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"To Tell You the Truth", by James Lackey

"To tell you the truth" is in my opinion one of the silliest things a salesman can ever say. My buddy fell over when I said "what, you've been lying to me all this time?" Salesman said "what?" I said "ugh-huh now you are going to tell me the truth."

The next good one is "we are like a family here" in regards to a job or place of employment. I say "oh great does that mean I can borrow money and you'll help me move furniture?"

The best ever was when Vic was talking to the Palindrome about how honest his childhood was with his Dad. The word "honesty" came up and Vic immediately received a full audit of his books.

The worst is me. I am the family member with the sharp tongue, honesty is the best policy, style that has caused more strife in my life than all the lies in the world. It is best just to keep your big mouth shut. But I can't, I can't take it ... "have you tested that."

I do find ethics intriguing. I am caught in the middle of my Atheist father, and him laughing at me for taking my children to church. I believe in a high authority for parenting. In order to keep this post from the Hillman worst, even with 57 each - i's i i i's in or the latest spec list post joke "the I's have it", a few books.

The worst: Index of Leading cultural indicators by Bill Bennett a quirky mix of politics and individual rights to choose yet how all of society is doomed if the majority of data mined examples make the wrong choices. All we need to do is read Rand or the Arm Chair Economist or even Running Money by Kessler that has a cool descriptive way around Andy Groves arguments that America is doomed because of the lack of engineers that will work for 5 dollars a day.

Some one advised me to read " Winning Habits, 4 Secrets that will Change Your Life" by Lyles. I was a bit disappointed in the book due to my expectations and aspirations being so high. Well, of course we read so many sales Ziglar to Tony Robbins type books for "racing focus" that this book seemed basic. Yet I have since found it useful for my children.

Toxic Parents by Susan Forward is a fantastic book for all of us that have hang ups from a childhood in some way. Between that book and my experience in the Army I realized how great my father always was and understood "why" my mother could not overcome her parents problems. Therefore my kids will not be the third generational memed. My mom ever since says "Jimmy understands me". Hades, I had better call now its her birthday.

On the "feel" for day traders I stumbled on one of my wife's books 10 Stupid Things Women do to Mess up Their Lives its all emotional mumbo jumbo, as men we have much less of the Kinaesthetic needs of women but I did laugh at a few. Reading women's books is great for young men wishing to score. My mother has 5 sisters and they trained me well when I was a teenager. "Jimmy you want to get girls? Read this."

Dr. Art Cooper told me to re-read Learned Optimism by Seligman one day when I was venting of losses on the Spec List.

Of course the 18 simple rules HILLMAN 2006 Spec List post on posting is one of the best things I have read all year. The gist about lies and truth, honesty and deception, is all very cool for traders to study. Yet when it comes down to it its all about "you" and the markets are nothing about "your feel" and couldn't care a less about your feelings. Yet it can be described that the mistress will push us to breaking point and have us sell out good longs at the exact wrong time. "Markets are easier to describe than predict", Vic or Tom Ryan's uncertainty principle on the open and closing prices.

Denial is what Ken Smith will warn us all about. He can give you the correct Bible verse off of the top of his head. I use his knowledge for an example for the kids. I explain it in kids terms, then in Daddy's terms, what society thinks, then the ultimate authority, God.

Finally, "to be honest with you", should I on my previous job interviews have been totally honest when they asked "what are your weaknesses"? Well when I was 17 I drank an entire bottle of Wild Irish Rose and got sick all over my moms rug. I never drank wine again. If wine is served at dinner I often have to excuse myself, so some 20 years later I will be unable to do wine tasting for the firm.

What in the world is the "truth?" "if you are innocent why are you calling a lawyer?" Nice try copper. "Nice essay, I have a few more questions though so when may I call you on the phone?" Nice try reporter.


John K. adds:

When we think about the general subject of deception we tend to focus on lying but its most interesting aspects are those beyond the strictly verbal, extending even well beyond the human species. The Scientific American Mind, July 25 2005, lead article is titled "The Joy of Telling Lies", parts of which I, in the spirit of candor, lift verbatim.

In it are described several interesting test studies, among the results and/or specifics of which:

  • Women tend to lie to make other people feel better. Men tend to lie to make themselves feel more important.
  • Much mendacity in search of mating opportunities.
  • Credible liars tend to be more successful than their more truthful brethren. It helps to believe your own lies to minimize non-verbal clues.
  • The somewhat depressed are more accurate in their assessment of other people's attitudes and opinions about them. This ability degenerates as the psychological symptoms of depression lift in response to treatment.
  • The somewhat depressed deceive themselves less than so-called normal folk. (this one i found quite amusing: testers clandestinely manipulated the outcome of a series of games. Healthy subjects who participated were inclined to take credit when when they won the rigged games and also typically underestimated their contribution to the outcome when they did poorly. "this market's so irrational!".)
  • Primates deceive, so do plants. The mirror orchid example: its blue blossoms are dead ringers for females wasps. the flower also manufactures chemical cocktails that simulate the pheromones released by females to attract mates.
  • Deception, even self-deception, are arguably both evolutionary traits, possibly among the most important to survival of many different species, particularly our own.
  • Little wonder there's so much bullsh*t everywhere.