Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

How to Read a Person Like a Book

Rate this book
Learn what your friend, your lover, your boss are really saying to you—in the language that everybody uses but nobody speaks—body language! From the renowned founder of The Negotiation Institute Gerard Nierenberg comes this easy to use guide to improving your ability to communicate with other people.

Whether conscious or not of our bodies’ movements, we express our feelings, attitudes, and motives through gestures that are often vague and frequently ignored. How to Read a Person Like a Book teaches you how to “decode” and reply to nonverbal signals from strangers, friends, and business associates, allowing you gain command of business and social situations; sharpen your negotiating skills; recognize signals of affection and attraction; enrich your knowledge of body language; and much more!

Learn the clues that make reading people easy. Gerard Nierenberg’s proven techniques for gaining control of negotiations, detecting lies, or recognizing signals of affection and sexual attraction will dramatically improve your understanding of others, giving you the advantage of added insight into all social and business situations.

192 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1971

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Gerard I. Nierenberg

45 books35 followers
Gerard Nierenberg was the founder of the Negotiation Institute, an educational non-profit institute dedicated to advancing the art of negotiation. He published his first book, The Art of Negotiating, in 1968; the subsequent success of the book led to the creation of customized in-house workshops on the art of negotiating. Mr. Nierenberg provided seminars to entities from Fortune 500 companies to academic institutions to governmental organizations and agencies worldwide. He went on to write twenty-two books, translated into thirty-two languages, on the subjects of negotiation, communication and effective sales techniques.

As a thought leader in the field of negotiation, he was frequently called upon by the press to provide in-depth analysis of events of the day. In conjunction with his bestseller on body language How To Read a Person Like a Book, he appeared several times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He died in New York at the age of 89.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
660 (25%)
4 stars
655 (25%)
3 stars
842 (32%)
2 stars
303 (11%)
1 star
97 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 215 reviews
2 reviews1 follower
February 12, 2011
I enjoy reading about body language- it's hard to refute, since there have been so many studies to prove it. This book has a few great points. After reading it, I found myself in a meeting and the person on the other side of me did one of the moves and it was exactly for the reason the book stated (ear pull). It was exciting and it gave me an opportunity to stop talking and let the person tell me what they loved about the idea we were discussing.

On the other side, it's VERY dated (discusses smoking in meetings) and that includes some absurd sexism. Also, most of the information is either very obvious or so silly it made me laugh. For example, if someone frowns and is hunched over and may be crying and is talking about how they aren't happy, then they aren't happy. Don't be afraid to skip some pages or sections.
Profile Image for Gregg.
74 reviews58 followers
August 12, 2020
There are many levels of communication going on when a person interacts with the world, verbal, psychic, and body language. Try as a person might, they cannot monitor all of these channels completely. By being observant, one can gain a truer assessment of what a person is trying to convey. This book seeks to draw your attention to the body language of people and gain increased insight into their true mental state.

Party scenes are analyzed, couples in public are studied, students in a classroom are looked at, and people's behavior at a conference are evaluated. From a simple nose scratch to a chin rub, to high/low folded arms, to all the other subtle moments that add up to complete sentences as to what a person is feeling is covered in detail in this book. Also, there are quotes from luminaries throughout the books as support for the material presented.

The name of the game is to be aware, and by paying attention you begin to see patterns or cluster gestures as the book calls them. These taken together chancels out forced or inadvertent movements.
For those who think they know how to read a person, this book will supplement what you think you know, and for those that can't take a hint this text will only add to your social grace.
Profile Image for Rabab Al.aswad.
393 reviews80 followers
August 30, 2017

