The one-sentence summary

Treat information with great suspicion until you know the real story.


  • Eighty per cent of companies think that they are fraud free, but a recent survey actually revealed fraud in forty five per cent of them
  • There are seven degrees of deceit:
  • White lie: told to make someone feel better or to avoid embarrassment
  • Fib: relatively insignificant, such as excuses and exaggerations
  • Blatant: whoppers used when covering up mistakes or apportioning blame
  • Bullshit: a mixture of those above combined with spin and bluff to give the best impression
  • Political: similar to bullshit but with much bigger scale and profile
  • Criminal: illegal acts from fraud to murder, and their subsequent denial
  • Ultimate: so large that it must be true. As Joseph Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”


  • It confirms what we all suspect – that the workplace constantly bombards us with lies, fakery and spin
  • Case histories of Enron,, the European Union and others provide the proof on a grand scale
  • Deconstructions of other levels of lying help the reader to navigate their way through the day-to-day types. You can then decide how to react.
  • It has tips on how to suck up to the boss, pass the buck and endure meetings
  • Everybody should read the chapter on Lies and Leadership

“The truth is more important than the facts.” Frank Lloyd Wright

“Those that think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow colour blind.” Austin O’Malley

“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” George Carlin


  • The book essentially condemns most corporate cultures and so needs to be viewed lightly by those who have to work in them
  • There is a moral dilemma lurking within: do you tell the truth and get trod on, or join the liars?