Missing Credentials and References
One of the first things I look for when I read this type of book is the author's credentials. Their qualifications for writing on a topic that should be presented by professionals in the field.
The second thing I look for are the references, because even an expert in the field may reference someone else's work. Especially when it's a subject that's been around for quite a while. When I can't find either, my suspicion radar goes on high alert, because this tells me that the author is borrowing other people's work and re-writing it as her own. Naughty. So, already two stars are deducted. It also makes me wonder what would happen if we ran the work through a plagiarism program. How many alarms would go off.
As for the text, the author explains what body language is and the benefits of learning how to read it, then begins speaking on how to read body language beginning at infancy and working up to adults. Here's the weird thing. When she get to the statistics related to teenagers, she provides a source for those statistics. I also found a couple of other sources (links). Why then aren't there sources for other information? The information she writes on is not new or unique, so she had to get her material from somewhere.
In each section, the author breaks down body language into parts of the body: hands/arms, legs/feet, face, body/posture. A lot of which is repetitive. A weird thing is the section in which she begins to provide examples and then supplies a takeaway. A lot of the examples come from television shows or movies? Why in the world would you think these are good examples of reading body language?
For example: She uses Deputy Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show. She says that no one takes him seriously. Why? Because even though he was confident on the outside, it was all for show because he was really a "timid, nervous, jumped to conclusions without getting the facts, and was as unskilled and unfit for the position as a person can get." Her takeaway that we can learn from Fife? Be confident (there were actually five points presented, but they were all repetitions of "be confident". Here's my issues:
1) Actors are trained to behave a certain way, so their behaviors aren't genuine. We can't read their body language effectively.
2) What does Fife's behavior and being confident in your work environment, not letting people bully or intimidate you, have to do with reading someone's body language. She doesn't associate her takeaway with body language at all.
In Chapter Nine, she presents yet more statistics, but this time doesn't bother to provide a link to where she got that information. She then asks the reader to do their own interviews to determine when body language can be used as self defense. Didn't she do her own research? If so, why didn't she present her own results? Here's the clincher though -- she tells the reader to "watch a few episodes of a crime show..." Again, these are actors. Is she really suggesting that they are the best method for studying body language?
After that joke of a chapter, she goes on to explain how different cultures express body language in a different way, but most isn't about body language rather cultural behavior. I suppose you could tell by their body language if you offended them. But, as with most of the other text, there wasn't a single resource stating where she got her data from.
The information was okay, but as far as recommended reading? I can't do it.