نمر بحياتنا بالكثير من المواقف ومع الكثير من الاشخاص مختلفين بالتفكير والطباع والشخصيات واللغة والعادات والتقاليد والتصرفات.. مما يجعلنا عرضه لفهم بعض الامور بطريقة خاطئة او بخلاف مايعنيها الشخص .. وكذلك تعاملنا المتواصل مع البائعين والعملاء والمندوبين نحتاج احياناً لفهم لغة الجسد فمنهم من يصطاد في الماء العكر ولاسيما حين يكون المشتري شخص متردد ويسهل استغلاله او الخجول الذي يشتري مالا يرغب فيه وغيرهم من الامور.
نحتاج الى معرفة بعض الإيماءات الخاصة بالاشخاص المعروفين في حياتنا ودائمين التواجد بيننا وكثيرين التعامل معاً حتى نتخطى بعض المشاكل التي تواجهنا معهم فقط من خلال دراسة لغة جسدهم المتحدثة بصمت او كما تسمى بلغة الا لفضي في هذا الكتاب #كيف_تقرأ_شخصاً_مثل_الكتاب تتعرف على الكثير من الايماءات فمتى يكون الشخص محبط او مكتئب او يشعر بالملل من هذا الحديث او يستاذ بإيمائه لتناول اطراف الحديث من الشخص المتحدث او لايشعر بالرحه او هناك امر يقلقه او الواثق من نفسه وكذلك المراوغ وغيرهم من الامور التي ذكرها الكتّاب بصورة سلسله وموضحه كذلك ببعض الرسومات التوضيحية ليسهل على القارئ معرفتها
لغته سلسلة جداً ويملك اسلوب لايصال الفكرة بصورة واضحه ومفهومة.. فانا لست مهتمه كثيراً بهذا النوع من الدراسة ولكن احبذ الابحار قليلاً في هكذا كتب الخاصه بلغة الجسد لمعرفة الاشخاص المحيطين بي اكثر واكثر ومن لايحبذ هكذا كتب سيصاب بالملل خلال القراءة فهو يعتمد على الامور العملية اكثر من النظرية ويحتاج الكتاب الاطلاع عليه بين فترة واخرى للتذكير بما تم فهمه وقرائته.. استمتعت بقرائته
طبعاً الكتاب مترجم ويعود لثلاثة مؤلفين هم #جيراردي_آى_نيرنبرج و #هنري_إتش_كاليرو و #جابرييل_جرايسون ولكل منهم مؤلفاته الخاصه.. الترجمة ممتازة وربما التكرار الذي نراه لان بعض الايماءات تتشابه بالمعنى وكذلك وضع لنا المترجم توضيح لعدة امور وهي اختلاف مفهوم لغة الجسد من دولة لاخرى وبعض الحركات يكن ظاهرها ليس كما باطنها فيكون التفسير خاطئ فنحتاج مراعاة عدة امور والتعمق في دراسة لغة الجسد فهذا الكتاب بشكل مبسط لبعض الامور.. وفق المترجم بإيصال مايجب ايصاله من خلال هذا الكتاب
كان كتابي (100) للعام 2017
Profile Image for Naira Xx.
123 reviews9 followers
January 4, 2023
حاسه اني اتخبط ف دماغي وانا بحط الكتاب دا ف want to read
تخيل تتحرك عادي تلاقي حد بيحلل دا و يقول مم دي شكلها عندها واثقه ف نفسها او لا دي انطوائية
Profile Image for NoScreenName.
146 reviews
May 13, 2015
Well.. I re read this one and it has some useful information but I have read a few of these. I think it's a little dated maybe. Not that body language changes all that much but I have read more comprehensive books on the subject.

Joe Navarro would be good to check out for books in this genre. I also have another one (some woman who is a lawyer who picks juries' check my book shelf I forgot her name) is much more detailed and helpful.

Decent but not the best out there. Very basic intro at best.
Profile Image for priyadharshini sridhar.
28 reviews8 followers
April 19, 2017
this book was just fine. this book tells you how to read gestures. it is an informative book. but this book is not very interesting for kids. I think that adults would enjoy it better. if you are a person who is interested in activities related to speaking like debate and elocution I would suggest this book for you.
Profile Image for Maria.
349 reviews
February 14, 2016

This was a good book. I thought this would be more in depth. Also, It doesn't add much to the basics of analysis, most of the things illustrated in this book is known to everyone of common else. I do believe that one gesture or posture has more than one meaning or referring.
Profile Image for Shrilaxmi.
220 reviews60 followers
January 2, 2018
Wow! now I know what people are saying even when they aren't talking. This is really good.
Profile Image for Nathan Albright.
4,488 reviews111 followers
February 17, 2017
It is quite well known among anyone remotely familiar with me that I enjoy reading books and that I have a great deal of interest in the problem of interpersonal communication [1]. This book is a particularly practical book, and an immensely worthwhile one for anyone who is a speaker or anyone who draws the sort of responses from other people that I have often done. It is a book on nonverbal communication, and is an attempt to help make people more responsive and observant to the tells of people's posture and gestures while it is still possible for someone to successfully navigate the stressful process of communicating with other people. To be sure, the book is written in such a way that the author draws a great deal of attention to his own success in teaching others how to be more observant and how it improved them--like all self-help books this one has a certain amount of salesmanship and gamesmanship about it. It is remarkable, given the extent to which communication is nonverbal, that we are often so unobservant about it, but at least I can say that I know a few people who are quite insightful about my body language and gestures, even if they are not the sort of people I would most wish to be able to read me like a book.

