11 Best Body Language Books Ranked and Reviewed (2021)

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you make a purchase through our links, we may earn a commission.


These are the top books on body language, ranked and reviewed.

Also, see my book guides on social skills, conversation skills, and self-confidence.

The best body language books overall

  1. Top pick overall
  2. Top pick for revealing lies and deception
  3. Top pick as a complete reference dictionary
  4. Top pick on improving YOUR OWN body language
  5. Top pick on understanding facial expressions
  6. Top business pick

The best books on reading body language

  1. The Definitive Book of Body Language
  2. What Every Body Is Saying
  3. The Dictionary of Body Language
  4. Emotions Revealed
  5. Improve Your Social Skills

The best books on improving your own body language

  1. You Say More Than You Think
  2. Louder Than Words
  3. Improve Your Social Skills
  4. The Power of Body Language


Top pick overall

1. The Definitive Book of Body Language

The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind People's Gestures and Expressions

Author: Barbara Pease, Allan Pease

This is a great book on body language. It covers both how to read cues and how to adjust your own body language. It contains a LOT of illustrations which helps tremendously.

It could be a bit more detailed, and the humor is pretty childish at times. But because of how comprehensive and well-researched it is while still being non-technical, it was easy to choose this one as my top pick.

Do buy this book if…

  1. You want something that covers it all.
  2. You want something that’s simple to read.
  3. You want a book with lots of illustrations (Best illustrations of the books I’ve reviewed)

Do NOT buy this book if…

  1. You want something specifically about business. If so, read Louder than Words.
  2. You want something even more comprehensive. If so, read The Dictionary of Body Language.
  3. You want something specifically on revealing deception. If so, read What Every Body is Saying.

4.5 stars on Amazon.


Top pick for revealing lies and deception

2. What Every Body Is Saying

What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

Author: Joe Navarro

The flavor of this book, in comparison to The Definitive Book of Body Language, is that this one is more focused on conflict, deceit, deception, etc. The Definitive Book is more applicable in day-to-day life, and that’s why I put that one as my top recommendation and this one as my secondary.

Some of the stuff felt obvious but that’s the case with all body language books. Therefore, this is my top pick on lies and deception.

Do buy this book if…

  1. You want to be better at reading people who might deceive you

Do NOT buy this book if…

  1. You want something that covers relationships and understanding of day-to-day interaction. Instead, get The Definitive Book of Body Language.
  2. If you want something that covers social interaction from an Aspergers perspective, I’d recommend Improve Your Social Skills.

4.6 stars on Amazon.


Top pick as a complete reference dictionary

3. The Dictionary of Body Language

The Dictionary of Body Language: A Field Guide to Human Behavior

Author: Joe Navarro

This book is literally a dictionary where you can look up what each thinkable gesture means.

Opposed to Navarro’s previous book What Every Body is Saying, this isn’t just about figuring out of someone lies, but all kinds of body language.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a first book, but rather as a reference book to go back to.

Do buy this book if…

You want a reference list of all thinkable kinds of gestures.

Do NOT buy this book if…

You’re looking for your first read. First, read The Definitive Book of Body Language if you want general skills or What Every Body is Saying if you want to be better at picking up on lies.

4.6 stars on Amazon.


Top pick on how to improve YOUR OWN body language

4. You Say More Than You Think

You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want

Author: Janine Driver

The book is great. As opposed to the other books, this one only focuses on how to adjust your own body language. The writing is great but the illustrations could be better.

Do buy this book if…

You want to improve your own body language but aren’t that interested in being better at reading others

Do NOT buy this book if…

You want good illustrations. If so, get The Definitive Book of Body Language (Which also covers how to work with your own body language, but less in-depth).

4.5 stars on Amazon.


Next level understanding of facial expressions

5. Emotions Revealed

Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life

Author: Paul Ekman

I read this book many years ago and I still go back to it for reference. It’s not the standard body language book – this one’s focused purely on facial expressions and the emotions they represent.

The book is about how to read very small nuances in people’s faces. It has helped me become more empathetic and it’s considered a cult classic on reading people’s emotions.

4.5 stars on Amazon.

Do buy this book if…

You want the best book on picking up on people’s facial expressions.

Do NOT buy this book if…

You want something about body language in general.


Top business pick

6. Louder Than Words

Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence

Author: Joe Navarro

Joe Navarro is really milking his past as an FBI agent and he’s written no less than 5 books on the topic. But the books are indeed good so why not.

This book is about understanding body language cues in a business setting. It’s very similar to What Every Body is Saying so no need to read both.

Do buy this book if…

  1. You specifically want a business-focused body language book.

Do NOT buy this book if…

  1. You want to be better at body language in general. Instead, read The Definitive Book of Body Language.

4.6 stars on Amazon.


If you have Aspergers

7. Improve Your Social Skills

Improve Your Social Skills

Author: Daniel Wendler

This book is about social skills in general and has become somewhat of a cult book for people with Aspergers. It has a chapter about body language, and therefore, I also add it to this list.

Also note that a lot of people with Aspergers also like The Definitive Book of Body Language, because it’s so comprehensive.

Read my review of Improve Your Social Skills in my social skills book guide.


8. The Power of Body Language

The Power of Body Language: How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter

Author: Tonya Reiman

This is a decent book but the ones at the top of this guide are better.

While those are more comprehensive books for someone who really wants to master body language, this one’s more for the mainstream. There’s also a lot more focus on reading the opposite sex.

It’s lacking in illustrations.

Do buy this book if…

  1. You want a less in-depth introduction to body language.
  2. You mainly want to be better at body language related to dating.

Do NOT buy this book if…

  1. You want something in-depth. Then The Definitive Book of Body Language is better.

4.4 stars on Amazon.


9. Body Language

Body Language: Discover and Understand the Psychological Secrets Behind Reading and Benefitting From Body Language

Authors: Harvey Segler, Jacob Jerger

There are so much better books on body language than this one. It’s not a terrible book, it’s just that it covers nothing new.

I’d recommend the top books of this guide over it.

4.0 stars on Amazon.


10. The Secrets of Body Language

The Secrets of Body Language: An Illustrated Guide to Knowing What People Are Really Thinking and Feeling

Author: Philippe Turchet

This is an OK book on body language, but there are better ones (Like the ones by the beginning of this guide) that are more actionable.

It covers all the usual stuff, like how to pick up on what others mean and how to improve your own body language. On the upside, it has great illustrations, which is why I think it deserves a place on this list.

3.18 stars on Goodreads. Amazon.


11. Without Saying a Word

Author: Kasia Wezowski

This book has great ratings on Amazon but it turned out to be a mediocre book. After examining the reviews closer on Amazon and comparing with the reviews of Goodreads, I’m pretty sure that the Amazon reviews are fake.

This book goes through all the stuff that the other books go through, and also pick stuff from Emotions Revealed about micro expressions.

There are much better books on the subject, but since this book has an artificially high rating, I thought I’d mention it in this guide so you have a chance to hear my opinion on it.

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

Go to Comments (4)

Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Thank you, David, for a really well-made list. I really liked the sections ‘Do by this for…’ and ‘Do not buy this for…’.

    Keep it up.

    Reply

Leave a Comment