People Science!


I noted Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards was one of my favorite books of 2017, but I have not yet reviewed it.  That changes today!

Do you feel awkward at networking events? Do you wonder what your date really thinks of you? Do you wish you could decode people? You need to learn the science of people.

As a human behavior hacker, Vanessa Van Edwards created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. And she’s cracked the code. In Captivate, she shares shortcuts, systems, and secrets for taking charge of your interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on how to captivate anyone—and a completely new approach to building connections.

A people-oriented friend recommended this to me, and at first, I must admit I was skeptical.  Can science really help me interact with others better?  I’m an introvert and a geek, so there’s definitely a need.  In my defense, I’m a funny and nice introvert and geek.

The book starts off with a little quiz on interpersonal intelligence to see how much you already know.  I was surprised by my score, scoring above average!  I don’t know how that happened, but I’ll take it.

After the introduction, it hops right into some science behind the first five minutes after meeting someone.  There are all sorts of good information here about winning in the social game, from easy to implement to a little more difficult.  I’ve already started on the easy wins – for example, I keep my hands out of my pockets when meeting people now.

The second part is more challenging, and it deals with the first five hours after meeting someone.  She goes into different personality assessments you can do on the fly.  I say “you,” because I realized I’m terrible at them.  I tried to identify the primary values of two of my closest friends after reading this book and got them entirely wrong.  I’m a little better with the five love languages, but I’ll admit that’s more due to a process of elimination.  “Well, she rarely hugs me so I’m guessing touch isn’t her primary language.”

Most challenging for me is the third part, which covers more long-term issues, such as how to lead others and deal with difficult people.

If this book is so difficult for me, why is it on my favorite book list?  Because I don’t enjoy reading books about things I already know.  I don’t need a book to tell me how to make a chart in Excel, save money, or clean my apartment.  I’m already pretty decent at all those things.  I want to read things that challenge me and have the potential to actually make my life better, and this book definitely falls into that category.  I can review it chapter by chapter and implement little changes as I go for an overall improvement.

My friend, the people person, uses the book to refine the things she’s already good at.  It has given her different perspectives on how to approach people, helping to round out her skill set.  This is really good since I can always count on her to help me figure out the areas where I am slow!

Questions for You!
Have you read this book?  What did you think?
Are there other books that fall in this category?
What book(s) should I read next?

More Information
Science of People – Author’s site
Vanessa Van Edwards on YouTube

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