The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Secret Meaning Behind People's Gestures
Author: Allan and Barbara Pease
I confess I normally avoid books on body language almost as much as 'dream dictionaries'. The idea that if Y happens then it must mean X is too simplistic for me. But this husband and wife effort from Pease and Pease is not your usual run-of-the-mill simplistic stuff.
Firstly, they describe 'clusters of behaviors' which are likely (not inevitably) going to mean something specific. Cultural differences are considered, as are typical male/female differences and how expressive signals for one gender might mean something different for another.
For example, a woman who smiles too much during a business meeting may find herself being taken less seriously by male business colleagues. The trick is to speak only when absolutely necessary, keep smiling to a minimum (e.g. at the start and end of the meeting) and lower the chin to deepen voice tonality (a deeper feminine voice denotes greater female testosterone levels and therefore greater dominance!).
If you want to know how to appear confident (and adopting postures and expressions can alter your mood – it works both ways) and how to flirt and spot when others are flirting, then this book is for you. Defensive, dishonest and skeptical expressions are explored and explained, and short tests allow you to gauge how well you are 'picking up on' non-verbal signals from others.
The authors also cover micro-expressions – the tiny, split-second facial changes that can 'give away' what people really feel. They discuss voice tonality and 'dominance posture' in both men and women, as well as the standard 'how do I know if someone fancies me?' material.
Photos and line drawings illustrate different points and the text is both engrossing and witty. A great read (palms open, smile, relaxed posture…)