In under 200 pages, the author manages to give an entertaining discussion of gestures and body language that looks at how we use nonverbal communication in a variety of ways. I know I was able to see a lot of myself in these pages, with pictures and descriptions of gestures and body language that shows openness, that shows someone desperately wanting to escape, that shows fondness and flirtation as well as closed and even hostile body language that immediately proceeds a deeply unpleasant scene. The pictures give the reader a good visualization and the text is often entertaining as well as insightful. The author skillfully examines how our communication gives tells even when we are trying to disguise it, and that politicians, lovers, public speakers, and businessmen all need to do a better job at communicating in ways that others will appreciate and that will express the openness that we should feel about others. The author also comments on body language that expresses anxiety and nervousness and how that tends to lower the trust that others have even if they do not understand the reasons why.

This book is one of the most practical books I have read in some time, a book whose value is obvious and which fills a fairly drastic need in my own life. Given that the book is not a demanding one and that it can be very useful, aside from enjoyable to read, this is a book I can highly recommend for people who want to do better at gauging the responsiveness of their audience and understanding how their own feelings escape through their body language. I likely read an old edition of this book, published decades ago, but the subject matter of the book is sufficiently important that this is the sort of book that has likely remained in print in edition after edition. If not, it should be, given that so many of us would be greatly helped by a more precise understanding of body language and its meaning. Why wouldn't we want to read others like books, seeing how much we enjoy spending time around people as well as reading books for insight? I hope the question is as rhetorical for others as it is for me.

[1] See, for example:










Profile Image for Isha Varma.
43 reviews67 followers
September 10, 2022
I’ve been browsing this book for over 20 years now and I’m so glad finally after nearly two de cases, I got an opportunity to read it word by word.
Although I feel the content can be practically applied to any walk of life, I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s in the corporate/biz culture.
The narration is direct and precise, it’s is a absolute breeze!
I’d definitely classify it as one of the classics in psychology.
Profile Image for Emre Güller.
3 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2020
Honestly, for me this book stated the obvious, kept repeating the same statements and arguments even with the same wording over and over again, which rendered the book as annoying and boring. Even though it was very short, it still felt like an eternity reading it, and I had to push myself through it.
16 reviews
July 30, 2021
I listened to the audiobook. I thought it might be interesting, and help me better understand body language.

Well ... it's short ... only 39 minutes long. I cannot say I learned a lot.

Maybe the paper book is better ... ?
Profile Image for Manoj Kakran.
100 reviews46 followers
November 28, 2020
Very good book to read and learn about body language. The book gives the views about "observing body language to know what people are thinking." The book will be very useful for everyone, who wants to learn about psychology, negotiation, and human behavior. It have many gems with some outdated gems.
Profile Image for Aurick Frederick.
6 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2018
This book explains in detail how a body language spoken through out many situations, whether you are presenting, negotiating, or even on casual conversation.
Very informative with lots of pictures given for easier understanding
Profile Image for Sara.
39 reviews
December 2, 2007
Non- Fiction is great! I'm starting to like non-fiction a lot recently, i have been reading a lot of books that teaches youngsters how to be good leaders when they grow up. How to be a servant leader?
Well, to begin with, this book is the start, the begining of this life lesson that can set you for life! This book is great because it teaches the readers how to read body language. What does a person's body language tell us about a person, you may ask. Addtionally, it can tell you many things, like their personality, their characteristics, their traits, their attitude, etc. You would have to read it to believe as one say because this gives you a veiw to a whole new perspective in this world. Now when you see someone slouching in class, you can tell that they are very tired or to be more concise, they are probaly a lazy person, not interested in the topic or in anything!
This book is your guide to help you watch out for certain people in this world, who is powerful? Who is dangerous? Who is weak and poerless? Who is dependent on others? Many more, and it all begins with body language. The title of this book gives it all because it's all about first impressions. Like when you are going to a job interview or any type of interview you would know what gesture or body posture you should make to impress your new boss! Moreover, how about going on a date? You can automatically know what kind of person you are with, are they the one? How about what they are thinking inside their head? Their facial expressions can help you find out. However, you will never be able to know unless you learn about the signs people give in reality! This book is great!!!
Profile Image for أخضر أخضر.
Author 92 books733 followers
January 9, 2022
يختص كيف تقرأ شخصًا مثل الكتاب بقراءة وتحليل وتفسير بعض الإشارات الثابتة التي تصدر من جسم الإنسان بنمط متكرر لا يختلف كثيرًا باختلاف الأشخاص.
هذه الإشارات لا تقال بالكلام ولا بالتعبير الصريح، إنما تصدر كانعكاس مباشر للأفكار والمشاعر والمعتقدات، سواء كان ذلك بشكل إرادي يقصد منه الشخص إيصاله إلى الجمهور الذي يقابله أو كان بصورة لا إرادية من العقل اللاواعي.
لذا تسمَّى هذه الإيحاءات بالاتصال غير اللفظي، ويعدُّ فهمها عملية معقدة تحتاج إلى الصبر والمراقبة والدراسة المستمرة ما تحتاجه اللغات كي يتم تعلمها وإتقانها.
ويعتمد تحليل الإشارات غير اللفظية على دراسة المظاهر الصادرة عن الشخص أثناء الحديث، ووفقًا للكتاب فقد صُنِّفَت طرق تعبير الجسد إلى خمسة مكونات عامة هي:
الاتصال البصري.
وتعابير الوجه.
ونمط الحركة.
وهيئة الوقوف.
والملامسة الناتجة عن مصافحة الأيدي.
ويؤخذ في الاعتبار أنه لا يمكن الوصول إلى استنتاجات مباشرة وسريعة للآخرين من خلال الاقتصار على رؤية تعابير وجوههم أو طريقة المصافحة أو كيفية السير، دون التعرُّض العميق للإشارات اللفظية ومراقبة الصورة ككل.
Profile Image for Linah.
85 reviews2 followers
April 24, 2011
Out of all the beneficial books I have read, this is definitely one of the top. It doesn't give you groundbreaking information but merely sheds a light on gestures we use everyday; gestures that we probably are already aware of intuitively.

