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Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,760 ratings  ·  182 reviews


People--friends, family members, work colleagues, salespeople--lie to us all the time.  Daily, hourly, constantly. None of us is immune, and all of us are victims. According to studies by several different researchers, most of us encounter nearly 200 lies a day. 

Now there’s something we can do about it. Liespotting links three disciplines--facial recognition training,

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2010)
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Rob Freund
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3 stars for good content, good references, good ideas. Minus 2 stars for hocking her own services in the book, being "for business only" in many respects.

Pamela Meyer first intrigued me when I saw her TED talk on deception. There were two key concepts that I’d latched on to and that are echoed in her book. Firstly, that deception is a cooperative act; we buy into deception because of a core desire to have filled (greed, vanity, blissful ignorance, absolution, etc. etc.) The s
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is another that I’m reading in my extended study. It’s a pretty straightforward book about what people do and why the do it when they lie. It gives a clear indication on how to practice lie spotting, but it also brings up a good point:

The average human being lies 60 to 200 times a day. Almost all of these lies are harmless – lying by omission, lying to protect someone’s feeling, lying to aid social interaction. Sometimes we lie by talking; sometimes we lie by keeping our mo
Kathryn Anthony
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting book. I use some of the "tells" when I'm being honest (I say things like 'to be honest with you' because I'm a polite Canadian, and so I feel like I need to qualify anything remotely approaching bluntness. Similarly, I often use qualifiers like 'to my knowledge' about things that might potentially have changed since--maybe that's the law student in me). But the book emphasizes establishing a baseline set of behaviors for individuals, to account for such things, as well as for peop ...more
Aaron Michaux
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Reading this book, I wondered how many times Pamela Meyer distorted the truth, or made outright fabrications (e.g.: in the mini-biographies). There is a lot of reliance on the experiences of trained interrogators; however, interrogators do no better then amatures at lie-spotting. They just /think/ they are good at it. Also, there is no discussion on the role of delusions in lying. For example, trained interrogators illicit a surprising number of false-confessions (at least 15-25%), probably by i ...more
Carrie Poppy
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
''The price of facing reality is ''ordinary misery''.

After Paul Ekman came back from Papua New Guinea, where he discovered that all people universally have 6 basic emotions: joy, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust and anger, he made presentations to therapists working in mental hospitals. They asked him something he had not previously considered: could the nonverbal behaviours Ekman was analyzing reveal whether a person was lying.

The therapists were concerned that mentally ill patient
Mar 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was an odd book - for a book that was supposed to be about how to tell when people are lying, ironically it came across often as disingenuous because of the extravagant claims it made about how it could give the reader an edge in being able to tell true from lies. Some of the "tips" seemed vague, unhelpful, and even contradictory. If someone puts a lot of detail in a story, in one part of the book that's a sign they're lying, while in another part of the book it's a sign of telling the trut ...more
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book thinking it would help me with some Biblical counselling cases (I'm a pastor, and sometimes have folks lie to me). It turns out the book is helpful only in some cases. As a theologian, I make a distinction between deception and violating the 9th commandment, and Meyer doesn't make that distinction. Ultimately, as a Christian the Bible calls me to believe my brother's word, and if I don't and am suspicious of him, that won't be helpful.

There are lots of interesting th
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess if I had some corporate espionage to uncover I might have paid more attention. I looked up the author's twitter account. I thought that the recent supreme court hearings would be an ideal case study for non-verbal emotions. However, she was surprisingly quiet on the subject. I did like her TED talk, however the book left me with the feeling that I would just be ulta suspicious of every human encounter.
John McGee
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Build Trust

Building Trust is the only way to break the viscous cycle of deceit in our world. Great Book and Great Lesson.
Kostas Manowar
Sep 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Aman Mittal
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
"I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible."

-J. D. Salinger, The Cather in the Rye

Being human and being able to communicate and understand each other with our spoken or written words, might make us feel superior in front of other species. We can be on the top of the food chain, the IQ chain and all oth
Alex Kenjeev
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Don't read this book unless you have a lot of time to devote to prioritize learning and practicing what it teaches, both while you're reading the book and afterwards. I didn't, and for that reason I didn't get as much out of this book as I had hoped I would.

I read this book after seeing Ms. Meyer's TED talk on the subject of detecting lies. I was hoping it would help me improve at assessing the underlying realities of business conversations. I read it carefully but quickly - I didn't take the t
First half of the book is about lie detection, pure and simple. I found this portion to be extremely fascinating and will definitely continue doing research on my own.

The second half goes on to talk about ways to sure up your business/association with tips and tricks on building trusting relationships between employees and employers. It also outlines some good negotiation practices and other things probably more important to those with a more business-oriented mind. I was more intere
May 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
blech, what seems like a great idea for a book, becomes a poorly sourced coporate rant on negotiation. i read this after watching meyer's talk, which was kinda one long plug for her book. anyway i got the book from the library, and was subsequently dissappointed. anyone know of a good body language/ face reading book that's out there. you know one written with rigor, and focused upon the science of reading body language instead of ways you can use it to make money for your business. i me ...more
Pamela Huxtable
There's nothing here here you haven't heard of or read of before. Verbal tells, physical cues, facial indicators and body language - it's all here, documented, and with an exemplary tale to go with it.

