Alpha Reads: Spy The Lie

Once, I played a game of Monopoly with a man I’ll call Bill. I use the term “man” very loosely, because he was definitely of the masculine gender, yet he was sixteen going on seventeen.

In the course of events, Bill had two railroads and I had one. I had two green properties. He had one. The following exchange is an approximate transcript of the conversation that took place over the course of the game.

Bill: I’ll trade you my railroads for your greens.

Me: No.

Bill: I’m giving you a great deal.

Me: It’ll be a great deal for you.

Bill: Come on man, you’re being so stupid right now. It’s a great deal, my railroads for your green properties.

Me: I’m not that stupid, Bill. You’re going to be able to build houses.

Bill: But it’s a great deal…


I would tell you the rest of the conversations, but when I listen to broken records it’s only because the album hasn’t been re-released yet. So why am I sharing this with you, here on the Salem Author from Bennington? Isn’t this more Confessions of a Cart Jockey territory?

The answer is that I’m currently reading a book called Spy the Lie Co-written by CIA investigators Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carcinero and former NSA analyst Don Tennant, this is the book that teaches you the deception-detection model that allows you to tell you who ignited the pants that are currently hanging from the telephone wire.

Why am I reading this book? Well, two of my published works are in the mystery/amateur sleuth genre. My sister is also writing in this genre. I originally became aware of this book in an article in Bottom Line, and it got me to thinking that learning how to spot a liar could also be a key component in creating a convincing criminal in such a series of novels. Also, imagine carrying this book with you into just about any kind of negotiation you can think of. Car buying, bank loans, and any instance where you know you’re going to be played with could be so much easier if you were to openly carry this book with you into the office, occasionally opening and glancing at the pages every time the guy on the other end of the desk is talking.

The example I’ve given you seemed like the perfect way to illustrate some of what you will learn in this book.

Bill attempted to use “convince vs. convey” by offering to trade his railroads for my green properties. By emphasizing that he only wanted to make a “great deal” he hoped to convince me to accept the trade, which would have definitely been a “great trade”, but mostly for him.

He tried repeating the statement over and over again. “It’s a great deal”, “I’m giving you a great deal”. In a sense, he was hoping that the repeating himself would have an effect on my brain by forcing influence. Then he tried to go on the attack mode by telling me how stupid I would be to refuse the deal. Since this game was being played in a classroom, surrounded by other individuals, some of whom were kibitzing, Bill hoped to shame me into taking the deal that would have given him an advantage over me in the game. Even after I called him out on it, he continued to believe that if he placed a stick on his head, he could convince me that he was a tree.

Suffice it to say, Bill never got his “great deal”. And this was before I had even read the book.



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