According to a new biography, a man who became infamous for deception got his start at a young age. As a high-school sophomore, this young man was assigned to present a book report to his class.
Because he never got around to reading anything, he stood up in the classroom and proceeded to tell his classmates about “Hunting and Fishing” by Peter Gunn – a book that didn’t exist. When the teacher asked him to show her the book, the student calmly replied that he couldn’t because he’d already returned it to the library.
The young student was Bernard Madoff, who later in life became notorious for his Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars.
Santa Claus may know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice this time of year, but spotting a liar isn’t always simple.
In the book “The Day America Told the Truth,” research showed that 91 percent of Americans admit to lying routinely, while 36 percent confessed to dark, important lies. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they lie regularly to parents, 75 percent to friends, 73 percent to siblings, 69 percent to spouses, 81 percent about their feelings, 43 percent about their income, and 40 percent about sex.
Psychologist Michael Lewis of Rutgers University says there are three types of lies: (1) Lies to protect feelings, such as saying a gift is nice when you actually hate it; (2) Lies to avoid punishment; and (3) Lies of self-deception.
While the first type might be acceptable, the other two are never okay. It’s important to know that you are dealing with honest people who can be trusted. But how do you know?
The TV show “Lie To Me,” which ran from 2009-2011, featured a psychologist who could recognize lying by observing the slightest change of expression or a subtle unconscious gesture. Most of us aren’t that skilled, but you can learn to spot a lie by paying close attention. Here’s what to watch and listen for:
A CIA agent was told to find a small village in Ireland and pick up some highly sensitive information from a secret operative stationed there whose name was Murphy.
The CIA man was told the agent would identify himself when he heard the code phrase, “The sun is shining … the grass is green … and the cows are ready for pasture.”
So the agent located a small village in County Cork and checked into a local guest house under an assumed name. Seeking to stretch his legs, he was walking down a country road when he saw a farmer coming toward him. He stopped the man and said, “I’m looking for a man
“Well, you’ve come to the right place,” said the farmer, “but we have a butcher who is named Murphy, a baker named Murphy and an auto mechanic on the edge of town who is named Murphy. In fact, my own name is Murphy.”
Thinking he might have stumbled onto the right man already, the CIA agent softly repeated the code phrase, “The sun is shining … the grass is green … and the cows are ready for pasture.”
“Oh,” said the farmer, “you’re looking for Murphy the Spy – he’s in that town in the other direction over there!”
Mackay’s Moral: Honesty is not just the best policy – it should be your only policy.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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