Friday, August 29, 2014

418 (2014 #46). Spy the Lie

by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero, with Don Tennant

read by Fred Berman

This book is subtitled, "Former CIA Officers Teach You How To Detect Deception," and that is exactly what this book is about.  Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero are all former Central Intelligence Agency employees who are now the founding partners of QVerity, "a company that provides training and consulting services worldwide in deception detection, screening, and interviewing techniques" (page 243).  Tennant, the "writer" (as opposed to the other three, who are listed as "authors"), is also a partner in the company, a former research analyst with the National Security Agency, and a former journalist and editor.

The book describes a methodology and techniques to identify when someone *might* be trying to deceive you.

I think what's best about the book are the real-life examples that are used to illustrate the principles of the book taken from in-the-headlines interviews by journalists or law enforcement:  Bill Clinton, O. J. Simpson, Dick Cheney, Tea Party member and former Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling, murderer Scott Peterson, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, sexting Congressman Anthony Weiner, and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.  The second of two appendices is a lengthy narrative analysis of Bob Costa's November 2011 interview of Sandusky before he was tried and found guilty of sexual abuse of minors.

Of course, it's easier to conduct an analysis identifying deception indicators after the interview, as opposed to during it.  I don't think the book provides quite enough detail on applying these techniques in real time - but of course, how would the authors make their money in training and consulting if they gave away all their secrets in the book?

The book is full of many examples of deceptive behaviors (both verbal and nonverbal) encountered in interviews, as well as the types of questions to ask.  Furthermore, the first of two appendices includes suggested questions for four scenarios a reader might have:  interviewing a potential caregiver for children, asking your child about drug or alcohol use, confronting a significant other about infidelity, and asking about theft situations.

This audiobook won the 2013 Audie Award for the Business / Educational category, which is why I purchased it for my library's collection.  The book is very well read by actor Fred Berman.  However, as with most nonfiction, I'd have to recommend reading rather than listening to this book.  I found I often had to listen to some sections of the book a number of times before I felt I "got" the information presented.  Even though Berman reads the appendices, sidebars and the information in the figures / diagrams, those aspects in particular are more "readable" in print.  Furthermore, the print book has a glossary, about the authors section, and index.

I'd read this book again in hopes of absorbing more of its material.  If anything, it should help me figure out when a politician or celebrity is lying.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

[The audiobook, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from and returned to my university library and my local public library respectively.]

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