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Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People
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Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,951 ratings  ·  345 reviews
Do you feel awkward at networking events? Do you wonder what your date really thinks of you? Do you wish you could decode people? You need to learn the science of people.

As a human behavior hacker, Vanessa Van Edwards created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. And she’s cracked the code. In Captivate, she shares shortcuts, systems, and secrets for ta
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Portfolio
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Andrea
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've purchased Vanessa Van Edwards' body language and Creative Live Power of Happiness courses, so I was very pleased to see so much brand new content covered in Captivate.
The mix of both personal and professional examples provided made this book useful for considering how to improve all my different types of relationships. The examples and conversation starters feel authentic throughout the book.

This is the sort of business networking handbook I would read and recommend my colleagues review b
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Megsimps
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, from the stories Vanessa shares about her own trial and error to the useful, science-based methods she advises for different social interactions. This book taught me new things, made me laugh out loud and is extremely useful. I particularly like how everything feels actionable. I'd finish a chapter and be able to implement its lesson right away. I especially liked Chapter 12, Reveal. The lessons found in that chapter are helping to make me a better storyteller, which is someth ...more
Sean Owen
Jun 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
The real benefit to slogging my way through "Captivate" is that I now have a new worst book I've read all the way through. You know you're in for a real turd when the dedication is "Dedicated to anyone who has ever felt awkward in a social situation. You are so not alone" Like OH MY GOD, TOTALLY. Believe it or not things actually get worse as you go. She has an inability to write without using vacuous slang. Every other sentence is about "hacking" social situations or "leveling up" your relation ...more
John Doyle
Who knew that if an acquaintance says, "I love chocolate," it is a major social mistake to share and explain my preference for peanut butter?! Apparently, it follows from a first principle of social behavior that I should instead shift subjects until landing on authentic common ground. For example, it would be much better to say, "If you love chocolate do you happen to enjoy chocolate peanut butter yogurt? Yes?! Me too!! I am totally with you. Chocolate peanut butter yogurt is the best!!" Captiv ...more
Chris Rutledge
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Captivate - it is fantastic! For all of you "recovering awkward people" out there, this book is a gold mine of useful tips, clearly presented, to enable you to "hack" any awkward social situation. Like her amazing YouTube videos, television appearances, and blogs, Van Edwards is engaging, warm, and the best friend we all wish we had!

Laura
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I truly believe that I could happily live life as a hermit. Not because I hate people. I love people. Sometimes though, I don't know what to say to them. This book has helped me a great deal. As a long-suffering introvert, I've learned from this book how people work. Her website is just a fun and entertaining as the book. I now know how to interact with people and not feel like an idiot. For that alone, this book gets 5 stars from me.
Lorilin
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, wellness
As an introvert who was basically raised by wolves, I found so much good stuff in this book. There's a ton of guidance on relating to and reading people, and I learned a lot. Glowing review TK.
Stephen
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a self proclaimed extrovert, I was hesitant about buying this book because I thought it was geared only toward introverts. Wow, how wrong I was. Vanessa, was able to provide hacks, challenges, and insights into ways make me into the best version of myself. From where to stand in a room to how to appropriately thank people based on their love language. Her hacks/lessons occasionally conjured up the reaction of "oh S*** I do that." It is those moments that made me really love this book because ...more
Glen
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won an ARC of this book in a goodreads drawing.

A very good book about how to win friends and influence people, using science as a guide.
Paige Hendrix
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an educator and entrepreneur, I'm a geek for a book that teaches me something new I can bring to my students or my business. In particular, I loved Chapter 10 "Connect: How to Speak So People Listen" because it dives into the power of storytelling. As she weaves together examples like the alternative comedy show "The Last Show I Do Before I Go on Medication", the genesis of Beanie Babies and perfecting an authentic rallying cry during fundraising calls for Emory, Vanessa wraps powerful resear ...more
Mehrsa
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This sentence was actually in the book: "leverage your vulnerability to elevate your relationships." There was some interesting tidbits in here for schmoozing in cocktail parties and stuff, but so there were so many times where she said "utilize" and "leverage" and "connect" that I just could not take it seriously. However, I have no doubt that this book is actually very helpful if one is a less cynical person than I am. Can you read the contempt on my face? If not, see the chapter on reading em ...more
Agne
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am now extremely captivating.

In all seriousness, the book is actually pretty great - easy to understand, fun, the right length. The tips on building relationships are clear and there are enough examples of questions to ask and whatnot. My favorite part was about conversation sparkers. I think the strength of the approach is in the "first five minutes" (first impressions), I was a bit less interested in the long-term things.

I've seen the paper version as well and would recommend that, as ther
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Narilka
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, read-in-2018
While prepping to give my first public speaking event I stumbled across Vanessa Van Edwards and her website Science of People. Vanessa has a passion for people, learning what makes us tick, why we act the way we do and how to use this information to become a better communicator. Understanding people is a big part of my job and I'm always looking for new tips and tricks I can use in my daily life. Turns out that her book Captivate is exactly what I was looking for and a whole lot more. Through he ...more
Priya
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vanessa is good with people. I knew that by reading her blog and doing some of her online courses. She is passionate about what she does and motivated by that passion, the work she produces is of a great quality.

I believe this book is one of her best works yet.

