Captivate Book Summary - Captivate Book explained in key points
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Captivate summary

Vanessa Van Edwards

The Science of Succeeding with People

4 (269 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards is a social skills book that teaches you how to master communication in any situation. It shares psychological techniques and body language secrets to help you become more influential, likable, and captivating.

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    Control social situations by focusing on your strengths and the people who matter.

    Imagine you’ve been invited to a party or networking event. The problem is, you consider yourself a somewhat socially awkward person. To succeed in this foreign and uncomfortable environment, you’ll need a strategy to gain control over the situation. In other words, you’ll need a social game plan.

    Keep in mind that different people do well in different social contexts. Indeed, the point of coming up with a social game plan is to avoid the contexts that you dislike. After all, nobody would expect a pitcher to also be a star second baseman – and the same goes for social contexts: few people thrive in every situation.

    Simply put, do your best to avoid the social situations you most abhor. If you try to fake your way through them, you might find yourself in trouble; fakeness is something people can easily sense.

    Want proof? Well, a survey done by Science of People, the author’s lab, tested the ability of participants to identify a fake smile. In the end, 86.9 percent of the 4,361 participants successfully identified the fake smile.

    So knowing where you’re comfortable is important, but it’s also necessary to decide precisely whom you’ll focus on. Remember, you don’t have to please everyone. Focus on the people you want to reach.  

    The author learned this lesson when one of her YouTube followers complained, in a comment, that her casual attire made her appear unprofessional in her videos. The author was initially concerned about the comment and even considered re-shooting her videos. But pretty quickly she realized that she was looking to connect with a particular type of student for her courses; she wanted people who could focus, not those who would be easily distracted by her clothing.

    This helped her realize that she didn’t have to appeal to everyone. She alone could define the group of people relevant to her work and use her brainpower to draw them in.

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    What is Captivate about?

    Captivate (2017) is your guide to human behavior and social success. Whether you’re trying to connect with others at home, at work or out in the world, Van Edwards set about breaking down the mechanics of how to capture people’s attention and engage in meaningful interaction.

    Captivate Review

    Captivate (2017) is a captivating exploration of the art and science of human connection. It provides practical techniques to master social situations and build meaningful relationships. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Using evidence-based research and real-life examples, it offers insightful strategies to understand the psychology behind social interactions.
    • The book helps readers enhance their communication skills and become more influential by decoding body language and mastering the art of conversation.
    • With its engaging and relatable tone, it delivers practical advice in an accessible way, making it an enjoyable and valuable resource for personal growth.

    Best quote from Captivate

    Vulnerability is sexy – it shows we are relatable, honest, and real.

    —Vanessa Van Edwards
    example alt text

    Who should read Captivate?

    • Young people who want to improve their social skills
    • Singles looking to become dating pros
    • Managers and entrepreneurs who want their employees to do their best

    About the Author

    Vanessa Van Edwards is a hacker of human behavior. Having struggled with a number of social situations throughout her childhood and adolescence, she decided to put the newest scientific research on human behavior to the test. Her behavior lab, Science of People, endeavors to teach people how to succeed in every conversation they have.

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    Captivate FAQs 

    What is the main message of Captivate?

    Learn how to captivate others and create meaningful connections with Vanessa Van Edwards.

    How long does it take to read Captivate?

    The reading time for Captivate varies depending on your reading speed. However, you can quickly grasp the key insights in just 15 minutes with the Blinkist summary.

    Is Captivate a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Captivate is worth reading for its practical tips on social interactions and understanding human behavior.

    Who is the author of Captivate?

    The author of Captivate is Vanessa Van Edwards.

    What to read after Captivate?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Captivate, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • The 11 Laws of Likability by Michelle Tillis Lederman
    • If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face? by Alan Alda
    • Cues by Vanessa Van Edwards
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Presence by Amy Cuddy
    • The Hunger Habit by Judson Brewer
    • How to Have Impossible Conversations by Peter Boghossian and James A. Lindsay