Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.
One thing that I’ve always loved reading and talking about have been detective stories, moreover the science and art of ‘deduction’, where you work out some useful information about a person/situation using only a few details. This is commonly seen in Sherlock Holmes novels, where the elusive and brilliant detective solves a mysterious crime by carefully analysing the situation to produce the most amazing (and correct!) explanations as to what transpired.
Contrary to popular belief though, the brilliant detective actually never uses ‘deductive reasoning’ in his adventures, but rather uses something called ‘inductive reasoning’, where you start with an observation that then helps you produce generalisations, theories, and possible answers about something.
These kinds of stories and stunts had amazed me throughout my entire life. The idea that you can gain an advantage in knowledge over others by simply being more observant and mindful of small details was incredible to me. I longed for a day where I could perform a Sherlock Holmes level deduction of a situation, to the impressment of my stunned and amazed friends.
As sad as it may seemed, I started researching online the science of how one comes to startlingly accurate deductions, how to perform them, and clues that would let me gain a deeper insight into a person/situation. I learned a lot during that time, including the fact that conducting Sherlock Holmes level deductions was, unfortunately, virtually impossible. You could get very close, definitely, but to obtain 100% accuracy, like instantly knowing a person’s whole life story by simply glancing at them, is simply too gargantuan of a task. What the majority of people have said is that there can be simply too many explanations if given too few details, and to narrow it down further would require extremely high levels of creativity and logic. Oh well.
However, I did say you could get close. There are definitely certain things you can observe that would give you more information about a person or situation. For example, depending on which hand someone wears a watch, you could very easily determine which is their dominant hand, i.e if they wear their watch on the left wrist they are 95% of the time right handed, and vice versa. Such little details like this interest me greatly, as I love noticing little things that others may have missed.
This interest in inductive reasoning and detective stories eventually led me to find the ex-FBI agent, Joe Navarro’s, eye-opening book on body language, What Every BODY is Saying. Prior to my discovery of this book, I was always aware that body language existed, but I had never really understood just how powerful and revealing it can be. Just by simple observation and mindfulness, you can essentially get a good idea of someone’s thoughts, emotional state and feelings towards others. It almost seemed like a superpower.
In his book, he talks about many different types of behaviours, which you can notice and glean information from. One such type of behaviour is the blocking behaviour, which are commonly associated with negative feelings towards something, like disbelief, disagreement, and discomfort. Some common examples of blocking behaviours include closing/rubbing your eyes, putting your hands over your face, and leaning away from the person/thing. Many people aren’t even aware they’re giving away such profound giveaways into their mind, as most of the time they are doing it subconsciously. Incredible!
There are even a group of behaviours that may signify whether someone is truly comfortable with you, or have romantic interest. For example, pupil dilation, pointing of feet towards you, exposure of neck and armpit area, are all behaviours that are almost always associated with positive emotions.
That being said, the most important lesson in this book is to always first establish a baseline behaviour, I.e to take note of the person’s usual behaviours. Thus, when they begin doing something that they don’t usually do, such as suddenly becoming stiff, or their lips disappearing, that’s when to realise something might be wrong. It can also be very telling when they suddenly stop performing their baseline behaviours, possibly because something bad has happened or something has made them uncomfortable.
All these lessons are honestly just the tip of the iceberg. I’m now always determined to be on the lookout for subtle body language so I can make use of this book’s information. This has definitely helped improve my life for the better, as I feel I’ve become more mindful and observant of my environment. Naturally, I also feel this book has helped me in many social situations, from determining whether something I said has made someone uncomfortable, to helping me raise suspicion as to when someone is lying.
❔Who would like this book?
1. Anyone who has absolutely any remote interest in detective stories, Sherlock Holmes, and just general deduction (inductive reasoning) should gives this book a shot. You’ll gain a much deeper insight into what might go on in the mind of a detective!
2. People who would like to learn the skill of reading people. This skill can be useful to help gain insights into how others truly feel about things, for example their true sentiments toward you.
⭐️Favourite lessons from Book⭐️
- There’s a world of information that many aren’t aware of. The first step to benefiting from this is realising and observing. Always be aware people might be saying one thing, but their body is saying something completely different-Actions speak louder than words.
- Watch out for pacifying behaviours (these relieve stress), gravity-defying behaviours (these convey joy), sudden freezing (this conveys discomfort), and blocking behaviours (these convey negative sentiments).
- Establish the baseline behaviour of an individual before taking note of any body language cues. Also look out for synchrony and emphasis
- Be aware of the environment you’re observing in and know context before concluding anything.
- Liars gesture less, touch less, move less
Alright, that’ll probably be it for this book review. Still currently experimenting with the formats, so please bear with me on that😅
Anyway, remember to stay safe out there, and have a good day!