Read People Like A Book by Patrick King (Summary)

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Read People Like a Book: How to Analyze, Understand, and Predict People’s Emotions, Thoughts, Intentions, and Behaviors
  • King, Patrick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 276 Pages – 12/19/2020 (Publication Date) – Pkcs Media, Inc. (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Every person we meet is a mystery box in themselves.

It’s so hard to know who a person is just by looking at them.

But many times, we find ourselves in situations where we have to quickly assess who a person is, don’t we?

Wouldn’t it be easier if we could read a person in a few minutes, like we would read a chapter from a book?

Without further ado, let’s dive into the book summary of “Read People Like A Book” and learn strategies to read people quickly.

With these lessons, you will be able to read a person holistically and more accurately.

Lesson #1: We need to know our emotional biases first before we start judging other people.

We all have a tendency to project our own feelings, desires, needs, and fears onto other people.

It’s easy to become a judge when it comes to judging others. But to be self-analytic is very difficult.

People want to become mindreaders, but don’t know their own minds.

Most of us are not good at judging a person’s character, but we think we know it all because of confirmation bias.

Every time we meet a new person, we judge them based on what they are wearing, how they are carrying themselves, their tone of voice, etc.

The classic mistake most people make is that they just look at one data point and think they have figured it out.

For example, they might see a person talking very slowly and assume that the person isn’t confident enough, or make any other assumption based on what quality they associate that behavior with.

We should focus on multiple data points and not just one.

Also, we can’t ignore the fact that many people are not good communicators. So what they say is not the same as what they convey.

Some people suck at verbal communication, while others suck at non-verbal communication.

We all see in our daily lives how people struggle to find the right words during communication. It’s possible that a person might look funny, but they may be trying to convey something serious.

Another example, sometimes, if a person is talking like a gentleman, people may perceive him as a nice guy who likes to please other people. But in reality, that person may have a great family that taught him to give respect to other people and be kind. It could also be due to his culture. Maybe in the place he grew up, people treated each other very gently and kindly.

We are often very quick to reach conclusions while judging other people.

People who hire professionals for work often judge people by their body language. If a person looks nervous, it doesn’t mean that they are always nervous and can’t handle stress. They might not be feeling well that day and may be nervous about some other aspect of their lives.

Most of the time, we don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life.

But based on our limited understanding, we make quick assessments. And as a result, treat other people wrong.

For example:

People who are very straightforward often make a lot of enemies because they convey the feeling that they don’t care. But this is not always true.

Moreover, we can’t forget the fact that people act differently in different situations. For example, a lot of people are wearing different faces in front of different people.

Lesson #2: Everyone is motivated by desires, and knowing those desires can help us read other people.

Smart people focus more on people’s actions. These days, we can’t trust just the words.

People would say anything to fulfill their agendas.

Look at what’s motivating them.

Because their actions will be driven by their motivations.

If you can guess people’s motivations, you can understand who they are as a person.

People are motivated by psychological, social, financial, and even biological and evolutionary factors, says the author.

Most people most of the times don’t even know what is motivating them.

The motivations of a person can be affected by many unknown factors.

But still, we can get a general idea of who a person is by watching their behavior.

For example, if a person is narcissistic, they will not accept anyone doing better than them. They will try goofy mind games to tear down the value of others around them.

Such personalities are not happy inside, so they don’t like it when someone is living a better life than them.

Their actions are often driven by hatred.

To add more depth to this, we must not forget that people are highly unconscious of their own behaviors.

We all have parts that we would never want to acknowledge, unless it’s extremely necessary.

Taking the same example of narcissists, they would create fake situations and come up with illogical conclusions in their minds so that they don’t have to accept the fact that they are selfish and doing bad things to other people.

Every person, to some degree, likes to protect their ego. And this shows in their behaviors.

In other words, you don’t know who the person really is internally by looking at their external features.

The author also discusses the pleasure principle.

We just love pleasure and avoid pain as much as possible.

In simple words, if you see a person doing something, chances are they are either getting pleasure from that work or they hope to get pleasure from the result of that work in the future.

Rare are the people who choose pain over pleasure.

In fact, the desire to avoid pain is much higher than the desire to get pleasure.

With this knowledge at hand, not only can you understand a person’s motivation, but you can also predict their future decisions.

Furthermore, when talking about reading people and understanding their needs and actions, we can’t forget to discuss Maslow’s hierarchy.

Any human would first want basic things like food, water, shelter, etc. before chasing higher order things like self-actualization.

Lesson #3: How you dress and what you hold as possessions tells a lot about how you think and what your values are.

Although the clothes of a person can’t tell everything about a person, if we see things practically, we can’t deny that those are some of the most important things we can look for to judge a person.

That’s because we don’t always get endless time to analyze a person’s personality.

People are usually busy. And conversations are shorter.

Especially when you are dealing with strangers, it’s harder to figure things out.

How a person dresses reveals a lot of information about that person.

Look at the person’s clothing and check what things they put more effort into.

Do they wear branded clothes, or do they wear very simple clothes?