I loved the chapter on how best to understand gestures; one shouldn't interpret gestures alone but in the gesture cluster they are in, as well as context and situation which will provide a better understanding. There was an explanation on gestures that "turn off" and "turn on" listeners which I found quite interesting especially if you want to get a point across. If a person uses a defensive gesture, for example, they completely turn off - put up a barrier and nothing you say will go through to them.

Overall, a pretty light read and it's pretty amusing. not a boring how-to or self-improvement book but written rather well with interesting little stories and pictures that convey a better meaning to gestures and gesture clusters.
Profile Image for Bookworm Amir.
198 reviews96 followers
December 6, 2012
How To Read a Person Like a Book is an investment that will reap you rewards in far more ways than you can imagine.

This is a 'manual' of body language. It is simple, straightforward, and written in layman's terms. It does not go into all that academic talk which would bore you - and it is very concise. In addition, they contain sketches of body language situations.

A very enjoyable read that most definitely has taught me a lot on how to 'read' people. After reading this I can gauge a person/group's subconscious communication - and also understand my own. Understanding body language is important in business and social relationships - and it can be the factor that will enhance the relationships that you have with people.

A most recommended read! Will definitely give a re-read.
Profile Image for Malak Gamal.
90 reviews19 followers
January 29, 2019
2.5 stars
I don't know if I'm saying this because I've read about body language (briefly) before, but I feel like most tips in this book were about very obvious things. I don't need a book to tell me that women adjust their hair when they're in the presence of someone they're interested in, or that people clear their throats when they're about to do a speech because they're nervous, or when someone crosses their arm at you it means they're angry or upset or defensive. I already know all of this. But hey, maybe it's just me and they're subtle things not everyone notices. I doubt it but who knows?

I liked the illustrations, though. It's a well-written, well-constructed book but I found myself skimming the last few pages out of boredom.
Profile Image for Nupur.
123 reviews19 followers
December 23, 2020
A book on how to improve interpersonal communication, felt very cliche to me in the first impression, But as I kept on turning pages, I realized that even though we all want to be supreme conversationalists, extreme bluntness can lead to loss of respect among people involved. More than communicating, this book is all about how to take in unspoken words and pick up signs.
However, In my opinion, there can be instances where we might misread the situation and hence we should not completely rely on gestures
But overall, the book is very insightful.
There were places where it was stretched a little bit and over empathised on some gestures like folded arms or clentched fists, which is very common and doesnt need much mention, hence feel free to skip few parts of it.
Profile Image for May Ling.
1,071 reviews287 followers
January 8, 2016
A great started guide to thinking about what to look for in the way of body language. Not being an expert and having never read anything in this genre, I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to someone who was interested in learning more about the subject.
61 reviews
August 7, 2008
it's very interesting.. although there are words that i don't understand.
Profile Image for Niv Malca.
14 reviews
April 14, 2017
ספר מצווין, הרבה דוגמאות מצווינות בתמונות,
זה תחום עצום, הספר הזה מחסה בסיס גדול.
ממש אהבתי!
Profile Image for عهود.
131 reviews13 followers
November 22, 2018
معلومات كلها اعرفها
بس طريقة التقديم حلوة و تشد القارىء
Profile Image for علي الصباخ.
Author 3 books43 followers
February 2, 2020
كتاب جميل، أخذت منه ما يفيدني، ووجدت بعضه ممل، وجود الصور كانت فكرة ذكية لكي ترسخ في عقلنا الباطن حركات لغة الجسد.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 215 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.