Captivate

(Post originally appeared on my other site, www.MinMarketing.com)

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People by Vanessa Van Edwards

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 taking charge of your interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on how to captivate anyone–and a completely new approach to building connections.

Just like knowing the formulas to use in a chemistry lab, or the right programming language to build an app, Captivate provides simple ways to solve people problems. You’ll learn, for example…

– How to work a room: Every party, networking event, and social situation has a predictable map. Discover the sweet spot for making the most connections.
– How to read faces: It’s easier than you think to speed-read facial expressions and use them to predict people’s emotions.
– How to talk to anyone: Every conversation can be memorable–once you learn how certain words generate the pleasure hormone dopamine in listeners.

When you understand the laws of human behavior, your influence, impact, and income will increase significantly. What’s more, you will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, and build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation–negotiations, interviews, parties, and pitches. You’ll never interact the same way again.

I first came across Vanessa Van Edwards via a Self-Made Man podcast interview she did with Mike Dillard. If you’re curious, you can listen to that podcast here. I was immediately taken both by Vanessa’s easy storytelling style and the captivating information she was relaying. I purchased Captivate the moment I finished the podcast.

I was not disappointed in reading this book. Captivate is an engaging and interactive read. Not only does Vanessa relate what she’s learned in an easy-to-digest (and apply!) way, she also encourages you to take quizzes and other actions to enrich your reading experience.

During the course of the book, you will learn 14 powerful ways to hack human behavior. The book is divided into three sections, meaning that no matter what your profession or personal social challenge, you’re sure to get something of value from the book. Whether you’re the type of person who has to meet a lot of new people or someone who’s trying to enrich their existing relationships, Captivate is a must read.

I can already see that this is a book that will stay on my shelf and that I’ll revisit time and again. There’s so much good stuff, it would be impossible to really get everything out of the book on a first read. I think an appropriate way to start applying the knowledge of Captivate in your own life is to pick one behavior hack at a time to focus on learning and internalizing. Each chapter features a “Challenges” section with ideas for putting each behavior hack into action. I am looking forward to trying these in my own life!

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