Body language is the primary method all species communicate.
Even though humanity developed complex language to express thought, feeling, and fact, the words people used make up the smallest input of their message.
Sarcasm is a good example of how little the words you use mean. Sarcasm is using straightforward words, with a tone, and a face, and body language that portrays mockery.
People will use their words to lie, while trying to manage their tone, face, and body language to conform to that lie; a good lier makes it seem natural, a bad lier shows cracks in their story.
Becoming skilled at reading body language will allow you to pick up on communication cues others miss. You may know something about a person before they know it themselves. Being able to read body language can make you a lie-detector, and a fortune teller able to see into the future, if only by a little bit, being able to predict the actions of another.
Extreme listening–paying attention–is a requirement for being good at identifying body-language trends that are used to create baseline patterns for behavior recognition.
If you don’t know your own body language you have no clue the presence you are portraying.
Retreating makes you look weak. Worse than that, retreating makes you feel weak. Your mind and body are one. If your body is held in a weak manner, you will feel how you are portraying your value. Or lack of value.
If you lack confidence you can easily boost–not fix–your confidence by correcting your body language. Your mind will begin to perceive you as the strong individual you are. Correcting your. body language may be the first step to becoming the greatest version of yourself.
Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on body language is one of the most popular Ted Talks and later, she wrote a book about the same subject.
If you care about body language, you need to be aware of your posture–which is an aspect of your presence–how you are interfacing with the world. You can raise your awareness of a subject by studying it. Videos are good to learn about body language, but do not provide enough study to penetrate deep into the permanence of your mind, which is why books are an excellent resource; you spend a significant amount of time with the material and in a place of study.
Below are books on body language. This list will be updated when more are found, but feel free to share ones not listed and we will add them.
If you like audiobooks, use our Audible partnership and get two free books below at no cost to you.
Books on Body Language
What Every BODY is Saying | Joe Navarro
What Every Body is saying is written by former FBI agent Joe Navarro. Navarro is an expert in non-verbal cues; he uses cues to determine if people are lying or withholding information. His book attempts to teach civilians how to recognize the same non-verbal signals he relied upon to do his job as a counterintelligence agent.
You don’t need to be in law enforcement to read this book. Anyone can read What Every Body is Saying and benefit from becoming a little better at reading body language. Navarro even talks about how reading body language can help your dating.
This book demands you to pay attention to your interactions with others. You’ll notice their body language, whether or not they are nervous, how comfortable they are, and more.
After body language cues are pointed out it becomes difficult to not see them.
Navarro wrote a follow up to what Every Body is saying called The Dictionary of Body Language. We haven’t read it, but it is advertised as an encyclopedia of body language.
When a foot suddenly begins to kick, it is usually a good indicator of discomfort. You see this with people being interviewed, as soon as a question is asked they do not like.
Shoulders rising toward the ears causes the “turtle effect”; weakness, insecurity, and negative emotions are the message. Think of losing athletes walking back to the locker room.
Notice how confident or high-status individuals will claim more territory with their arms than less confident, lower-status persons. A dominant man, for example, may drape his arm around a chair to let everyone know that this is his domain or, on a first date, might confidently throw an arm over a woman’s shoulder as though she were his property.
Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception | Multiple Authors
Three former CIA officers collaborated to write Spy the Lie: a book about a system Phillip Houston, also author, created to determine when people are lying. Houston uses techniques involving body language and verbal ques to find out if someone is being deceptive or telling the truth.
Spy the lie isn’t a pure body language book but it deserves to be in this list.
It is easy to tell a lie; it is hard to hide when you’re lying.
Subtle body-language cues are pattern triggers for people lying, like when an individual displays physical expressions of fear, anxiety, or being uncomfortable; all of which translate into emotions one could feel when lying; but not always.
Some examples of body language that could display a lie includes:
- Crossing the arms
- touching the neck or face
- excessive slouching
- frequent blinking
- unable to make eye contact
The reasons above could be triggered by lying but they could also be baseline behavior for some people. Take a baseline. See how a person behaves when they aren’t under pressure, then see how they change when pressured.
One reason why polygraph examiners ask you questions like: “what is your name?”, is to get your baseline level of stress and other factors, answering a question you aren’t lying about. Crossing your arms could be comfortable, or it could be a sign of discomfort.
The strategic principle is that if you want to know if someone is lying, you need to ignore, and thereby not process, truthful behavior.
Our experience has shown that if we can identify the first deceptive behavior within that first five seconds, we can reasonably conclude that the behavior is directly associated with the stimulus.
All the lies that have ever been told or ever will be told fall into three categories, or strategies: lies of commission, lies of omission, and lies of influence.
Presence | Amy Cuddy
Amy Cuddy is featured in the video above. Presence is the book inspired by her Ted Talk on body language. Presence isn’t just about body language. The book also speaks about how being present and accepting who you are in the moment improves your life.
A large part of being present is paying attention to your body language, turning an unconscious behavior into a controlled behavior. Sort of like paying attention to your breathing and controlling it is how you become grounded.
You want to control as much of your body as possible. Your breathing, your body language(posture) your emotions, etc.
The way you hold your body directly impacts how you feel. Your posture even determines testosterone levels depending on the strength of your posture. This was studied in the book above, Presence.
Without Saying a Word: Master the Science of Body Language and Maximize Your Success | Kasia Wezowski & Patryk Wezowski
A husband and wife business duo who founded the center for body language, the self-acclaimed #1 body language training company for business people. We have not read this book. We chose to include it based on the high number of reviews and the limited selection of body language books.
Kasia Wezowski describes herself as a business coach. Coach, is a word that means as little as the word guru.
People who did read the book liked the references to political candidates and how their body language manifests.
However, like any guru or coach, we have already seen the push to up-sell to coaching opportunities within reviews listed for this book.
The Definitive Book of Body Language | Allan & Barbara Pease
Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover | Audiobook
Another book written by a husband and wife duo about body language. This book was originally published in 2004. It excels in differentiating the body language behavior of both sexes.
Coming in at 402 pages, this book is a large volume that covers a lot of body language and talks about other signals like makeup, weak handshakes and body language attributes belonging to each gender.
The best way to learn body language is by practicing and observing body language, with the background of theory accessed via study and practice.
Books can help you understand basic body language cues, but each individual is as unique as their fingerprints and their tells are unique as well.
To read body language and determine what messages mean, you need to practice on your own. Try picking up how various people you’re interacting with are feeling. Are they exhibiting body language that supports how they’re feeling, or not?
Look at the examples listed in the best body language books of feelings associated to specific cues, then see if the examples are accurate while you observe people around you.
If you learn how to read body language, you may amaze people with your ability to tell how they are feeling and thinking, even before they know.