Book Review: Body Language by Julius Fast

Well, this is a pretty old book, but I recently discovered it among some old papers in the top of my cupboard and thought I’d recommend it. That little portion was sealed off completely for a long, long time. I managed to pry it open simply out of curiosity and found some research papers from the 1970’s, and this book. Needless to say, I set about reading it, and at only 183 pages, it was a pretty quick but enlightening read.

The book’s dedication alone was enough to hook me and draw me in:

This book is gratefully dedicated to all the passengers of the second car in the Independent Subway’s F train, east-bound from Fifth Avenue at 5:22 P.M.

Body language seems to be much more diverse and complicated than I first thought it was, and after reading this book, I have learnt a great number of new things: most notably the fact that the movement of objects at a table can subconsciously alter a person’s state of comfort and control, either putting you on top or enraging them for no apparent reason.

Body Language is written thoughtfully and tastefully in a very academic manner while still getting down to the grittiness of human body language. Included in the text are interesting anecdotes, illustrations, and a lot of evidence on kinesics. It’s easy enough to understand, and a breeze to read through and can easily be completed in one or two reading sessions.

The book is composed of eleven chapters:

  1. The Body is the Message
  2. Of Animals and Territory
  3. How We Handle Space
  4. When Space is Invaded
  5. The Masks Men Wear
  6. The Wonderful World of Touch
  7. The Silent Language of Love
  8. Positions, Points and Postures
  9. Winking, Blinking and Nods
  10. An Alphabet for Movement
  11. Body Language: Use and Abuse

My suggestion is to go out and get this book. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you are, this book will have at least something for your mind to absorb. You won’t be sorry.

Unless you’re blind, in which case you’re pretty much fucked.

My rating: 8/10

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