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Read People Like a Book summary

How to Analyze, Understand, and Predict People’s Emotions, Thoughts, Intentions, and Behaviors

3.9 (771 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Read People Like a Book by Patrick King offers practical techniques for understanding and interpreting human behavior. It teaches readers how to analyze body language, decipher emotions, and improve communication skills.

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    Read People Like a Book
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    Motivation: Why people do what they do

    Every action stems from a hidden drive, shaping each decision we make. By understanding human motivation, you can gain deeper insight into why people do what they do and how their actions affect your psyche and decisions. 

    Many psychological concepts can guide you through the maze of human motivation, but these three stand out: the shadow self, the inner child, and Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.

    Let’s talk about the shadow first. According to analytical psychology master Carl Jung, the shadow comprises the parts of yourself that you hide away from yourself and others. Picture a straight-A student who, after years of being the model child to his parents, suddenly rebels and parties beyond curfew. That’s him expressing his shadow, which stored his deep desire to be free and do as he pleases for years. By acknowledging that the shadow exists for everyone, including you, you’ll be more prepared to understand why others do what they do and plan the steps to communicate effectively with them.

    Speaking of effective communication, it’s essential to know when you’re dealing with someone’s shadow or their inner child. While the two can feel similar, they are different concepts. The inner child echoes our childhood experiences and how these events have molded our responses to the world as adults. Witnessed a colleague's inexplicable tears after minor criticism? It might be an old wound from their earliest days of facing relentless mockery at school; your feedback was just the unexpected trigger. Faced unexpected fury from a friend recently? He may be channeling anger at past traumatic events. When you can spot the inner child acting out, it’s easier not to take people’s reactions personally and know when to extend a helping hand or a comforting hug.

    Next up is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Think of it as a mountain climb. At the base camp, we address basic physiological needs like food and shelter. As people ascend, they start tackling mental goals like belonging and self-esteem. At the summit is self-actualization; when people are at this level, they will be all about realizing their fullest potential, akin to a mountaineer reaching a peak. Recognizing which level someone is at helps you interact with them accordingly. For instance, a counselor might vary her support based on whether someone needs basic sustenance or is searching for a higher purpose.

    So by connecting all the dots – the shadow’s secrecy, the inner child's whispered concerns, and the level of one’s individual needs – you can better see what motivates other people’s behavior in any given situation, know your place in it, and act accordingly.

    Speaking of seeing it, did you know that the face and body are constantly giving out information? Find out how, next.

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    What is Read People Like a Book about?

    Read People Like a Book (2020) unravels the complex tapestry of human behavior, guiding readers to decipher verbal and non-verbal signals broadcast by people 24/7. Marrying scholarly wisdom to sly real-world tales, the book presents the art and science of people-reading with both flair and finesse. Dive in, and soon you'll be navigating human interactions like a seasoned anthropologist.

    Read People Like a Book Review

    Read People Like a Book (2018) is a valuable guide to understanding human behavior and mastering the art of communication. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insightful strategies and practical techniques that help readers decipher the hidden messages in people's words and actions.
    • Backed by research and real-life examples, the book offers a comprehensive understanding of human behavior, enabling readers to navigate social situations with confidence.
    • With its engaging and relatable writing style, the book ensures that the topic of reading people stays fascinating and far from dull.

    Who should read Read People Like a Book?

    • Story seekers eyeing deeper connections
    • Negotiators seeking an edge
    • HR specialists scouting the right talent

    About the Author

    Patrick King is a renowned social interaction specialist and author celebrated for his unique insights into human behavior and communication. Known for his best-selling books such as Make Friends Easily, Social Fluency and Awkward Silences and How to Prevent Them, King has positioned himself as a leading voice in interpersonal dynamics and emotional intelligence. His writings draw from a blend of academic research and real-world experience, making them both practical and insightful for readers looking to enhance their social skills.

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    Read People Like a Book FAQs 

    What is the main message of Read People Like a Book?

    The main message of Read People Like a Book is understanding human behavior to improve relationships and communication.

    How long does it take to read Read People Like a Book?

    The reading time for Read People Like a Book varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Read People Like a Book a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Read People Like a Book is worth reading for its insights into human behavior and practical communication tips.

    Who is the author of Read People Like a Book?

    The author of Read People Like a Book is Patrick King.

    What to read after Read People Like a Book?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Read People Like a Book, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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