Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life
by Paul Ekman

I first read about Paul Ekman in Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article that spawned his latest book, Blink. In the article, Gladwell writes that Ekman was one of the first scientists to study how facial expressions convey emotion. Emotions Revealed describes Ekman's work in detail, and provides insight into the facial indicators to look for in order to determine the emotion that a person is feeling.

The book was slow in places, but mostly because Ekman provided significant discussion of the nature/nurture debate as it pertains to facial expressions across cultures, while I was interested in the content regarding the recognition of emotions through facial muscle movements.

One of the major outcomes of Ekman's work is the Facial Action Coding System (or FACS), which lists most of the critical muscle movements in the face that relate to emotional expression. The combination of these muscle movements usually determine the emotion that a person is feeling. While the FACS itself seems more useful in academic research, Ekman's site has a training CD that helps people recognize the expressions that flit across peoples' faces everyday, which could be useful.

The information in Emotions Revealed will help build and maintain relationships in everyday life, but if you only pick it up brielfy, the chapters on the four emotional categories that Ekman describes (sadness and agony, surprise and fear, anger, and enjoyable emotions) are the most useful in the book.


Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I live in LA and Product Manage at FOX Interactive Media. Prior to that, I Technically Produced at ESPN.com. I also helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA.

Read more about me here.

Opinions stated here are mine; FOX does not endorse them.

Contact Me: reemer -at- gmail

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