I am a self-confessed introvert and find it difficult to talk to people and connect with them naturally. The ideas presented in this book are so easy, yet make so much sense, that it has become far easier for me to connect to people. I lo
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Emiel De jonge
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky to be chosen for the early preview. Vanessa van Edwards writes in the same manner and with the same enthusiasm as she does giving presentations. When i was reading her book it felt the same as when she was presenting herself during one of her courses. The book contains the same geeky humor and she puts herself in the spotlight. The book is an easy read through because of this. Chapter 6 and 7 where my absolute favorites because they contain a lot of practical advice on personality an ...more
Jesse
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have purchased three of Vanessa Van Edwards’ online classes and this book is a great addition to that collection. There are parts that are duplicative but that was good for me as this format helped distill the knowledge even more. If you are struggling to find meaningful connections with people, either personal or professional, this book will leapfrog you ahead of your peers. Using people’s words, using surprise and having a story toolbox handy has transformed my social skills.
I received a fr
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Jaak Ennuste
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Generally not a big fan of books with similar titles, but this was honestly quite good. It goes a bit down the lines of Dale Carnegie's stuff, where part of you wants to stop reading, but the other part of you understands that some tips are basic truths that you should follow. Definitely will try to keep some things in mind about the use of body language and on frameworks about analyzing people. Occasionally goes over the top about what "science" says about very complex subjects such as human in ...more
Gideonaa
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves doing a lot of professional networking and feels outside of their comfort zone, even just slightly. I don’t consider myself to have social anxiety but I’ve always wanted to become a more natural conversationalist and this is one of the few books I’ve seen out there that contains distinct techniques (especially chapter 3) for that outcome. If you want to improve your ability to maintain fun, engaging and fruitful conversations in your personal/ ...more
Bjoern Rochel
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-mgmt, 2017, 2018
A condensed best-of of her superb Udemy courses. A great toolbox of little hacks and other nifty things to improve social intelligence and interactions.

Handy for introverts like me ;-)
Rebecca
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a book I can see myself going back to over and over again. There is so much information packed into this little book and I felt like I learned so much more about peoples behaviours and how to improve interactions with people on a daily basis.
Kathy Heare Watts
Do you know how to read people accurately? What's the science behind human behavior and facial expressions.

I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Dan Connors
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
As a confirmed life-long introvert, I was not initially sure about this book. Then I realized that once in a while I do actually need to interact with other human beings and get their attention, so I gave this book a try.

Even though I had doubts, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The author, who has built up a presence for herself on You Tube, Ted Talks, Udemy, and social media, has done some homework about how to reach, inspire and build relationships with people.

The book is well-organiz
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Tuti
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
useful & fun, highly recommended! ...more
Geoff
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must have. The author uses science based research and developed them into "Life Hacks." This was extremely helpful and easy to implement. She shows how timing, and approach can dramatically change the outcome of a situation.


I was lucky enough to receive a pre order of the book, and thank god I did. I had a networking event last week and used Vanessa's "Zone Map" to maximize my success. And maximize I did, instead of crowding people at the doors to greet them, I was strategically s
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J
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might just wind up being a sort of bible for me. I checked this out from the library, but I'm going to ask for my own copy for my birthday or Christmas so I can write in the book and refer to it whenever I want. I'm not necessarily awkward per se, but I've got pretty bad social anxiety where I just shut down with people and want to run from any room that has so much as one other person in it (just yesterday I was at an event where, during lunch, instead of mingling, I took my plate of food ...more
Stephanie Thoma
The first Vanessa Van Edwards book I've read since delving into her Youtube channel, it didn't disappoint. As someone who considers herself well-versed in networking, I learned a few things, including:

- Learn where you enjoy spending time (bars, book stores, casinos, etc.) and simply spend more time out-n-about at those places
- Best conversation starters (in order): 1. What was the highlight of your day? 2. What personal projects are you working on? 3. Have anything exciting coming up? 4. What's
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Veach Glines
I wanted to like this much more than I did, the You-Tube videos by the author marketed this book better than the book was written. I didn't expect to be amazed, but I did expect to learn something new -- or at least a new approach. Nothing in this book has been adopted, by me, to help me communicate.

The book uses bad, tiny, black and white photos (as if this were a self-help book from the 60's) combined with http-links to "learn more" on their website, and poorly written quizzes which are of va
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Pamela Pots
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am blown away by this book. The freedom that this book will provide to all those that read it is astounding. This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in decoding people in any type of social situation. I know exactly how to work a room, read faces and talk to anyone now. Do yourself a favor and purchase this book today!
Liliya Jones
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great practical guide for anybody whose job involves networking & sales... which is everybody! I will be sharing this book with the whole team. ...more
DeAnn
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, work
I loved the mix of science and practical tips in this book. This is perfect for the the new networker or the seasoned pro, there is something new for everyone in it. I can't wait to check out the companion materials on the website!
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Vanessa Van Edwards is the national bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People, which has been translated into 16 languages. As founder of Science of People, Vanessa researches human behavior, communication and the science of relationships. Her innovative work has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur magazine. Her YouTube videos and viral TEDx Londo ...more

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Trying to figure out what to read next? Why not add some 2019 Goodreads Choice Award titles to your Want to Read list? After all, these popular...
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“Being a highlighter is about constantly searching for the good in people. When you tell people they are good, they become better. When you search for what’s good, you feel great.” 11 likes
“When you try to be the same as everyone else, it’s boring. When you try to fit into a mold, you become forgettable. When you try to be “normal,” you become dull. Just be yourself, because no one is like you. If you’re a little weird, own it. The right people will like you for it.” 6 likes
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