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
700813,562 (3.79)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

Recently added byprivate library, arpawooky, kriechel, Bostjan24, kerchie1, INorris, wwittler77, CHSPDC

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 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I suppose some people are masters of body language already, or have learned this stuff so long ago that it seems like common-sense to them, but I'm enjoying it and also feeling like I'm learning something. You'd have to read it yourself to know if there's anything you don't already know.

I'm sure people who are socially awkward would benefit from this, whether or not they have Asperger's or are neuro-typical. And should I ever again find myself in a position to need this kind of advice, I will definitely seek this book out. If you're in the dating pool, having trouble with your teens, trying to succeed at job interviews, or otherwise need to communicate using non-verbals as well as words, especially with someone whose complete honesty you are unsure of, I recommend this.

I enjoyed reading it even though I have no immediate need of it. Navarro's amiable and lucid explanatory tone is pleasing, the photos are clear, and the examples illuminating. I also appreciate that the book is well-organized and includes bibliography and index. I just hope bad guys don't study it. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Educational. Learned a lot about what's behind common body language. Wanders around quite a bit - I like this sort of non-fiction to be a bit more well-organized for future reference. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
Written by a former FBI counterintelligence officer who first became an expert in nonverbal communication as a non-English speaking child immigrant from Cuba to the U.S. before using it to catch countless criminals, What Every Body Is Saying is one of the books you’ll hear most often recommended for learning how to decode body language. Expanding your ability to decode body language is an incredibly important factor in your capacity to deduce motivations in others or establish trust with them – and perhaps more importantly, it is an invaluable skill to use certain body language yourself to do things such as communicate authority or feel more confident.

As you read through this summary, it is often helpful to act out the body language yourself, both to understand exactly what it is and recognize it in others, and to give yourself a mental note so you can identify when you unconsciously exhibit it yourself.

1. & 2. Mastering the Secrets of Nonverbal Communication & Living Our Own Limbic Legacy

The author repeats the often-quoted statistic that nonverbal behavior is 60 to 65% of all communication. He explains why this is through a concept known as triune brain theory, which classifies our mind into the three areas of the reptilian brain (stem), mammalian brain (limbic), and human brain (neocortex). While the classification is not technically accurate, it is useful in conceptualizing how our minds control our actions. This book is primarily concerned with the mammalian brain, which controls most expression of our nonverbal behavior. The key here is to understand that everything we do, even the most seemingly insignificant scratch or lean, is directed by some portion of the brain. By observing these behaviors, we can learn to interpret what the mammalian brain is communicating.

The communications of the limbic system are extremely reliable because they operate outside of our conscious thought, showing our true response to our environment. In fact, there are only three responses to distress or threats that humans have: freeze, flight, and fight. We express these responses differently than our hunter-gatherer ancestors, but the way our brains react has not changed.

Examples of the freeze response:

-Someone being chastised will become very still
-Someone being interviewed will often exhibit shallow breathing
-Shoplifters will subconsciously try to hide their physical presence by keeping their arms close by their side and hunching slightly

Examples of the flight response (distancing nonverbal behaviors):

-Leaning away from the table
-Placing an object on your lap
-Turning your feet toward the nearest exit
-Closing or rubbing your eyes
-Putting your hand on your face

Examples of the fight response:

-Puffing out your chest
-Violating personal space
-Aggressive posture

These three types of limbic responses are often followed by pacifying behaviors, which are representative of the brain directing the body to provide comforting actions in order to calm down and restore normal conditions. By observing these pacifying behaviors, you can detect when someone has reacted negatively to some situation – perhaps something you have said or done.

Examples of pacifying behaviors:

-Covering the neck, such as playing with a necklace or adjusting a tie
-Rubbing your forehead
-Touching or rubbing your neck
-Touching or rubbing your cheek
-Exhaling with your cheeks puffed out
-The “leg cleanser” – when sitting, pushing your hands from the top of your legs toward your knees
-The “ventilator” – pulling on your shirt collar (for men) or tossing the back of your hair up (for women)

There are many more examples, often involving touching your face, neck, or hair, and sometimes things like whistling or excessive yawning. These behaviors indicate that someone is uneasy or stressed about something, and while the cause is not always straightforward (e.g., these aren’t guaranteed indicators of lying), they are helpful because people generally think nothing of them and make no conscious effort to hide them.

3. Getting a Leg Up on Body Language: Nonverbals of the Feet and Legs

The author then begins to go into detail about various nonverbal communication, starting with the feet because they are actually the most “honest” part of the body, and the easiest to read. He attributes this to the fact that the feet are usually the first body part to be engaged by the freeze, flight, or fight limbic response. This is in direct contrast to how we are used to reading people, which is from the face down. By learning to reverse the process, you will find it to be much easier to read people.

Another reason that the feet are the most honest part of the body is that since childhood, most people’s efforts to disguise their emotions or intentions have always focused on the face. Think about some common parental reprimands: “Fix your face,” or “At least look happy when your cousins stop by.” Most people have given comparatively little attention from their neocortexes to their feet.

1. “Happy feet”. Bouncing or wiggling your feet often indicates excitement or satisfaction. Be careful, though; this behavior can also communicate impatience. Like most nonverbal signals, you must understand the behavior in its context. While you can’t always see someone’s feet, this movement will show in their torso or shoulders even when they are sitting.
1 vote DE_Blog | Mar 25, 2015 |
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. ( )
2 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joe Navarroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Karlins, Marvinsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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 your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:51 -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
3 avail.
404 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.79)
1 3
2 6
2.5 1
3 28
3.5 8
4 41
4.5 4
5 28

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,148,198 books! | Top bar: Always visible