The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths About Who We Are

  • 4h 40m
  • Matthew Hertenstein
  • Perseus Books, L.L.C.
  • 2013

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 honing 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.

About the Author

Matthew Hertenstein received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and is a faculty member at DePauw University. His work has been featured on the Today Show, ABC News, NPR, and in the New York Times, the Economist, and The Guardian (UK), among others.

In this Book

  • The Tell—The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths About Who We Are
  • Introduction
  • Primitive Predictions
  • The Genes in All of Us
  • Strange Situations—Growing up in a Th in-Sliced World
  • Who Are You Anyway?
  • The Targets of Our Attraction
  • From Dating to Mating
  • Detecting Deception
  • The Power of Enthusiasm
  • Catching the Cues of the Cash Cow,
  • Political Punditry—Any Kid Can Do It
  • Conclusion—The Importance of Predictive Humility
  • Notes
  • References
  • Credits