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10 March 2014

Reading People
Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Mark Mazzarella
Publication Date
How to Understand People and Predict their Behaviour Anytime Anyplace

Jo-Ellan Dimitrius Ph.D studied to various degrees psychology, sociology, physiology and criminology and she is an expert in 'People Reading Skills' for jury selection. She has been used for jury selection in famous criminal cases, so she tells us (Rodney King, Richard Ramirez). 

The book covers subjects such as: Discovering Patterns  Reading Physical Apperance and Body Language, Seeing People in Context, Learning to Ask the Right Questions, Spotting Exceptions to the Rules, The Power of Intuition, How others Reading You, Having to make snap decisions. 

Rather than in pure academic style, the book is written for the non-academic reader and easy to understand. There are many examples in every chapter which makes it an interesting read. Most of her examples come from her practice in jury selection, but she says that her advice can be used for anything in daily life where we have to 'read' people, for example people you are working with in the office, employing a baby sitter for the evening, possible partners. One of the recurring theme is that whatever you may think or infer from certain signs / behaviour, there could always be different reasons. So this 'Reading People' thing is not that easy and always open to interpretation. For example, imagine the boss who has pictures of his wife/children and children's drawings in his office. One can infer that this person is very much family oriented and does a lot with his children. Or maybe he isn't and just wants to give the impression that he is. Or maybe it's not even his family pictures, because he may just be using someone else's office for the week. 

Some of the things are very obvious, such as slurred speech for for alcohol and drug use. Red eyes, bags under the eyes - but his could also be completely innocent, but could not be. The book passed one important 'test' for me: I like to cross my arms across my chest. In many books I read on similar topics, it is always said that this is a clear sign of the person being a 'closed' person, doesn't want to let anybody in and is probably trying to hide something. From my personal experience - rubbish. I like sitting that way because I'm usually always cold! The author does recognise this. 

Did I learn anything groundbreakingly new? Probably not. I suppose it did make me more aware of people around me and signs they can give out. However, nothing is written in stone, so a particular thing could mean this or that or nothing at all. So it's up to your own observing and investigating skills. 

I purchased this book from the library 50p sale trolley.