The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are [NOOK Book]

Overview


Every day we make predictions based on limited information, in business and at home. Will this company’s stock performance continue? Will the job candidate I just interviewed be a good employee? What kind of adult will my child grow up to be? We tend to dismiss our predictive minds as prone to bias and mistakes, but in The Tell, psychologist Matthew Hertenstein reveals that our intuition is surprisingly good at using small clues to make big ...
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The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are

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Overview


Every day we make predictions based on limited information, in business and at home. Will this company’s stock performance continue? Will the job candidate I just interviewed be a good employee? What kind of adult will my child grow up to be? We tend to dismiss our predictive minds as prone to bias and mistakes, but in The Tell, psychologist Matthew Hertenstein reveals that our intuition is surprisingly good at using small clues to make big predictions, and shows how we can make better decisions by homing in on the right details.

Just as expert poker players use their opponents’ tells to see through their bluffs, Hertenstein shows that we can likewise train ourselves to read physical cues to significantly increase our predictive acumen. By looking for certain clues, we can accurately call everything from election results to the likelihood of marital success, IQ scores to sexual orientation—even from flimsy evidence, such as an old yearbook photo or a silent one-minute video. Moreover, by understanding how people read our body language, we can adjust our own behavior so as to ace our next job interview or tip the dating scales in our favor.

Drawing on rigorous research in psychology and brain science, Hertenstein shows us how to hone our powers of observation to increase our predictive capacities. A charming testament to the power of the human mind, The Tell will, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, show us how to notice what we see.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 01/01/2014
Hertenstein (psychology, DePauw Univ.) builds the tone of this study on topics related to the brain, neuroscience, behaviorism, and nonverbal expression from a very easy space. Early chapters detail how he was challenged by a personal experience with nonexpressive behavior and how that encounter piqued his interest in the internal workings of the brain (and a resulting functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] experimentation). Hertenstein smoothly ties this into his evaluation of the current evidence supporting how all of those functions relate to one another. Unlike Barbara and Allan Pease's The Definitive Book on Body Language, this book does not seek to give readers a secret clue to figuring out what everyone around them is thinking; instead, Hertenstein delves into the reasons we can subconsciously understand nonverbal cues almost instantaneously and the biological, genetic, and behavioral origins of that understanding. VERDICT Extremely relatable to the lay reader while still accessing an incredible amount of peer-reviewed scholarship, Hertenstein's work is perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of the correlation of nonverbal communication to genetics and behavior available today. Despite its nonacademic tone, this book has much to teach any reader.—Victoria Frerichs, Prescot, UK
Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Drawing on poker’s concept of the “tell,” a mannerism that can yield clues to an opponent’s cards, and numerous behavioral studies in which he has been involved, psychologist Hertenstein has produced a study that is lively and engaging yet unremarkable in its conclusion that both environment and genes influence our decision-making. For example, he reveals that we’re able to predict ways an adult might behave by looking at early tells; thus, infants that have insecure attachments to their parents are more likely than those with secure attachments to develop some form of psychopathology later. Various studies have found that facial features can be useful in predicting aggression or lying and cheating: “In carefully controlled studies, men with wider faces were three times more willing to lie than slim-faced men.” In dating, women choose men based on facial attractiveness, symmetry, smell, and masculinity, while men choose “women who are attractive, youthful, and display signs of fertility.” Despite the inconclusiveness of evolutionary psychology, Hertenstein offers much material to ponder and suggests that we embrace the power of these tools for helping us predict behavior, though he also cautions against an overly prescriptive use of these approaches, which could lead to harmful cultural stereotypes. 31 b&w figures. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“Verdict: Extremely relatable to the lay reader while still accessing an incredible amount of peer-reviewed scholarship, Hertenstein's work is perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of the correlation of nonverbal communication to genetics and behavior available today. Despite its nonacademic tone, this book has much to teach any reader.”
Library Journal Review (Starred Review)

“An entertaining look at our oft-maligned intuitive capabilities, offering useful tips on how we may sharpen our powers of observation and increase the accuracy of our predictions.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating…. The Tell succeeds as an engaging tour through current work in the science of behavior by a young psychologist who has the makings of a leading contributor to his field.”
Shelf Awareness

