Monday, 4 July 2011

Body language in Business - Book Review

Title of Book: Body language in Business

Subtitle: Decoding the Signals

Authors: Adrian Furnham & Evgeniya Petrova

Publisher: Palgrave macmillan

ISBN 978-0-230-24146-6

3 stars The quotes from research post 2002 are useful. A good modern edition for the business library shelf.

Genre: A read-through book rather than “Dip In Reference” so have your pencil ready to mark up the bits you will want to come back to.

Style: 'Worthy' Academic style -references dutifully noted at the end on pages 207/8 like for a lengthy studious 'paper' – all dust jacket endorsements are from PhDs or Professors- i.e. no Business leaders. The book is meagerly illustrated

Contents page: 2 pages and thorough

Index: Adequate 8 ½ pages for 208 page book

Flick through eye appeal: Poor - Only four illustrations Microsoft Word type symbols but plenty of useful and interesting tables

Time for a breather Stops : Fair. There are good conclusions at end of each chapter which would please a school master who corrects and marks essays. Few prompted opportunities to pause and reflect on the learning. One suspects readers perhaps are expected to go away to write and submit their own essays for Furnham and Petrova to mark and hand back at a subsequent tutorial.

Golden Nuggets: Balance of the importance of verbal, visual and vocal clues. There are flouncy polemical attacks on the “so called experts”- as academics are prone to do. The book dispels some of the urban myths of the body language self-appointed gurus. The misquoting of Mehribian etc. by others is stressed at some length.

Topic Summary: 8 strong chapters

War Stories: Few – This is 'Business' described from the conservatoire/ballet school/drama school rather than the concert hall or stage platform of the muck and bullets of doing it. It is written more at the abstract level than the concrete level of daily business but still of use to practitioners of business to try out.

Illustration: Poor - but many useful tables almost make up for this weakness.

Short review: Personally I miss Prof. Furnham’s regular column in the old Pink Business Section of the (Thursday ?) edition of the Daily Telegraph. This book is a serious read and more up to date than many others covering the topic on the market. Although printed and bound in Great Britain (Chippenham & Eastbourne) it is littered with American spelling – color, odor and words like obsessionality for ‘obsession’ . There is quite a lot of psychological jargon which is usually explained but don’t let that put you off.

Worth buying if you are after an up to date book on the subject and you enjoy reading the work of Psychologists 'sounding off' ( which I do !).


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  2. Your body language shows your postures and that reflects in your working area.