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What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro – Book Review

There is a reason that Joe Navarro’s book on body language, What Every Body Is Saying,  is at the top of our reading list.  It is as close to a one stop shop for Combat Profiling material that exists right now and should serve as the starting point for those that want to enhance their profiling ability.  Here is a breakdown on why:

His Approach

His approach to the book is straightforward.  He is honest in his guidance on body language development and thorough on the content.  It is an easy read and should you want to come back to the book to review a specific section or a specific area of the body, finding it is extremely easy with clear headlines for each chapter and subtopics.  The use of pictures throughout the books is helpful as well to further explain most gestures in ways that using only words would be difficult.

His Content

On the Brain:  Many body language books that are out there will list and describe numerous different gestures and attempt to provide you with some insight as to what they mean, but most never teach you WHY those gestures are significant.  Joe Navarro goes into depth on the limbic system and how the uncontrollable reactions guided by this portion of our brain let us get into the head of those we are observing.  The importance of understanding this concept cannot be understated as it can help guide your observation when you are unsure what a specific gesture may mean.

On Clusters: Navarro understands the difficulty of making conclusions about an individuals intentions and emotions on one cue alone.  He stresses early on and continuously through the book the need to find multiple tells to increase the accuracy of the observation.

More than just Kinesics: For Combat Profiling, we have split what many group together as “Non-Verbal Communication” into three separate domains to make instruction and communication of the topics more clear.  His book, despite being a “body language book” encompasses information on Proxemics, Iconography and Biometric Cues as well.

His guidance on development: As I read his book the first time, and many times since then, I am continually grateful in his honest thoughts on developing the ability to read body language.  When I say he is honest, he doesn’t do what some authors and speakers tell you about how you can become an expert observer of Kinesics overnight.  It takes time, and he lets the reader know this.  IF you are interested in the topic and IF you apply the dedication and practice required to become better at this, you will absolutely succeed, but reading the book and then forgetting the content will not help you at all.

Scientific Research: Joe Navarro has not ignored the need from readers who want to ensure the book has scientific validity.  Some people will pick up the book, immediately go to the back to see what material has been referenced and then determine if they will buy it or not.  For those readers, the reference section is thorough and complete and shows the researchers and experts who’s work was used in the creation of this book.

Summary: This book is certainly worth the read.  It makes learning the material easy and enjoyable, and can help jump-start the process from learning what a gesture could mean and getting out to observe and practice the skills.  If you take the time to apply each section, your confidence will increase quickly as well as your accuracy of your observations.

To learn more about Joe Navarro and see the other books he has published, go to his site at: http://www.jnforensics.com or pick up his book on Amazon.


Want to see other books that we have read and recommend? Take a look at our complete reading list for our other suggestions.


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