What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
Ex-FBI agent spills the dirt on body language secrets
Body language is something rarely talked about in personal development. And while it’s not the end-all-be-all, it is a shame that this important area tends to get glossed over.
In What Everybody Is Saying by Joe Navarro, we get a full length discussion on why body language is so important and how to read it like a pro.
In case you’re wondering who the hell Joe Navarro is, he’s an ex FBI agent who spent years decoding the human body language matrix. Towards the latter end of his career, he would often be brought in by high paying private clients just for that reason.
This book is wholly practical. Consider it more of a textbook than a book you’d read for entertainment. Navarro systematically goes through each body part, breakdowns how we use it in certain situations and gives practical examples.
Why it’s Awesome
This is a tough book to review because it’s mostly just different examples of body language and what it means. But I’ll hit on some highlights:
One of the reasons body language is so strange is because it’s hard wired into our primitive part of our brain. You know, that part of you that just wants to survive, reproduce and eat McDonalds all day. That’s the part that often runs your body language.
When you see body language through that lens, you suddenly understand why something like crossing your arms becomes significant. It signals to the primal brain that this person isn’t showing their hands, which means they are not happy with something in the environment.
Comfort vs Discomfort
Body language is complicated. But fortunately, Navarro says that at any point, you can basically break someone’s body language down into two categories, comfort and discomfort. That’s because body language is directly tied to the emotions that people are feeling at the moment.
In comfort, we are at ease with what is happening. In discomfort, something is not how we would like it to be. By using this mental model of comfort vs discomfort, we can simplify what is going on with someone at any given moment.
What’s interesting though about this is that comfort and discomfort can manifest in extremely subtle and subconscious ways. The person likely will not even consciously recognize they are doing it.
For instance, Navarro notes an example of how he knew a woman was likely lying because every time he asked her a certain question, she raised her hand to subsconsciously protect her chest (discomfort). Another example might be when we purse our lips or when we point our feet away from the person we aren’t comfortable with.
Speaking of feet…
The Feet Tell All
Did you know the most honest part of the body is the feet?
This blew my mind. I had assumed Navarro would say it’s the eyes, but he says otherwise. Here’s why:
We all know how to lie. We can say any words we want and put on a face that doesn’t necessarily match our true feelings. But our feet?
No one knows how to hide their feet.
Except for you and me, now that I’m telling you this. Don’t tell anyone 😉
Our feet tell the truth. We raise them, bounce them, point them and do all sorts of things that show our true intentions. Learn to read feet, and you truly know a person.
Following the feet, the next most honest body part is our legs. Then chest, arms and finally the head. Essentially, the more you move up the body, the more “honest” it gets.
Why Does It Suck
There may be better paradigms to which to understand body language, specifically energetic paradigms. It’s an extremely scientific and rational book, which is its strength, but may also be its weakness.
It’s also tough to learn body language without actually seeing it. For that reason, I highly suggest you pick up a physical copy which has pictures instead of an audio version.
The Wrap Up
Amazing book for anyone interested in a scientific approach to body language. No nonsense, no fluff. Just straight practical information in here.