Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's…

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People (edition 2008)

by Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
487621,072 (3.9)9
Title:What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People
Authors:Joe Navarro
Other authors:Marvin Karlins
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2008), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:body language, kinesics, mannerisms, stance, movements, motion, physical response, facial expression, gesture, bearing, behavior.

Work details

What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
What a great book. This book is a revelation -- it points out a large number of cues that others pick up on effortlessly, and does so with enough underlying body language principles that I come away with a sense that I understand the material, rather than just having a set of memorized poses with associated meanings. This is a book that I tried to read slow, giving myself time for the ideas to sink into my brain and be observed in the real world before moving on to the next section

It contains a very good balance of specifics and patterns, and I thought that the concept repetition in the book was minimal and very useful in building out underlying principles when it did occur. I've found overused repetition to be rife in non-fiction and self-help-style books alike, so this was a breath of fresh air. However, it doesn't say anything shocking or new, and therefore isn't a book for people who already "get it" innately; this is definitely a book for people who get something from intellectualizing normal social interaction.

What Every Body is Saying is not about detecting deception -- in fact, the author repeatedly notes that deception is extremely hard to detect -- but rather about detecting comfort and stress in others. Awareness of others' feelings of comfort and stress, especially those feelings of comfort and stress that they are struggling to keep politely quiet from others, provides an extra layer of information about many situations that is extremely useful. The author gives examples of job interviews, waning relationships, new employment, infidelity, belligerent children, and negotiations, in addition to many examples from the FBI. (The FBI examples are given in little call-out boxes that I first sneered at as indicating a severe case of business-book-itis, but grew to appreciate for their real-world significance.)

The downsides of this book are few and far between. There are academic citations throughout the book that are weird, out of place, and clearly tacked on; I repeatedly rolled my eyes, because they are irrelevant to this sort of popular work. They seem much more about asserting respectworthiness to people who are impressed by that sort of thing than improving content. The Foreword and first chapter were likewise very much full of business-book-style bragging and maneuverings for respect based on what others have said. Those both decreased in presence and annoyingness throughout the book, however; by the end they weren't noticeable. Really, the largest piece of information this book lacked was an appendix where the various examples from the book were organized by the principles they exhibit and their body location. If the book had had that, there would have been nary a thing to quibble about. As it is, I still have very little to quibble about (and I have notes that serve the same purpose as an appendix :)).

Recommended, but only to IxTJs and those who aren't particularly intuitive with social interaction. ( )
1 vote pammab | Jan 19, 2012 |
Excellent in insight into non-verbal communication from an expert. I especially enjoyed his associated experiences with specific "tells" (non-verbal communication). ( )
  stevetempo | Jan 7, 2012 |
The author is an ex-FBI agent, and in this interesting book he explains how to detect if a person is lying. He looks for bodily reactions to pointed questioning and argues that particular limbic reactions are almost impossible to fake.
He explains that it needs training and shows that popular conceptions are often wrong - for example the error of taking voluminous speech to represent truthfulness and unease to represent deception.
The only other book that I've read on the subject is Charles Darwin's "The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals" but I found Navarro's book more enjoyable since it's crime focused and finer tuned. ( )
  Miro | Feb 21, 2010 |
What Everybody Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People is a book that opens your eyes to the very things about body language you already know. It is easy to read even the not-so avid readers could just take a couple of days or so to complete the entire book. Yet, in the end you feel as though you have achieved and understood the nonverbal behaviour with a better view of the world around you - able to see most of what we take for granted in everyday life.

In the book, Navarro demonstrates several types of body languages in pictorial format and then correlates those postures with real-life FBI past experience making his arguments even more convincing! He conveniently highlights his life experiences as an FBI agent in separate boxes over many pages bringing the tapestry of human experience in all of its delightful complexity. Some of these experiences may seem over the top, but I would like to think they are real.

As much as this book seems popular it is worth noting that it covers complex issues some of which have no scientific evidence due to the fuzzy nature of the topic. At least, Navarro admits to this and I give him credit for his plethora of bibliography! For example, what may be a good gesture to one may not be to another depending on several factors such as culture, religion, ethnicity to mention, but a few. However, what is good about this book when you read it is that you realise that there is nothing new about body language. In fact, most of what is explained is common knowledge and experience that anyone at some point in life might have come across consciously or sub-consciously.

Conveniently, Navarro splits the nonverbal behaviours into two categories on the basis of human-consciousness - those controlled by the neocortex [conscious] and the limbic part of our brain [sub-conscious]. Most of Navarro's illustrations in this book are based around the limbic part of the brain, which in essence has no control of the human brain. I believe this stance is what gives Navarro the flexibility to stretch his arguments as much as he likes, because he knows there are no right or wrong answers in his approach.

