November 1, 2008

Trust Me: This Book Is Useful

Never Be Lied to Again: How to get the truth in 5 minutes or less in any conversation or situation by David J. Lieberman, PhD (St. Martin’s Press, 1998, ISBN: 0-312-18634-7)

This book was written by: Dr. David J. Lieberman, who is “affectionately referred to as a hired gun,”(p.2) and singularly adept at marketing this book to the intensely paranoid. “When you know a person’s true intent, you have the power to control the situation,”(p.1) writes Lieberman, who also says that one of his clients described his techniques as “like having a man inside their camp—an outpost in their head” (p.1).

What is in this book: Ways that people will lie to you, and ways that you can see through their lies to draw the truth from them. You may not have known that “the person who is lying will probably slouch […] he may place physical objects between himself and his accuser”(p.26), and that other common signals to look for include poor posture(p.23), being uncomfortable with silence (p.31), not giving a direct answer (p.32), or an obsession with establishing a contrary position—e.g., “the man who claims to be adamantly against prostitution may be covering up his true feelings, which are the exact opposite”(p.36). Dr. Lieberman also directs readers to look for a lack of eye contact (p.13), mumbling, (p.24) and “take note if he is trying to control his breathing to calm himself”(p.54). This, along with the warning to “look for signs of distraction and an inability to pay attention to what’s going on”(p.55) definitively prove that people who claim to have ADD, social anxiety, or asthma are just filthy liars.

What is not in this book: A blueprint for torture (wink, wink). Dr. Lieberman’s methods to get at the truth include eleven “attack sequences” followed by eleven “silver bullets.” “If terms like arsenal, weapons, and bullets seem warlike, it’s understandable. But they’re thoroughly appropriate considering the situation [….] You need to see the process of detecting deceit for what it really is—a verbal battle”(p.67). In his opening note to readers, Dr. Lieberman cautions that his techniques could be used for ill, but “to live in a world where information is distributed based upon the damage that can be caused by the lowest common denominator is to spiral away from progress and away from hope”(p.xiii). He also warns that some of his techniques, especially the one called Heaven and Hell, “should be used as a last resort. It is with high hope and expectation that this and all of the other processes be practiced with judgment, common sense, and decency”(p.165). Of course, “if you want to influence a person’s behavior, you need to attach pain to the direction you don’t want him to move in”(p.180).

Would you recommend this book to Scarlett O’Hara? Yes, if only so she could dramatically shake her fist at the sky and scream, “As God is my witness, I will never be lied to again!

Would you recommend this book to Maury Povich? No, if the information in this book became common knowledge, his pool of guests would shrink dramatically, so he'd probably try to have all copies of this book destroyed.

What was interesting about this book? Dr. Lieberman’s hypothetical situations for using his techniques in romantic relationships. He addresses the obvious questions of whether your partner really loves you, but also sketches a scene where Pamela discovers that “she has contracted the herpes virus”(p.95). Because she is familiar with the techniques in this book, “she calls both guys up and casually informs them that she just found out that she has herpes. The responses she got led her straight to the culprit”(p.96). He also discusses a situation where “during their first intimate encounter, Randy asks his new girlfriend if she’s ever been tested for AIDS. [….] If she was concerned about her health, as her answer implied, then she would have asked him the same question”(p.44).

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