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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Windows Into The Soul: Unlocking The Secrets To Body Language by David Theil (25 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bill Cushman
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(Full disclosure: David is a friend and comped me a copy BUT only seconds before I was about to purchase it! I didn't review his last book because it wasn't about an area relevant to my own knowledge. What follows is well within my own area of expertise and I feel I've separated personal bias from objective review as much as is humanly possible)

In Windows Into The Soul: Unlocking The Secrets Of Body Language, David Theil has created a comprehensive guide to the study and application of body language for the mystery performer. In his usual engaging and conversational style, he takes on us on an exploration of the current research and his own experiences about what makes these methods so valuable in general and particularly to our art.

I can’t recall a single source that goes into as much detail or where the many facets of “covert communication” are so thoroughly covered and presented in a manner allowing the reader to readily put the information provided to use in the context of entertainment. David explores microexpressions, communication specific to various body parts and how to use these cues in a variety of ways including a seriously fascinating and helpful section on volunteer selection. Along the way he interweaves multimedia examples that facilitate learning. Via video and photographs, he demonstrates aspects that are greatly enhanced by having visual examples as well as providing opportunities for the reader to test their own growing skills at decoding body language. I found this invaluable.

Another stand out for me included an effect David shares that allows you to practice your skills with a safety net. "Windows into the Soul: A (Mostly) Body Language Effect" is modular in design and offers an entertaining opportunity to put what is taught into action, providing a guaranteed conclusion while you are still learning.

Equally important is the section on the PERFORMER’S body language. David teaches, based on his years of experience as a full time performer, how to use our own body language to get the most out of our interactions with audiences. He credits others who have inspired his thinking in this area and examines the implications and applications in thorough detail so the reader can easily put these wise ideas right to work in their own performances.

I really enjoyed reading Windows Into The Soul: Unlocking The Secrets To Body Language, something I’ve come to expect from everything David releases. Laughs, aha experiences and a significantly enhanced understanding of the importance of applying and integrating multiple aspects of body language await those who make the wise decision to study his latest work.
Medifro
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There's a lot of misinformation when it comes to body language in the market, and lots of it is based on outdated NLP psychobabble. Frankly I wouldn't have taken a look at this except that a serious psychologist is now recommending.

I'll look into it, waiting for more reviews. I'm intrigued.
Bill Cushman
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I understand and share your concerns about outdated NLP babble, Medifro. I don't believe David refers to NLP even once in Windows nor did I get a sense his sources were drawing from any such works (though admittedly I'm not familiar with all the sources he used nor have I vetted them).

Here are a few of the sources David cites throughout the book:

- Paul Ekman
- Joe Navarro
- David J. Leiberman
- Carol Kinsey Gorman (says a bit "frothy" but useful for his purposes in teaching)
- Roger E. Axtell
- Vanessa Van Edwards

And our own Bob Cassidy and Richard Osterlind.

Hope that helps along with other reviews which of course you should compare and contrast with my own.
WooverM
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Thank you Bill for opening the topic for discussion, I regret not having done that sooner.

Disclaimer:(Which seems to be the norm before a review these days) I have never met David, and apart from a brief exchange of emails with him I do not know him. Regardless I do feel he is a great guy and it may bias me.
I'll be completely honest, I got a copy from David's guessing competition and on the first look I just skimped through it all and thought it was all the same information on the popular body language books. I was wrong, so wrong.

In this 92 pages E-Book David clearly explains the most important thing first, the "why", he explains why you should care about body language in your everyday life and in your performances. David writes in first person and shares personal anecdotes in a humorous manner along the way. He continues and fills in the details about the universal micro-expressions and some of the body language tells you should care about in your performances and shares how he incorporates them in his performances and how you can do it too. In "Windows into the Soul: A (Mostly) Body Language Effect" David explains how to read your participant to actually know what they are thinking and how to incorporate that and classic reading techniques into your existing effects to make your act look and feel like real mind-reading. The part I liked the most was the dissection of body language tells and what it says from picking the right participants to using your body language the most effectively in some performance situations and the information isn't just read and forgotten, you will learn and apply this information because he keeps asking questions and gives examples of situations to show you how to do it yourself.

