Monday, May 4, 2009

Book review: Body language (how to read others' thoughts by their gestures) by Allan Pearse

Body language (how to read others’ thoughts by their gestures) – Allan Pearse

This book focuses on identifying non-verbal signals that people make and how those signals can tell you what the person may be thinking. As far as I know, this is the first detailed book written on the topic. Research shows that our ‘body language’ is a significant part of how we communicate. Most people think that verbal communication is the most important aspect of communication. This book discusses the basics on how we communicate with our body and gestures.
This book focuses on business situations but the gestures discussed are used in all situations so everybody can still read it.

What I gained from reading this book:
This book has improved my communication and people skills a great deal. As I read through the book, I started noticing gestures and positions that other people make. I even began to notice all the signals my body would make. Recognising all those signals and gestures helped me get an understanding of how people are feeling and their motives. Not only has this book opened my eyes to a ‘language’ I didn’t even know existed, it has really been fun watching my friends and family make all these gestures I never noticed before.
Using this knowledge in my job in customer service has been great. My confidence in dealing with people has increased because I now have a pretty good idea how a person will act based on their body language.

Understanding the signals people make can help you understand their position better and improve communication. The pictures give clear examples of what to look for. The examples are simple enough to recognise without spending too much effort watching the signals people make.

Some people may think that a lot of the gestures discussed are common sense (for example: thumbs up means okay or good). While many of the gestures are very basic to recognise, most people don’t even notice them in everyday life. Reading about the obvious gestures still helps you learn about them.
As the book was written quite some time ago, some situations may seem out dated. Don’t be put off by the age of the book because when you think about it, the way people act hasn’t really changed in the last thirty years so everything will still apply today. I have reviewed a more current book by an ex-FBI agent on body language here.

Recommended for: Everybody
I recommend this book for everybody because having an understanding of basic body language can improve your people skills. This book will be very useful for business people as many of the examples are common business situations.

Genre: Informational

Overall rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Where to from here:
If you want to improve your understanding of body language, have a read of the following reviews:
What every BODY is saying by Joe Navarro

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