If they wear expensive, branded clothes, they might be trying to show that they have status.

And if they don’t put much effort in and are always wearing casual clothes, it might mean that they don’t care much about other people’s opinions and put their own comfort first.

Some people don’t put much effort into their hygiene. And you can easily tell that they are probably careless in other aspects of life.

If a person is too fat, you can easily tell about their bad eating habits.

Or if a person has dark circles under their eyes, their screen time is greater, or they must not get proper sleep because of their busy schedule.

Our appearance speaks volumes about us before we do.

Another easy tip to judge a person is to look at their home and see what things they own and how they use their empty spaces.

For example, if your room is filled with books, you probably love reading.

Or if your room is filled with various paintings or posters, you are probably interested in beauty and art.

Judging by the posters in a person’s room, you can tell their interests.

For example, people who like football often put posters of their favorite players on their walls.

On the other hand, you might also find people who like to keep as few objects as possible in their rooms; this shows that they are minimalists.

How a person uses the empty space in their room is a reflection of their inner values.

Lesson #4: Detect lies like an FBI agent by paying attention.

One reason we should learn how to read is so that we can catch people when they lie to us.

We don’t want to get manipulated, right?

This is something FBI agents are very good at.

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t going to get that kind of training.

But there are a few tricks that we can learn to spot lies.

When a person lies, they have to put extra effort into telling their story.

Lying isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice to make fake stories and then connect them so that other people believe in them. A little bit of mismatch in your stories, and you are exposed.

The catch here is that even though professional liars sometimes become good with their words and make up false stories, their nonverbal behavior sometimes fails to catch up with their stories when they are put under pressure.

FBI agents are very good at noticing changes in microexpressions.

If a person’s words and non-verbal cues don’t match, it is highly likely that they are either lying or trying to hide something.

To understand what “microexpressions” really are, just think about the face when we smile. If you are in a happy mood, you don’t always have to show a wide smile on your face. The little expressions on your face can tell a lot about your mood, even without you saying anything.

For example, your cheeks will be lifted up. These expressions require you to pay attention, as they are not very clearly visible.

Another example, if a person is angry, you can see that their eyebrows have tightened up a bit due to tension.

A person may feel disgusted because their lies may not be working with you.

FBI agents are good at creating scenarios to mess up the story in the head of the person being interrogated. This helps them find leaks in the story and figure out the truth.

The microexpressions that people show happen unconsciously. It means that people don’t realize that they are showing those expressions. It happens spontaneously because of evolutionary biology.

You know, intuition is faster than logic.

When the body reacts on its own, you can’t stop it with logic.

To apply logic, you need time. When the body senses danger, it reacts spontaneously on its own.

Anyone who lies a lot is always scared of getting caught. The danger might not be that big here, but still, it’s enough to create tension in the mind of the potential liar so we can notice those microexpressions of fear and detect lies.

Our body language and expressions are always communicating something — without us realizing this fact.

Also, remember that while using these tricks, you have to look at the total behavior — not just one behavior.

It’s difficult to check our opinion for precision unless we have observed a cluster of behaviors.

Lesson #5: Learn about the Big 5 personality traits to get a better idea of anybody’s personality.

When it comes to judging personality, most people know only two types: introverts and extroverts.

People who are usually quiet are called introverts. And the ones who talk a lot and thus socialize more are labeled as extroverts.

But there is a problem with this approach.

Can’t extroverts act quiet in certain situations?

Can’t an introvert socialize better than an extrovert?

There is a piece missing in the puzzle, isn’t it?

The problem with this approach to judging is that it is an extremist’s approach.

A person can act like an introvert in a situation, and that same person can act like an extrovert in a different situation.

Moreover, we all possess these traits to some degree.

We should consider the Big 5 personality trait theory to judge personalities better.

The 5 core personality traits are:

  • Openness
  • Conscentiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Together, you can remember them as OCEAN.

Extraversion is sociability, agreeableness is kindness, openness is creativity and intrigue, conscientiousness is thoughtfulness, and neuroticism often involves sadness or emotional instability.

Every person has these personality traits, but the degree varies.

For example, some people may be more social, but they may be less thoughtful.

Another example: some people are more thoughtful but less agreeable.

When you notice people’s behavior on these 5 scales, you are more likely to get a better idea of who they are as a person.

People repeat patterns in their behaviors.

For example, people who are less social always try to find excuses to stay alone.

Regardless of how good these theories sound, we must not forget our biases and assumptions when judging a personality type.

Always think about the type of environment a person is in when you are judging them, because it could drastically change that other person’s behavior.

For example, in a party environment, people are less likely to think about deeper philosophical questions. So you might find that a person who is highly thoughtful in their daily life is just chilling with his friends and acting illogically under peer pressure.

Even introverts start acting like extroverts and become talkative in such situations.

You never know a person completely unless you have seen their behavior in different environments.

There are a few other theories to judge personalities, like MBTI and Keirsey temperaments, with their own challenges, but let’s keep this simple for now.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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