It shows that David has poured his heart into this release and I really enjoyed checking it out for the information within, for the links and resources he recommends and the brief video clips David shares(and I wish I had viewed them earlier) to really have the opportunity to take your performances from "here's something cool I can do" to a seamless illusion of mind-reading.

The bad stuff: it will not make you an expert on body language within a day and it will require a lot of practice and additional readings to fully understand, both of this E-Book and of at least some of the resources mentioned(Which I still am in the process of doing, both for the readings and the practice), but if you have just finished reading Joe Navarro's book and you wonder how to best integrate it to your performance or even if you haven't and you are just interested in really understanding some great aspects about topics from body language to audience management and showmanship in the mystery arts then this E-Book is something I will wholeheartedly recommend.
Woover
David Thiel
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This thread was a great surprise to me. I knew Bill had posted a review (thanks, Bill!)...and then I got busy and only came back this afternoon.

This isn't a book about NLP. It's a book about using the science of Body Language as a mentalist. Body language has been one of my key interests since I was fifteen. If you'd like to read that story, I've posted the introduction to the book here: http://www.magicpendulums.com/windows-in......ion.html

I completely agree with Medifro: there are great steaming piles of crap published everyday about Body Language. When I was planning this book, I really wanted to stay within the science...to share things that have been proven. Yup...I said "science." That's why the book is full of hyperlinks to studies -- scientific and more cultural -- where the reader can learn more.

If you think mentalists are the only ones who want to know what people are really thinking, you're wrong. Lawyers, salespeople, executives, human resources experts and many other professionals have made a hard study of body language, having poured millions and millions of dollars into taking it from "cultural phemon" to "hard science." The result? Hundreds of published scientific papers, studies and books have come out about how to read body language.

For example: did you know that the basic expressions (anger, contempt, surprise, sadness etc.) are wired into us? Studies spanning the urban dwellers and remote tribesmen have proven again and again that our expressions are universal. Even better, from a mentalism perspective: we aren't even aware that we're making them! Learning how to read microexpressions, body language and all the rest gives the "mindreader" a tremendous advantage. Why? "Contempt" looks the same on the face of a kid from the projects as it does on the face of a stockbroker...as it does on the face of an African tribesman who has never encountered a North American. So does surprise...sadness...disdain...and more.

Congenitally blind athletes -- blind from birth -- celebrate TRIUMPH the EXACT SAME way sighted athletes do. They pump their fists in the air, throw back their heads and celebrate. Where did they learn how to do that? They didn't. It's wired into us.

Our bodies don't know how to lie. That's a goldmine for mystery performers.

And what about OUR body language? The remarkable thing is that people aren't even aware of the decisions they are making about you by the way you stand, hold your hands or meet their eyes. Those conclusions slide right past the filters that evaluate what you are SAYING and are simply accepted as truth. You should know, for example, that study after study has proven that someone with their hands in their pockets is MUCH more likely to be viewed as dishonest than someone keeping those hands in plain view.

How about reading the body language of your volunteers? Choosing the right person for the right effect is key.

The challenge, from my perspective, has been culling all of this material down to the areas of immediate interest to mentalists. If you've read my books before, you know that I only suggest things that I actually use every day in every show. It's not pie in the sky "sounded-cool-when-I-wrote-it-down" stuff.

Woover is right: you need to work at reading body language because there is no "instant expert." And you don't always get a volunteer that is forthcoming with body language signals. But most people literally have their emotions written on their bodies and knowing how to read that is a huge advantage.

Of course I hope people purchase the book. But even if you don't, let me strongly urge you to look hard at the NEW body language science and hone your skills in learning how to read it. It can be a vast advantage -- not only in your performing life...but in your everyday life as well. It doesn't need batteries, never needs a reset and it works all the time.

