Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant, “Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception”.





Reviewed by Femflection

How to spot a lie and get people to tell you the truth?

Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero – former CIA officers – are among the world’s best at recognizing deceptive behavior.

In “Spy the Lie” they share their proven techniques for uncovering a lie. They show how a special methodology which was developed to detect deception in the counterterrorism and criminal investigation can be applied in our daily lives.

Some “Spy the Lie” quotes:

  • “Human behavior isn’t necessarily logical, nor does it necessarily conform to our expectations. What each of us thinks of as logical is a reflection of our own beliefs, and of our own moral compass.”
  • “Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.”
  • “All the lies that have ever been told or ever will be told fall into three categories, or strategies: lies of commission, lies of omission, and lies of influence.” 
  • “There’s only a casual relationship between human behavior and logic.” 
  • “He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. —Sigmund Freud” 
  • “Imagine that you were able to identify deception in response to these and the countless other questions like them that arise all around you every day—that you were successful in developing skills that take you to what we call the “spy-the-lie moment.” 
  • “Although the word tends to have a negative connotation, “bias” is a simple fact of life, and it’s not necessarily negative at all. We all have biases. If we have a favorite sports team, that’s one of our biases. If we’re not completely neutral about something, we’re necessarily biased for or against it. The problem is that our biases have a huge impact on whether or not we believe someone. We don’t have the luxury of checking our biases at the door when, for example, we need to interview a person. So we need some means of managing our biases so we don’t even have to think about them during the interview.” 

“Spy the Lie” – the book:


Through fascinating anecdotes from their intelligence careers, the authors teach readers how to recognize deceptive behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, that we all tend to display when we respond to questions untruthfully.

Examples of obstacles that get in the way of detecting deception are the belief that people will not lie to you, the bias that people are innocent until proven guilty and being uncomfortable judging others.

In the book you will find many specific suggestions on what to look for in suspicious/deceptive behavior.

Failure to understand a simple question or directly answering a question, directly responding with a denial, repeating the question, making general statements in response, non-answer statements, inconsistent statements, going into attack mode, procedural compliance, trying to butter up the questioner, involving religion (e.g. ‘I swear to God’), selective memory, and smiling in response to questions are all indicators of untruthfulness.

Truthful responses tend to be direct and spontaneous, and the person is alert and composed.

Unfortunately, untruthful persons can also show these behaviors – especially if prepared.

Interesting read!

You will not only learn useful perspectives on detecting deception, but also understand that lie detection is not easy at all and requires an open mind and clear strategy.

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