Christopher Dillingham’s “Dissecting Pinocchio” is a good book on lie detection. Dillingham is a police officer who’s well-versed in interrogations, and you can tell from his stories that he has a lot of experience to back up his observations. He also talks about studies that have been done about lie detection.
The best thing about this book is the author’s realism about lie detection. There are no baseless, ridiculous claims about how x always means x. The author is used to applying these concepts to real-world situations and is the first to point out that establishing base-line behavior is very important. Nothing means anything in a vacuum. His examples of establishing baseline behavior in criminal interrogations gives you good information for what that means in practice.
The other thing I liked about the book was how he pointed out how nonsensical NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is, specifically the part having to do with eye direction. NLP has this theory that is oft-repeated about how you can tell by a person’s eye direction whether they are accessing real memories or using the imagination-part of the brain to create a lie. There is zero evidence for this. Despite that fact, it has spread around, repeated by hacks and charlatans across the world. It’s even, very surprisingly, taught in many interrogation schools, which is Dillingham’s pet peeve, and one he tries to battle with this book.
Dillingham also points out that he feels a responsibility to present a realistic portrayal of what’s possible with lie detection, including its limits. He implies that he could have put out a less accurate portrayal of lie detection science, one that exaggerated the usefulness of the skill, and sold more copies. I believe him, because I see a lot of so-called “body language experts” who, in my opinion, dramatically simply the subject of lie detection and exaggerate the results that are possible with it. (Not to mention that they mostly repeat the same cliched observations that you’ve heard a million times before.) So I respect Dillingham’s refusal to give an overly-simplified view of the topic.
With regards to poker, the book will help you understand some basic human psychology and physical behaviors if you aren’t already fairly well-versed in it. There are several anecdotes about how criminal suspects (guilty or not) behaved in high-stress interrogations that were very enlightening and interesting, and well worth the cost of admission just on their own. I think the book will improve your understanding of human psychology, and that never hurts at the poker table.
It’s a good book. Only minor thing is that the book would have benefited immensely from editing; there’s plenty of organizational problems and typos. That is unimportant to me, though, because the important thing is the content, and it’s quality.