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Book Analysis “What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed Reading People”




Ask any professional poker player, and they’ll tell you that non-verbal communication is just as much part of the game as the physical cards in your hands. Is the person across the table from you bluffing or telling the truth?

To understand that answer, you need to understand non-verbal communication. But since playing poker on casino sites like Ripper casino bonuses is you playing against a computer, those non-verbal communication skills are not part of the equation. But if playing in-person poker with your friends and eating pizza is your ideal Friday night activity, then read on …

Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to “speed read” people. Your body language can influence how your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you.

Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of non-verbal communication.

  1. Mastering the secrets of non-verbal communication
  2. Living our limbic legacy (limbic brain).
  3. Getting a leg up on body language: non-verbals of legs and feet.
  4. Torso tips: Non-verbals of the torso, hips, chest, and shoulders.
  5. Knowledge within reach: Non-verbals of the arms.
  6. Getting a grip: Non-verbals of the hands and fingers.
  7. The mind’s canvas: Non-verbals of the face.
  8. Detective Deception: Proceed with caution.

Who Is Joe Navarro?

Joe Navarro is a former FBI agent who is widely recognized for his expertise in the field of nonverbal communication, body language, and behavioral analysis.

He spent over two decades working with the FBI as a special agent in the area of counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. Navarro’s contributions are particularly notable in the realm of human behavior observation and interpretation, where he has conducted extensive research and training.

He is also an accomplished author, having written several books that delve into the intricacies of nonverbal cues and their significance in understanding people’s thoughts, intentions, and emotions.

Navarro’s work has had a significant impact not only within law enforcement but also in fields such as psychology, business, and personal development, where his insights have been instrumental in improving communication and interpersonal understanding.

What Is Our “Limbic Brain,” And What Does It Have To Do With Non-Verbal Communication?

The limbic brain is a crucial part of our brain responsible for processing emotions, memories, and instincts. It’s the seat of our emotional responses and plays a fundamental role in shaping our behaviors and reactions.

In the context of nonverbal communication, Navarro highlights that much of our nonverbal cues are influenced by the limbic brain. Our gestures, facial expressions, body language, and other nonverbal signals often stem from our emotional states and underlying feelings.

Navarro’s insights suggest that by understanding the connection between the limbic brain and nonverbal cues, we can decode a wealth of information about a person’s true thoughts, intentions, and emotions.

Recognizing these subtle nonverbal expressions allows us to more accurately perceive and engage in more effective communication, whether in personal relationships, business interactions, or various social contexts.

What Do Our Legs And Feet Tell Us About Non-Verbal Communication?

Our legs and feet play a crucial role in nonverbal communication, often revealing subconscious feelings and attitudes that words might not express. He suggests that the lower body provides insight into a person’s comfort level and engagement in a situation.

For instance, crossed legs and feet can indicate a defensive or closed-off stance, while uncrossed legs might signal openness and relaxation. Additionally, the direction of a person’s feet can reveal where their interest lies; if someone’s feet are pointed away from a conversation partner, it might suggest disinterest or a desire to exit the interaction.

Navarro’s expertise highlights how these subtle cues, often overlooked in favor of more obvious verbal communication, offer valuable insights into underlying emotions and intentions, ultimately enhancing our ability to understand and connect with others on a deeper level.

What Do Our Torso, Hips, Chest, And Shoulders Tell Us About Non-Verbal Communication?

Our torso, hips, chest, and shoulders play a pivotal role in conveying a wealth of non-verbal cues that reveal insights about a person’s thoughts and emotions.

These areas of the body are particularly informative because they are less easily controlled and more reflective of subconscious reactions. Navarro emphasizes that the orientation of the torso and shoulders, whether they are open or closed, can indicate a person’s level of comfort, interest, or defensiveness.


Similarly, the movement and alignment of hips and shoulders can provide clues about a person’s intentions and feelings.

Navarro’s extensive research has shown that subtle shifts in posture, positioning, and movements in these areas can reveal hidden sentiments, helping us better understand others and enhance our own interpersonal communication skills.

What Do Our Arms Tell Us In Non-Verbal Communication?

Our arms can provide valuable insights into a person’s thoughts and feelings. He highlights that crossed arms, for instance, can indicate defensiveness, discomfort, or a desire to create a barrier between oneself and others.

Additionally, the position of the arms can reflect levels of confidence; when someone places their arms akimbo (hands on hips), it often conveys a sense of authority or readiness. Folding arms tightly might signal stress or disagreement. The arms can also signal engagement and openness—outstretched arms can symbolize welcoming gestures or a willingness to connect.

Overall, Navarro emphasizes that understanding the cues provided by a person’s arms, along with other nonverbal signals, can greatly enhance our ability to accurately interpret their emotions, attitudes, and intentions.

What Do Our Hands And Fingers Tell Us In Non-Verbal Communication?

Hands and fingers play a crucial role in nonverbal communication, offering valuable insights into a person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Navarro, a renowned expert in body language, emphasizes that our hands are among the most expressive parts of our body, capable of conveying a wide range of emotions and attitudes.

The positioning of hands and fingers, gestures, and even the smallest movements can reveal a person’s level of comfort, confidence, nervousness, or deception. Navarro highlights that observing factors such as the speed of hand movements, whether they are open or closed, and the direction of the fingers can provide significant clues about a person’s mental state and reactions.

By understanding the nuanced signals of hands and fingers, one can gain profound insights into unspoken messages, enabling better communication comprehension and more accurate assessments of individuals’ true emotions and intentions.

What Does Our Face Tell Us In Non-Verbal Communication?

Our face is a rich source of nonverbal communication, conveying a multitude of emotions and intentions without the need for words.

As a former FBI agent and expert in body language, Navarro highlights that facial expressions are a direct window into a person’s inner feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Micro-expressions, fleeting facial movements that occur in a fraction of a second, can reveal concealed emotions, providing insights into truthfulness or deception.


Moreover, the nuances of eyebrow movement, eye contact, and lip gestures can signify shifts in interest, comfort, discomfort, and engagement. Navarro’s teachings underscore the importance of keenly observing facial cues, as they offer valuable cues for understanding individuals’ hidden emotions and mental states, thereby enabling improved communication and connection in various personal and professional interactions.


While many behavioral scientists agree with the general importance of nonverbal communication, as highlighted by Joe Navarro, the extent to which they align with all aspects of his views can vary based on their own research, interpretations, and perspectives on the complexities of human interaction.

Some researchers may be more cautious about interpreting nonverbal cues as straightforward indicators of specific emotions or intentions. The context, cultural differences, individual variations, and the potential for misinterpretation are factors that can complicate the accuracy of attributing a single meaning to a particular nonverbal signal.

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