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Paul Ekman's classic book on how to tell when someone is lying has been issued in a third edition which includes his more recent research. Made popular by the Fox TV show "Lie to Me," this book documents the line of research used, not only by the show, but by Secret Service, police, jealous spouses and a host of others who want to be better at detecting lies. New material includes how to identify the facial expressions indicating that someone is likely to become violent.

Ekman points out that we often look for the wrong things when trying to detect deception. Even much of the information he has reviewed in training materials for job interviewers, jury selection, and other deception detection professionals is just plain wrong. The hard part about lying effectively is not concealing information, it is concealing the emotions the liar feels while lying. Guilt, fear and even the "duping delight" a clever liar feels when getting away with a falsehood can provide clues obvious to a trained observer. While Ekman acknowledges the value of verbal slips and body language cues, his research reveals the greater value of focusing on facial expressions, particularly "microexpressions" that are displayed and quickly concealed. He teaches readers to identify and interpret them.

Some of the interesting points the book makes as it teaches us to catch liars in the act:

- We should avoid the "Brokaw Hazard" of assuming someone is lying because their speech seems evasive or convoluted. Some people just speak this way, lying or not.
- We should also avoid the "Othello Error" of branding someone a liar because of fidgety behavior, such as repeatedly touching themselves or adjusting their clothing. They may be uncomfortable, but are not necessarily lying.
- Emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, disgust, distress, happiness, contentment, excitement, surprise and contempt are conveyed by distinct facial expressions, common across all cultures.
- Deception detection is most effective by someone who is familiar with a possible liar's usual behavior and can notice deviations from it.

Paul Ekman's book is recommended for anyone interested in detecting lying. It is a rough read in some places for a popular book, but is far more readable that the journal articles we would need to read without it. Forgive the author his writing style and learn some valuable lessons about his area of expertise.
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on 12 March 2007
This is one of the better books about this kind of thing; unlike the ridiculous garbage spouted by people such as David J Lieberman, whose books are rolled off the production line and based on nothing more than a desire to steal your money and not a shred of genuine expertise.

Paul Ekman is certainly an expert in his field, and this book demonstrates that expertise.

There are no stupid claims about never being lied to again, no sensational ability on offer to you if you buy this book, just a balanced, well written study of why people lie, and ways that you can learn to spot the signs of that lying.

The whole book is extremely informative, and its author's views are carefully explained to the reader without being un-necessarily academic, although the style and feel of the writing still possesses the authority you would expect from a world leader in this particular branch of Psychology.

An excellent piece of work.
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on 26 July 1999
This book is a very good resource for separating the truth from popular fiction (e.g. eye contact) regarding detecting deception. The reading gets very bland at times, but the person bent on becoming a good detector will find it very useful.
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on 18 April 2013
A great place to start if you are interested in detection/lying research. Ekman writes with clarity and gives a thorough overview to the area. Interesting applications and good indices/tables in back for the would-be lie-detector (though take heed of Ekman's cautions). Good reading for general knowledge on what is true and untrue about ability to tell and detect lies.
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on 9 February 2016
You've seen the TV Show (now available on Prime) now read the Book that inspired it.

Ekman pulls no punches in the application of his experiences and updating the teach your self aspect of deception detection.
Providing insight to behaviour paradigms and aspects of reasonings behind lying, the narrative is not set up like some school text book, it starts out simply enough as a 'story' (which may or may not be true) and moves along chapter by chapter through the uneasy waters of deception, detection and the architecture of lying.

A must read if your Paranoid, or simply if your looking to expand your psychoanalytical techniques relating to life and work matters, I picked it up as an addition to my psychology studies, in that I find it invaluable in the Private Security Industry where I occasionally consult, where a persons' lying could verily compromise the very functionality; the very security of the business at hand.

Have I caught any one yet through this book? Yes, though I'm not at liberty to discuss that.

Is any of it fool proof? No, the 'Human Factor' will always play a part, though technology is fast attempting to place it in obsolescence, people can detect faster than any technological trickery available to date.

Is this a Manual? Not that it is traditional in its format, simply take the concepts and expand upon them, following the research papers as listed in the Appendix and perhaps then it's a Manual.

Be careful on how you use the material in regards to relationships, Ekman states on page 162; chapter Six: "The consequences can be disastrous for the disbelieved truthful adult as well. A friendship may be lost, or a job, or even a life..."
Though in my circumstances people first perceived as honourable loved ones; friends and colleagues, I was lucky with the revelations of their Sociopathy and Psychopathy and exfiltrating from the situations, others might not be so.
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on 7 July 2014
Brilliant! Was I telling the truth?
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on 5 January 2015
Another excellent book by Paul Ekman. Since Lie to Me facial expressions, body language and the spoken word have become a big interest of mine. I practice at work with the knowledge I have acquired
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A good and useful book, I think.

I did get a little bored with it after a while, and resolved to go back to it later.
But what I read was well described and useful information.
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on 26 October 2015
Very good and in-depth book.
Can be hard for non-native english speakers to understand from time to time
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on 29 December 2014
fantastic look at paul ekmans work. definitely worth a read
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