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Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage Paperback – January 26, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“[A] wealth of detailed, practical information about lying and lie detection and a penetrating analysis of the ethical implications.”
- Jerome D. Frank, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
“[An] accurate, intelligent, informative, and thoughtful work that is accessible to the layman and scientist alike.”
- Carol Z. Malatesta, New York Times Book Review
- Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
From breaking the law to breaking a promise, how do people lie and how can they be caught?
In this revised edition, Paul Ekman, a renowned expert in emotions research and nonverbal communication, adds a new chapter to present his latest research on his groundbreaking inquiry into lying and the methods for uncovering lies. Ekman has figured out the most important behavioral clues to deceit; he has developed a one-hour self-instructional program that trains people to observe and understand micro expressions; and he has done research that identifies the facial expressions that show whether someone is likely to become violenta self-instructional program to train recognition of these dangerous signals has also been developed.
Telling Lies describes how lies vary in form and how they can differ from other types of misinformation that can reveal untruths. It discusses how a persons body language, voice, and facial expressions can give away a lie but still fool professional lie hunters?even judges, police officers, drug enforcement agents, and Secret Service agents.
[A] wealth of detailed, practical information about lying and lie detection and a penetrating analysis of ethical implications. Jerome D. Frank, The John Hopkins School of Medicine
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Even 91 pages into the book, the author has only gone over three case studies (and not in any great detail). The first, the study of a woman who tried to lie to get out of a mental hospital in order to kill herself and the second of some nursing students who lied about watching some gory videos. The third was about a women who was subconsciously giving an interviewer the finger. Even speaking as someone who is on the lower end of the EQ distrubtion, I don't think that much of what was said here is something that has not been figured out by a person of average intelligence who has lived through his 20s. (For example, p. 92, when people are lying they are likely to "uh uh uh" and "ah ah ah." His description of this blindingly obvious fact went on for 3 paragraphs.)
He quotes Sigumd Freud (p. 88-89). In case you didn't think anyone paid attention to him anymore, there is at least one working psychologist who still pays attention to him.
What I just really don't get is: If there is "no clue to deceit that is reliable for all human beings" (p. 97), then what is the point of any of this science? How well does it work? Can we get some quantitative idea of the value of this? Chance (i.e., the flip of a coin) is 50%. So, is a detection rate of 60% really all that much to crow about?
"Lies in Public Life" was about 25 pages long-- even though that could have been much of the whole book and an abundance of case studies. It's interesting that he made an evaluation of who could have been telling the truth in the Hill/ Thomas scandal on the strength of nothing other than their testimony (when he mentioned John Dean as an example-- p. 95-- and stated that "No clue to deceit is reliable for all human beings"-- p. 97). It's also interesting that Ekman passes over tons of cases where public figures *really were* known to lie (Clinton/ Lewinsky. OJ Simpson.)--and the book *was* updated in 2009.
"New Findings and Ideas about Lies and Lie Catching" is where the author gets into a series of experiments (and this is not written as a practical guide to someone that might want to catch someone else in a lie). Ekman waffles *on and on* about how "Experiment X did not successfully show thing Y and may have been because of limitation Z." The real icing on the cake was on p. 346 when he wrote that "I don't believe that accuracy rates will reach 100%, and it is for this reason that I don't believe that judgments about who is lying should be allowable evidence in court" thereby tearing down most all of what he spent the last few hundred pages building up (i.e. a practical, reliable, workable method for telling who is lying and who is not).
This book could have been *much* better with many more example of lies that a person encounters in real life and then principles to illustrate them after the fact (rather than the way that it was done, with lots of general statements and then a few examples after the fact).
At first I thought that it was worth the second hand purchase price (just barely), but on a reevalution, I have decided that it is not worth even that-- nor the time that it took to read it. I'd initially thought also that the book Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, by Pamela Meyer was not all that great. But compared to this, that text is masterful.
Firstly, on a monochrome Kindle, the images are next to worthless.
As for the content, it is a reasonable introduction to Ekman's work. I find that it is missing a grid or hierarchy of feelings, expressions, and leaks that would be most helpful in learning. It's worth a read, but you will have to go through much more training to even start catching liars.