Would They Lie To You?, the follow-up to the quite-well-selling Romps, Tots & Boffins… is out now. The Mail called it “brutally funny”.
Where Romps dealt with the sometimes-shifty language of newspapers, Lie deals with, well, everyone else. In particular, the people who want your time, your money or your votes.
You can think of it as a spotters’ guide to evasion, or as a handbook for success.
“This is a book about how to succeed through obscurity. Not by lying; lying is wrong. But you can steer a truck through the gap between a lie and the truth. This book will tell you how to load the truck.”
It’s a tough world out there, and everyone wants something from you. You need a guide book.
Would They Lie To You? explains how to make money by guessing the future, why “cautiously optimistic” is the best answer to most questions, and why you should be worried when your employer announces that “our staff are our greatest asset”.
It covers vital life skills:
– avoiding blame
– using words and statistics to prove anything
– sounding like you’re saying one thing when you’re actually saying the opposite
– taking credit for other people’s work
It has lists of words, like these ones…
humbled – proud. As in, ‘I’m deeply humbled to accept this award, as I shall now demonstrate by gently boasting for the next three minutes.’ To describe people who’ve actually been humbled, try ‘humiliated’.
a real danger – there is no danger of this happening at all.
with respect – please die.
with the greatest respect – please die now.
that’s deeply patronizing – I’m not going to dispute your conclusion, but I think you should feel bad for reaching it.
technocrat – someone who understands the subject, but whom I wish you to ignore. antonym: ‘independent expert’.
consultation – we’re not going to let the fact that we can’t work out how to do it stop us from announcing what we want to do.
regret – we’re sorry that people are upset about the thing that we did that we’re not sorry we did.
And it has Venn diagrams, like this one:
people are always saying this sort of thing