So please don't interpret this as a commercial for the book. It's not...not exactly. It is, however, an unreserved recommendation for adding a knowledge of body language to your arsenal of skills.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Greg Arce
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This looks like a good read. Now on my list of things to get. Congratulations!

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
David Thiel
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I hate it when posters boot their threads back up to the top of the thread with "crap" postings. That's not what this is. Honest.

I've been making a point of not posting here for that precise reason. But I have getting PMs and emails on the same topic again and again...and, with your permission, I'd like to touch on all of the answers here to save myself from "cut and paste" he**.

There are four broad sections to the book:

* Microexpressions and how to read them. A microexpression is one of those things that are perfectly named. It's an expression that flickers across a person's face in response to an intense or unexpected emotion. There are seven key emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. Each of these has a specific application for the mentalist. You need to know what to look for. But learning how to recognize and read them is a powerful weapon in your mentalism arsenal.

* Windows Into The Soul a (Mostly) Body Language Effect which is a routine I've been working on for years. Essentially it uses body language and a wee fishing expedition to divine what, where or who the spectator is thinking of. It has the potential to be propless...but includes my finish as well.

* THEIR Body Language signals that deal with the hands, feet, face, legs, eyes, lips, body postures. This is useful for everything from cold reading to selecting volunteers and more.

* YOUR body language and how to use it to communicate more effectively with your audience. Richard Osterlind shares his advice on how to use your hands to get a standing ovation. This section talks about how to stand...how to hold your hands and includes exercises you can do right now to increase confidence, to emphasize what you're talking about and more.

The book finishes with real world photographs of real people (celebrities and otherwise) that you can use to hone your skills.

My intent with the whole book was to deal with the SCIENCE of body language...not the pop culture crap that's so prevalent these days. There really is a lot of science now and the applications for the mentalist really are staggering.

If you go to the website below you'll find endorsements from Osterlind, Jheff (who rates the book "Highly Recommended"), Neal Scryer, Chris Carter and more. It's been out for a little over two weeks and has been bought by people all around the world...which is one of the coolest things so far.

The book is only available through Magic Pendulums...and there's a link below in my signature.

Thank you for your time. I return you now to your regularly scheduled Café.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
BillyAcre
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Would it be safe to say that this book has generic applications, ie not specifically mentalist oriented?
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Mr. F
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The information provided could definitely prove useful outside mentalism. However, David connects the info directly to the performance of mentalism, including a detailed routine and commonly encountered interactions with spectators. It really is a tremendous read!
jstreiff
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I found this book an extremely well-written, readable, highly practical and thorough treatment of body language. It has general applicability; in fact, I found myself practicing its lessons today while I was out running errands just a day after reading it. Highly recommended!
John
VMids
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I will look this up, sounds interesting
Ray Bertrand
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Thank you David for this eBook. I was impressed (once again) by your dedication and contribution to our community. I performed my routine 2 days after reading your material and incorporated some of it into my show. The show went well and I believe having applied some of your material helped to generate that outcome. Please keep doing what you are doing and please don't stop sharing your material. I am sure many others will find it invaluable.

Ray
Mentalism in Ontario.
oliverho
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This is a great book, lots of food for thought! It's led me back to reading some Paul Ekman too.
Anthony Black
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David, any plans for a physical release in the future? Through Lulu etc.

I don't mind buying peoples brain farts (mine included) as PDFs, but when so much work appears to have gone into
it, it would be a shame not to be able to have a place on the bookshelf for it.

Oh, and I hope you and yours have a fab Christmas. x
MagicalEducator
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Sounds like a great read and an interesting presentational frame for a routine but nothing more. I would like to see peer reviewed articles that provide actual evidence of this. Most books of this nature are full of hype and anecdotes and nothing more. Does the author provide specific citations to the studies that support these claims or? Also, what background, training or expertise does the author have in this field of research?
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David Thiel
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Thank you, Anthony. I'm not sure that I would consider a PDF release a brain fart, though. Personally I prefer books on PDF. I have close to a hundred of them on my iPad. Since I travel so much, I really like having all of them with me all the time. I put a lot of time and thought into the way my books look and feel precisely because I know there are other people like me out there. With a PDF I was able to include links to other studies and videos that the reader can access with one click. I really like that.