So, find out for yourself if this man with a distinguished twenty-five year career with the FBI is what he claims to be - a human lie detector that can spot deceit with relative ease and even teach you to become a personal polygraph in short order. One thing for certain this book will do as it has done to me, is put you on the spot-light and be aware of your surroundings than ever before! ( )
  nsikub | Oct 23, 2009 |
General Background and Overview
OK, I admit it. I put a reserve on this book the moment I saw it come up in the Auckland City Library catalogue, because it sounded like a perfect cross between education and entertainment, with a tie-in straight to my obsession of choice – Criminal Minds. You see, this is a book on body language, written by an ex-FBI agent who may not have actually worked as a profiler in the Behavioural Analysis Unit, but sounds like he came pretty damn close in terms of the kind of work he did. So really. How was I supposed to resist?

Good Stuff
This book did everything I was hoping it would – and more, to be honest. It’s the first book on non-verbal communication I’ve read this year that actually feels as though it goes deep enough into the issues I’m interested in (not just *what* different non verbal cues mean, but why we do or display them) – starting with an explanation of how our brain’s limbic system works, and how this is at the root of all our non-verbal communications, and moving on from there to discuss the cues given off by each area of the body in turn. It’s the first one to really underscore to the reader that most of the cues that are taken as indicating deception actually do no more than indicate discomfort or stress... and that unless you dig further, you have absolutely no idea what’s causing that stress. It’s also the first book I’ve read that recognises that gestures (and even clusters of gestures) on their own mean nothing – that what’s critical in understanding non-verbal communication is how and when it changes – and in direct response to what. Which means it’s the first book to explicitly and repeatedly caution readers that unless you get a baseline of body language cues when someone is relaxed, you can’t actually tell when it changes – a refreshing change from many of the books I’ve read recently.

In addition to all of the above, this book is meticulously researched... almost every assertion is backed up with a reference to a study (or in a few isolated cases, Mr Navarro will say ‘There’s no empirical research to support this statement, but I’ve observed it consistently in interviews/interrogations I’ve run’), and the bibliography at the back is two and a half pages long. And you can bet I’ll be trying to track down some of the books he lists at the back myself – colour me impressed.

And finally, there’s the entertainment part of the book. The vast majority of specific non-verbal cues the author discusses are illustrated in side-bar boxes that detail particular cases he (or other people he knows of) worked on in which noticing that particular cue proved to be the thing that cracked the case. So not only was I learning, but it was also like getting to watch Criminal Minds cases being played out in front of me. Repeatedly. Multiple times per chapter. Again, I ask you: seriously, how was I supposed to resist???

Bad Stuff
This is probably the first non-fiction book I’ve read this year where, when I try to identify bad stuff, I come up blank. Perhaps there’s a certain internal embarrassment with just how squee-y I get with the whole combination of entertainment and education... there’s a real guilty pleasure for me in having a book that supplied so much useful information, and at the time was so much fun for me to read. Although that says far more about me than it does about the book.

The only other thing I find disappointing is that this is the ONLY book by Mr Navarro that the library has in. I think I’m going to be recommending a couple of his other ones, just because he’s so damn interesting to read.

Rating and Recommendations
Right – as I’m sure you can tell, I enjoyed this book. A lot. And to be honest, the only way I can see someone NOT enjoying it is if they’re either a/ not interested in non-verbal communication in the first place, or b/ interested, but believe that the fact it’s written by an ex-FBI agent makes it somehow suspect or less valuable than if it were written by a professional academic. Which I guess is a viewpoint, but not one I share. I’m therefore officially giving this book the FIRST 10/10 rating that I’ve given a non-fiction book (and in fact, the first one I’ve given any book, ever). Which should probably say something about the level to which it impressed me.

And the next non-fiction book on my list is “Sway: the irresistible pull of irrational behaviour” by Ori & Rom Brafman. Because I’m kind of enjoying branching out into applied psych as well as communication. ( )
1 vote Starfirenz | Mar 12, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061438294, Paperback)

Read this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you. You will discover: The ancient survival instincts that drive body language Why the face is the least likely place to gauge a person's true feelings What thumbs, feet, and eyelids reveal about moods and motives The most powerful behaviors that reveal our confidence and true sentiments Simple nonverbals that instantly establish trust Simple nonverbals that instantly communicate authority

Filled with examples from Navarro's professional experience, this definitive book offers a powerful new way to navigate your world...

He says that's his best offer. Is it? She says she agrees. Does she? The interview went great—or did it? He said he'd never do it again. But he did.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:41 -0400)

Read this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 avail.
405 wanted
4 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.9)
2 3
2.5 1
3 20
3.5 6
4 28
4.5 4
5 20


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,711,072 books! | Top bar: Always visible