Captivated by “Captivate”


Back in my college Interpersonal Communication class, my professor had us watch the Pilot episode of “Lie to Me.” I honestly cannot remember why she did it, because I know it wasn’t about micro-expressions, but I got hooked and binged watched that entire show within probably the next week. Since then, whenever I go to a bookstore, or casually browse through Amazon or iBooks, I spend a solid majority of the time in the psychology section. I love seeing and reading things about the way people think, and about human interaction. So when I saw the cover of this book, I was immediately intrigued. It looked awesome.

Then I started to read it. To be perfectly honest, it is better than I even expected it to be. Vanessa runs the blog and company Science of People (She also states on her website she was trained by the man Lie to Me was based on!). She breaks the book down into three parts. Each corresponds to a different length of time an interaction or relationship can be. The first covers the first five minutes, then the first five hours, and finally the first five days. I was captivated from the very beginning.

I love people, and I love being social. However, I am so uncomfortable with what it generally termed as “networking” it is ridiculous. In fact, I am generally uncomfortable in the first five minutes of speaking to almost anyone outside the realms of interviews and sorority recruitment in college. If it is not a structured first interaction, I tend to feel like I get a little lost. I can recognize emotions and everything, but before reading this book I had no idea how to find the root of these emotions or even how to respond.

This book covers all of that. From which locations in an event are the best for meeting new people, how to use conversation “sparkers” instead of just your basic “Nice weather we’re having,” to reading the much loved micro-expressions, she covers it all. However, the most useful part was hacking the personality and value matrix.

  • At some point in your life, you have most likely taken a personality test of some sort. One of the most well known is the Big or Global 5, which is what is used in this book. The traits used are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The explanations of these are so in-depth in the book that it is easy to think about where your friends and family members fall on each trait. The book goes on to explain the other two matrix levels, appreciation and value. I found these two levels to be even more helpful than personality and, when reflecting on them after reading, they gave me new insights and appreciation into the concerns and viewpoints of some of my friends. In fact, by elevating my understanding of them, this book actually made me even love some of my friends more than I already did.

I highly recommend checking out not just this book, but the Science of People website. It is amazing the things you can learn, and how you can find little ways to use and implement them in your life.

Overall: A+ absolutely fantastic read.


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