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Book Review – Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman’s book, Emotions Revealed, is in the first five books to read because of Paul Ekman’s his impact on the field of behavioral analysis and the vast amount of information he encompasses in this book.  The book goes well beyond just reading facial expressions as Ekman also takes the time to talk about feelings, emotions, and moods, as they are what drive the expressions we can observe on a person’s face.

The final two thirds of the book are dedicated to the descriptions of the facial expressions associated with the seven universal emotions, and provide an extremely thorough description of what indicators may be present with each emotion.  His research goes beyond what we would just call Kinesics in The CP Journal (his information regarding the face,) and also incorporates elements of Biometric cues in his descriptions of the body’s response (physiology) to the seven universal emotions.  As our goal in Tactical Analysis is to recognize these changes in a person’s behavior, these multiple cues will help us form the clusters we need to make accurate conclusions about a person’s emotional state.

Even if you are not able to rapidly identify micro-expressions at the end of the book, this book will be the foundation for you to grow and learn from.  Whether you are observing a micro or macro expression, the more time you dedicate to observing and analyzing the indicators that Paul Ekman talks about, your skills will continuously develop.  With behavioral analysis, we are constantly trying to predict a person’s future actions, and understanding the emotional state of those we are observing will significantly increase the accuracy of our predictions.

The first one third of the book discusses a number of issues and topics relating to emotions and how we should use this new source of information.  I am less concerned about this than Paul Ekman is because I believe that people will use this information however it best meets their needs.  I think that, over time, people will come to apply it in the way that he talks about, as his ideas on the concepts are clearly very well thought out. But I also think that it will take a person some time and practice of using this skill before they get to the same level.

Even though there may be times when this book might not be the page-turner that others on this reading list are, the information in Emotions Revealed is of such high quality that every page should be read and considered before moving on.

Different opinion?  Let us know.


Want to see other books that we have read and recommend? Take a look at our complete reading list for our other suggestions.


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