked community of people "to whom you can turn to support you in the hardest moments" and what to do next (Chapter 9: Building Your Trust Brain, and Chapter 10: Putting It All Together).

To me, this book is valuable because detecting deception is a crucial skill that offers countless financial, psychological, emotional and even spiritual benefits. "Liespotting requires that we push back," writes Meyer in her closing, "It demands that we step away from our machines, that we relearn how to communicate face-to-face, how to read people, emphasize, connect, and listen." Liespotting is more than detecting deception, it's about how to be human… again.

Recommended book: (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies (2015) by Dan Ariely
Recommended TV Series: Lie to Me


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