Get the Truth | Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero

FullSizeRenderMain Theme: Forensic Science & Interrogation
For People Who: Want to persuade others to tell the truth.

Last year I read Spy the Lie by the above authors and, I must say, it was the coolest book I’ve ever read. Former CIA officers teaching you how to tell when someone is lying to you – yeah, pretty amazing! This year the sequel came out: Get the Truth. It’s a great companion to Spy the Lie, however, rather than catching a lie, it takes the next step on how to get a confession. Now I’m not in law enforcement and am merely an interested party in these techniques and methods. The reason I first picked up Spy the Lie is because I wanted to know how to tell if my child lied to me. These books are fantastic for every day application such as parenting, workplace situations, and more. I’d highly recommend you pick them both up.

Without realizing it, deceptive people often convey a revealing message in the words they choose to articulate the lie. -Get the Truth, pg. 19

Big Takeaways

  • People want to tell the truth. They want to get the burden of the lie off their shoulders. You need to show them that you are an ally helping them elevate that burden of guilt.
  • Keep the subject’s mind thinking about the short term. If they start thinking about the consequences of a confession, they’re going to clam up.
  • Encourage the subject when they begin to share information. Tell them “Thank you” or “I know this was hard for you, but you’ve been helpful.” Always be compassionate and show respect and dignity.

Brief Summary

First let me be clear, this is one of those books you have to pick up and read yourself if you’re remotely interested in this topic. If you like reading stories from former CIA officers and how they get people to tell them their darkest secrets, the chances are pretty high that you’ve already looked this book up on Amazon to buy it for yourself. Here are just a few of the steps in their method:

The Best-Case/Worst-Case Continuum

When interviewing a subject, you have to aim at a particular point along the continuum: is it the best case scenario or the worst case scenario. If you aim too close to the best case, you may walk away without pressing hard enough for the information. If you aim too close to the worst case, you may walk away with nothing at all because the persons’ defenses will shoot up and, in turn, they’ll shut up.

The DOC and the DOG

When switching from interview mode to interrogation mode (when you want to start getting info) a transitional statement is necessary. This sentence takes the form of a Direct Observation of Concern (DOC) when you’re in the Best-Case Scenario region and may look something like, “Thank you for being helpful, but the thing is, what you’re saying isn’t adding up and I need your help in clarifying it.

The Direct Observation of Guilt (DOG) would be used when you are on the worst-case scenario end and you’re pretty sure things are looking bad for the subject. It my look something like, “Based on what you’re saying, and the facts of the case, there’s no doubt that you’re the person that did such-n-such.

The Monologue

The transitional statement moves you into the all important monologue. From my understanding, the monologue is all about getting the subject to know that you see things from their perspective. If the subject can “be convinced that his questioner could grasp the situation from his perspective, the chances of getting the truth out of him would rise tremendously. So how do we go about giving the person we’re interrogating the impression that we understand him?” (pg. 42) Well, it certainly isn’t easy. The authors spend several chapters walking through how to construct and deliver the monologue. Even as a pastor he stands up and teaches, I found their techniques intriguing and applicable to speaking with large crowds and not just interrogating a subject.

Keep in mind that as critical as the content of the monologue is, delivery trumps it – it’s that important. No matter how brilliant and compelling what you’re saying is, if it isn’t delivered effectively, the person you’re interrogating won’t even hear it. If you’re manner is harsh and overbearing, he’ll see you as an opponent…but if he sees you as someone who’s treating him respectfully and professionally, someone who’s objective rather than out to get him, someone who doesn’t appear to be an enemy, his resistance will be dampened simnifically. The beautiful part is it’s all working to your advantage rather than to his, but he doesn’t know it. –Getting the Truth, pg. 44-45


This is obviously a tiny portion of what the authors discuss and teach in the Get the Truth. As I said, it was incredibly interesting to me, and surprisingly applicable to everyday life. I dare not write any more for fear I misrepresent their methods and explanations. From getting an employee to confess about stealing office supplies, to getting your teenager to admit where they actually where late last night – you’ll be surprised to see how much real life application there is. Pick it up, you’ll enjoy it!

Information and Personal Rating

General Information:

Personal Ratings (1-10)

  • Applicability: 8
  • Readability: 10
  • Originality: 10
  • Recommendation: Yes – it’s such a cool book with incredible stories!

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