READING PEOPLE by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius

READING PEOPLE

How to Understand People and Predict Their Behavior--Anytime, Anyplace
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Forget the inflated claims that follow from “predict— in the subtitle; this is a leading jury consultant’s often valuable guide on how to understand people from the host of nonverbal signs they present. With the help of lawyer Mazzarella, Dimitrius, who for more than 14 years has helped legal teams pick juries in such trials as that of O.J. Simpson and the McMartin Preschool case, tells readers “what to look and listen for, having the curiosity and patience to garner the necessary information, and understanding how to recognize the patterns of a person’s appearance, body language, voice and conduct.” The key word here is “patterns”; Dimitrius isn—t interested in “Eureka!” revelations coming from a single sign or behavioral mode. Rather, she demonstrates how one can learn a great deal about people from a combination of their facial expressions and body language, grooming and dress, home and workplace “props” (e.g. what kind of photos or art they have in their offices, and in what kind of frames), among other indications of their character. And she insists on a due regard for intuition and context. Concerning the latter, in a “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” approach, she wisely advises readers not to overinterpret, recalling a Rodney King trial juror who impelled Dimitrius into speculative overdrive by wearing black gloves into court each day. “Was she making a racial statement? Were the gloves a political commentary? Did they have some other unknown significance?” Finally asked by Dimitrius about the gloves after the trial ended, the juror responded, “It was so cold inside that courtroom!” While quite comprehensive, Dimitrius does scant a few nonverbal forms of communication, such as posture, and is occasionally guilty of simplistic writing and bad grammar. But these flaws are overwhelmed the amount of practical good advice for discerningly “reading” others and becoming more aware of the myriad nonverbal messages one conveys. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-375-50146-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998




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