I have to say, I felt like I needed to take a shower after reading this. And I've decided that I'm okay with the little lies that I'm told - really, I mean it. Go ahead and lie to me. It feels better than analyzing every facial tic or verbal mark.
Brian Williams
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
3 or 4 of the chapters are worthwhile. Those are the chapters that deal with actual lie spotting. The rest of the book is full of how to deal with people in big horrible corporations with deep hierarchy. The moralizing is also a but much to take.
Eimantas Zemaitis
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first picked up this book back in 2014 after seeing the famous Pamela's TED talk, I was eager to obtain this superpower. But after reading the first two chapters, it started to make me paranoid and look for lies everywhere I go - a rather counterproductive perception. Now I realize that this book is not about that. To be able to spot lies you have to go deeper and understand their underlying motives. In the words of the book, "Back an opponent into a corner, and he’ll almost always lie to ...more
Robin Smith
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I probably expected something that the author didn't plan to do: explain how to catch someone in the act of lying. There were a few clues mentioned, but almost the first half was explaining what a lie is, why we tell them, how rampant lying is, and why we need the ability to detect them. Another section was explaining that your company may wish to do a deception audit. Not a lot of this was explained either. You were told that you have to hire an outside company to do it, and this outside compan ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There was no audible format listed, so I stated this was audio CD, but it was actually Audible.

The book is more about corporate culture than the individual. Write a transcript of a verbal contract and have others review it. Assign specific duties to the contracted. It is more difficult for someone to lie if duties are written out explicitly. Audits can confirm truth telling, and discourage weak and inconsistent messages. Truth audits in a company are ways of reinforcing positive beha
Austin Gaghadar
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a very quick and easy read with concise actionable recommendations for how to make sizeable improvements, suggesting very high return on investment. I look forward to putting in to practice and attempting to use the techniques advocated in the book. In addition the light tone of the book made it easy to keep reading and learn the different methods and make it likely that I will reference this book in the future whenever I am interested in brushing up on the key techniques and indic ...more
Richard Angelus
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 lines per hour.

According to one study found that over a one-week period, lies were detected in 37% of phone ca
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Wasn't exactly what I expected. I thought I was going to read a book about different techniques I can use for lie spotting, but instead got a self help book on how to better access a situation at your place of business in order to identify and avoid specific pitfalls create by mustachio twirling co-workers. I know, I'm exaggerating a bit, but not by much.
For a book that advertised techniques to detect deception, I found very few actual techniques in the book, and more anecdotal/stories/scenarios which mi
Stephen Stilwell
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
In times when we are flooded with information, it is impossible to cross-reference every fact that reaches us; that’s why it is important to know how to spot a lie. All basic human emotions have universal facial expressions attached to them, but each culture has a different way to control this display of our emotions.

Today, our reliance on technology in communications enables us to lie more often because we can hide our facial expressions. The approach most often displayed in movies is less eff
Sara Mendez
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
(3/5) - Lies: we’re all guilty of telling them and none of us are immune from believing them. Pamela Meyer estimates that most of us encounter nearly 200 lies a day and in the first half of her book, she gives us tips and tricks to become better detectors of deception. I enjoyed the part of the book that gave a comprehensive survey of the research in the field of deception and focused on facial recognition and interrogation training. I find the topic fascinating. However, my interest started to ...more
Fábio Santos
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting read and a very good introduction to the complex world of deception.

The author focus mainly on revealing to the reader the major signs of deception and how to uncover them.

I’ve personally picked this book to understand how people deceit and what signals to look for so that one can dig deeper and seek the truth.

The author as fulfilled my expectations and made me more aware of where to look for evidence. Awareness of the signals makes you discover more about your surround
Mars Dorian
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good and concise book about detecting lies.

Sure, you've read most of it before: look out for micro-gestures, find discrepancies between verbal expressions and body movements, inform yourself about the 'target' and trust your gut.

The author goes into detail about the BASIC method used by law enforcement, which I found useful.

The last 3rd of the book deals with detecting fraud and lies from employees in big corporations, which I ignored due to the corporate lingo and lack
Namushi Mwananyambe
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read alone, I guess it is a good book. But I felt that it did a lot of heavy lifting from the work of other authors. Granted she acknowledged each one of them but I found that her own ideas were not that many. The last part of the book was really a marketing piece for her services more than anything else. The tips were useful nonetheless.

Notwithstanding the above, it is still a good read especially if you haven't read any of the works she refers to.
John Tangney
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was interesting, listing techniques for, well, spotting lies. The coverage is a bit uneven, though; some items got in-depth treatment and some got barely more than a mention. Maybe the latter are self-evident and I'm just a bit slow?

I gave up when I reached the second half of the book. It seemed like an attempt to justify "deception detection". Why not just put it out there and leave the decision as to appropriate use to the reader?
Arya FrouzaanFar
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good place to start detecting lies, but it only gets you so far. (I expected in-depth behavior and word analysis, and found none. There is also the fact that a big part of the whole work is practice.) It does, however, give one very good pointers (both to liespotting techniques and to external resources) and it does also talk about trust at a corporate level and at a personal level in chapters nine and ten, respectively. A recommended read!
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Pamela Meyer is founder and CEO of Calibrate, a leading deception detection training company, and of social networking company Simpatico Networks. She holds an MBA from Harvard, an MA in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate School, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. She has extensive training in the use of visual clues and psychology to detect deception.
“In 1905, Freud wrote: “No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips. Betrayal oozes out of him from every pore.” 2 likes
“Resist the urge to fill in missing information when listening to a person’s story. Pay attention to exactly what is said and not said.” 1 likes
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