"What Every BODY Is Saying" by Joe Navarro

Book Review: What Every BODY Is Saying by Joe Navarro

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had telepathic powers and could read the other person’s mind? Almost everyone has. Perhaps this happened to you at a job interview, or on a first date. We all wish we knew how the person across from us really felt at that time. Although the ability to read minds is impossible, we can do the second-best thing, read body language.

Having spent 25 years as an FBI counterintelligence special agent and supervisor specializing in nonverbal communications, Joe Navarro provides an insightful guide to reading body language in his book, “What Every BODY Is Saying.”

Author Joe Navarro

Author Joe Navarro

In each chapter of his book, Navarro describes a different section of the body and analyzes the meaning behind each nonverbal movement. Navarro covers everything from simple eye movements to shifts made by the whole body.

In addition to defining nonverbal cues, Navarro provides readers with images to better understand certain gestures as well as stories of real-world examples where having the ability to read body language greatly increased Navarro’s knowledge of the situation.  


Throughout the book, Navarro also tackles common misconceptions about body language. For instance, most people believe that the face is the most honest body part and the prime location to look for nonverbal signals that reflect an individual’s true feelings.

However, this is incorrect. This is because most people, when trying to hide their true intentions, consciously attempt to alter their facial expressions. Although it may not seem clear at first, Navarro gives an excellent explanation to prove his point.


People lie with their faces because that is what they’ve been taught since childhood. Kids are taught to put on a happy face and give a warm greeting to their relatives, even though they may dislike them. People even give compliments to individuals who can show no facial expression by saying they have a great poker face.

When gauging a person’s true feelings, most people start at the top of the body (the face) and work their way down. While most folks believe this to be a great strategy, it’s an ineffective method.


Having conducted countless interviews for the FBI, Navarro is convinced that the proper way to gauge a person’s true feelings, is to start by looking at the legs and to work their way up.

Navarro writes that before humans learned to communicate verbally, they spoke with their body, with the legs usually being that first body part to speak. If there was a threat, the legs would start to turn away from the danger. If there was something we attractive, such as food or a mate, the legs would turn toward the object of desire.


Having the ability to understand body language can be an incredibly useful tool in one’s life. It’s applicable to various scenarios including everything from job interviews, to first dates, to network events.

It’s true that certain gestures may have a different meaning among cultures, holding two fingers up in a V shape means peace in some cultures and victory in others, but the vast majority of nonverbal cues have the same universal meaning.

If the popular saying, “Human communication is 20 percent verbal and 80 percent nonverbal,” is even approximately accurate, Navarro’s book is definitely one worth checking out.


To get the book, click the link below!