Informative and entertaining
Reviewed in the United States on 13 July 2018
7.5 of 10
Unlike the same authors' book Spy the Lie, this book is not as much on how to spot a lie but on how to exert influence to elicit truthful information from a person who wants to withhold it. This is not a learn-how book, but more a see-how-we-do-it book. However, readers will learn many things about interviewing, interrogation and negotiation based on the authors' long years of experience in getting the truth out of people using the system they describe in this book.
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE SYSTEM
> The core of the interviewing system is keeping people being questioned in short-term thinking, so nothing of what it is said leads them to think about the serious consequences of their confession.
> The use of non-coercive interviewing and interrogation.
> Easily and effortlessly switching from interview mode to interrogation mode by using a transition statement based on a direct observation of concern, a direct observation of guilt, or a mix of the two., the aim being that of conveying to suspects that what they said is not working, that we know they did a bad thing and elicit a confession with the least possible resistance. One of the main points in the book is
" a guilty person just wants to be understood, because being understood allows him to feel that he’s been forgiven. That observation encapsulates what the monologue is designed and executed to accomplish." ( (p. 42)
> The transition statement is followed by monologue that aims to softening of the defences of the suspect, and usually contains 1/ rationalization of the action under investigation, 2/ Projecting the blame onto society, the system's, the government's, whatever, so it's not entirely their fault. 3/ Minimising the seriousness of their actions and conveying the message that it could be worse. 4/ Socialising the situation, by pointing out that other people have been in their same situation. 5/ Convincing them that telling the truth will get them out of trouble. 6/ Customising the monologue to the people in front of us. 9/ Giving people the impression that we understand them. and doing so in a way that is genuine or feels so to the other person.
> Learning to handle the three main ways of resistance: use of convincing statements that are unrelated to the question; showing of extreme emotion, interruption of the interrogator's monologue to make denial statements.
> Digging for extra information by using presumptive questions, asking for what else, and using bait questions like 'is there any reason'? among others.
> Abiding by some golden rules: 1/ Not judging the person under interrogation, as this harms the process of getting the truth. Sometimes good people do stupid things, so it's best for the interrogator to be perceived as a mediator not as a judge 2/ Never doing or saying anything that could make an innocent person confess. The aim is to get the truth not a confession. and 3/ treating the suspect with as much respect and dignity possibly
> Easy to understand and very entertaining to read book.
> All of the stories told are entertaining and educative.
> The framed summaries throughout the book are really good and useful. A good summary of some of the points discussed in the book can be found in the boxed summary 'lessons we have learned' in pp. 144-148.
> One of the main points that the authors make is that to get a confession, you don't need to be coercive, aggressive, or violent because that would hardly get the truth out. Most of chapter 13, The Elephant in the Room, is full of great and sound advice on why coercion does not work.
> Although readers won't learn how to do what these guys do by reading a book, some of the things they say is easily applicable to daily life settings.
> The book has a subject index, which, to my delight, is hyperlinked.
> If you have read Spy the Lie, you will find that some of the real-life cases examples, described in that book are also repeated here.
> I found the 2nd appendix full of platitudes, and totally unnecessary.
> Although all the authors advise being genuine and sincere monologues and ways of conveying empathy and comfort, being genuine and not making false promises, in a couple of cases they advise things like: "Conveying a fictitious account of some dimension of your background or experience, in order to demonstrate sincerity and empathy in an elicitation situation, can be an effective means of creating a bond that will encourage a person to reveal the truthful information you’re seeking." (p. 199).
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