A book-length warning about the dangers possibly lurking behind every co-worker, friend, significant other or person on the street and how to identify those who may cause harm.
Former FBI agent Navarro reunites with author Poynter (co-authors: Louder than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence, 2010, etc.) to once again put his FBI knowledge to use for the public. Navarro first describes the four personality types he believes encompass most dangerous people: narcissistic, emotionally unstable, paranoid and combination. Each chapter-long description ends with a lengthy checklist to help readers determine if someone they know meets the criteria for that personality type, as well as how dangerous that person is likely to be. Navarro mostly uses high-profile criminals as examples—e.g., the Unabomber, Charles Manson, Clyde Barrow and John Wayne Gacy. However, the author barely scratches the surface of these big names, focusing on the obviously disturbing parts of their personalities. Despite his success as an FBI profiler, there is little revelatory information in either the personality descriptions or the accompanying checklists. Navarro’s emphasis on overt characteristics causes the book to serve more as further confirmation for those who already think they are involved with someone dangerous. In many cases, his advice seems downright infantilizing, as when he writes of the paranoid personality, “If their behavior just becomes too much to bear—if it’s too dehumanizing (this happens in a lot of cults) or if they drain the happiness out of your life—then distance yourself.” While the information the author presents may be useful, it’s hardly unique.
If Navarro had spent more time exploring less obvious characteristics and let his profiling knowledge shine, this book could have been a must-read. As it is, it won’t stand out from the crowd.