The Tell is highly recommended.”
Style Magazine

“Entertaining…in the Malcolm Gladwell-ian tradition.”
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

“Those curious to learn about the powers of observation and the unconscious mind should definitely put this book on their to-read list.”
Quick Book Reviews

“Lively and engaging…. Hertenstein offers much material to ponder and suggests that we embrace the power of these tools for helping us predict behavior.”
Publishers Weekly

“The human brain, some have said, is a prediction machine. Sometimes our forecasts go awry, of course. But often our astonishing ability to predict helps us navigate our complex physical, social, and emotional environments. In this fascinating book, Matthew Hertenstein unpacks the secrets of our predictive abilities and shows how we can hone those abilities to become better judges of people and situations. The Tell is one of the year’s essential reads.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, Drive, and A Whole New Mind

“Some of the most important decisions you make in life could be improved by taking advantage of the information contained in the hidden clues that, unknown to you, surround you every day. In this lively and informative book, Matthew Hertenstein will show you how to find those clues and use them to improve your understanding of the world around you.”
—Sam Gosling, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

“Prepare to be amazed. Psychologist Matthew Hertenstein reveals stunning discoveries of how mere glimpses of behavior—infant reactivity, portrait smiles, physical energy, facial width and symmetry, height, nonverbal microbehaviors, and more—can foretell one’s future personality, risk of divorce, sexual orientation, longevity, income, psychopathology, lies, and success. The grand result: a science of people prediction, or (dare I say) a scientific basis for some authentic fortune telling.”
—David G. Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College, and author of Intuition: Its Powers and Perils

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
In his debut, Hertenstein (Psychology/DePauw Univ.) contends that the predictive power of the human brain is exemplified by its ability to draw accurate conclusions "based on observations of brief samples of others' behavior." The author has honed his lively style with appearances on NPR and the Today Show and his commentaries in the New York Times and other major publications, and he takes his title from the psychological component in poker. An inexperienced player reveals clues to his hand by a variety of "tells." Before deciding on a bet, an experienced player will judge "how an opponent stares, the speed with which he lays down cards, or how quickly he is breathing." Hertenstein expands on this idea, examining, for example, physical and behavioral clues that indicate gay versus straight sexual orientation, as well as how experiments have revealed how "[t]he perceived power of male Fortune 500 CEOs' faces predicts the profitability of their companies." Further, marriage counselors who meet engaged couples can predict the likelihood of divorce with 90 percent accuracy by judging fleeting facial expressions and body language. Based on nonverbal clues, strangers watching only 30 seconds of a video can distinguish between instructors given a high- or low-quality end-of-term evaluation by their students. On a more serious note, Hertenstein looks at the experiences of soldiers in dangerous areas, who must remain alert to signs that a parked car might contain a bomb. Despite our useful ability to form accurate first impressions, the author rightly notes the importance of being open to information that contradicts as well as supports our hunches. "[S]cience will continue to identity the tells that truly are predictive versus those we merely think of as such," writes the author in closing. An entertaining look at our oft-maligned intuitive capabilities, offering useful tips on how we may sharpen our powers of observation and increase the accuracy of our predictions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465069880
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/12/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 103,898
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Matthew Hertenstein received his PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and is on the faculty at DePauw University. He has been featured on the Today Show, ABC News, NPR, and in the New York Times, The Economist, and The Guardian (UK). Hertenstein lives in Greencastle, Indiana, with his wife, Margo, and his ever-curious son, Isaac.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    From early in life until the day we die, we display a number of

    From early in life until the day we die, we display a number of subtle indicators of our character and future behavior.  In addition to exposing a number of the clues useful in anticipating the behavior of others, Hertenstein explains the supporting science in plain language, and debunks some of the “clues” commonly relied upon as indicators .  An interesting and enjoyable read, The Tell is a “must have” for individuals working in fields dependent on accurate prediction of behavior and an excellent reference for the rest of us.  

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