Emotions Revealed: Understanding Faces and Feelings by Paul Ekman


I’m back, after taking one of those breaks that seems to be never-ending. I’ve done quite a lot during this break, including: finishing my exams, reading a lot, travelling to a different continent, and, my personal favorite, falling off a horse and breaking my left arm. Yup, that’s right, but maybe we’ll talk about that some other time. For now, let’s get back to the lovely book this post is about.

Emotions Revealed” is the first book (and only, up to now), I’ve read by Dr. Ekman, and it was one of those books that I had wanted to get for a loooong time before actually getting it. That’s because I had heard about Paul Ekman here and there in my psych courses. However, my major source of fascination with him came from watching the TV Show Lie to Me. You know…that TV show that was cut waaay short after only 3 seasons…


Yeah, that’s the one….

So, after quite a while of what I can only call stalking Paul Ekman’s official website, I decided to finally purchase the book, which took even a longer while to read. Not because it’s hard to read. On the contrary, this book is clear as can be, with detailed explanations that are absolutely fascinating. However, between me having absolutely no time to read most of the school year, and this book being left at home when I left for uni…well, you get the picture.

As I just said, this book is a fascinating read (especially for those psychology-inclined, though not just for them), as it really has a lot to teach its readers.


1)You Can Identify Emotions on People’s Faces, Even before They, Themselves, Know about Them…and Even When They’re Trying to Hide Them

Think about what it would be like to know when your boss is slightly unhappy, or when your friend is sad, but is trying to look happy. This book is great at teaching you to identify emotions on people’s faces, so that you’ll be much better at it. Sure, we can all identify a smile, but can you tell the difference between a real smile and a fake one? Or when someone’s actually sad, as opposed to just pretending that they are so?

If you’ve wanted to be able to do that, this book is a great starting point for you, because it has valuable information, backed up by great, detailed pictures that help the learning process.


2)Controlling Your Own Emotions is a Skill that You Can Develop with Practice

We often forget that the most important emotions we should be able to read are our own. Indeed, if we can do that, then we can avoid having many, many arguments with our loved ones, or even with complete strangers (this obviously rings true of a particular emotion, namely, anger). All you have to do is realize when an emotion is starting out, and act accordingly.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect to get good at it overnight, but as long as you keep on practicing the tools Dr. Ekman gives in his book, you’ll get better and better.


3)You Shouldn’t Be Quick to Jump to Conclusions

Another thing that Dr. Ekman talks about in this book is the fact that you should steer clear of making assumptions about why a person is feeling the way they are. Sure, you can learn to identify emotions pretty accurately, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to read the person’s mind, and get behind the reason for why they’re happy, angry, or sad.


This book has a lot of great information in it, and I would happily recommend it to anyone, anytime : )