There's also the aspect of cost. With a printed book about half of the selling price is needed to cover printing and shipping. I've also ordered enough of Lulu stock to know how often they mess up an order.

Finally, by selling the books myself I know who is buying them. That really matters to me.

I'm not ruling out a physical release. The book I'm currently working on is much bigger and may need to be printed. Maybe I'll do all the books in one big book down the road. Each one really is a labour of love. But thank you.

Magical Educator...I really wanted this to be a book that used specific scientific references. If you go up several posts in this thread you'll see some of the references I used quoted by Dr. Bill Cushman.

Anyway...it's Christmas Eve...and I'm going to spend some time with my wife. G'night all! And Merry Christmas!

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
MagicalEducator
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David,

You've listed some names above but I'm looking for citations that list specific studies, date of publication or page numbers. This is the science that I'd like to hear more about.

jeff
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David Thiel
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Quote:
On Nov 7, 2015, Bill Cushman wrote:
I understand and share your concerns about outdated NLP babble, Medifro. I don't believe David refers to NLP even once in Windows nor did I get a sense his sources were drawing from any such works (though admittedly I'm not familiar with all the sources he used nor have I vetted them).

Here are a few of the sources David cites throughout the book:

- Paul Ekman
- Joe Navarro
- David J. Leiberman
- Carol Kinsey Gorman (says a bit "frothy" but useful for his purposes in teaching)
- Roger E. Axtell
- Vanessa Van Edwards

And our own Bob Cassidy and Richard Osterlind.

Hope that helps along with other reviews which of course you should compare and contrast with my own.


I'm not sure what else you want. But if you don't see it here perhaps this book isn't a good match for what you need.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
MagicalEducator
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If your making the claim that your book is "science" then you would be able to list specific research papers and cite their work as requested. The book might be for me but I'd like to find out if it is which is why I'm asking. In my previous career I investigated and interviewed a number of criminal suspects. As such, I do have a strong background and advanced training in the type of material that you may be using as your source material. Unfortunately none of this material is rigorous science that's been peer reviewed. All that's left is anecdotal stories and pop psychology. I'm looking forward to you sharing your scholarly research on this topic.

Jeff
Voted "Canada's Most Inspirational Magician"
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"Magic is Education" @
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WooverM
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2015, MagicalEducator wrote:
If your making the claim that your book is "science" then you would be able to list specific research papers and cite their work as requested. The book might be for me but I'd like to find out if it is which is why I'm asking. In my previous career I investigated and interviewed a number of criminal suspects. As such, I do have a strong background and advanced training in the type of material that you may be using as your source material. Unfortunately none of this material is rigorous science that's been peer reviewed. All that's left is anecdotal stories and pop psychology. I'm looking forward to you sharing your scholarly research on this topic.

Jeff

Hi Jeff, I have absolutely nothing against you in any way, so please take no offence in what you are about to read.

It really doesn't seem you understand what David is offering here. A lot of books and a lot of research has been published in regards to body language. David is offering to touch on the basics of it(in what I felt is a thorough yet succint way) and provide resources for further study, however the power of the EBook is not in the research itself(although I could argue it is powerful in itself), but in the application of it to your performance of mind reading effects and showmanship as a mystery entertainer. The Ebook and it's accompanying videos help you understand how you can use the research and study of body language as a tool to enhance your performance in numerous aspects of your presentations/shows.

Is the research scientific? I think it already has been answered above but for clarity's sake, the methods taught combine a bit of cold reading and the research of the authors Dr. Bill mentioned. If you are looking to read a criminal investigator's book you are looking at the wrong book, however if you are looking to learn from a working pro's experience and learn the methods he uses in his shows that incorporate genuine body language research to take your performances and make them look and feel like real mind reading I would suggest you take the jump.
Woover
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