Review of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

I just picked up Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards the other day, and I couldn’t put it down.

From the very beginning, the most fascinating aspect of the book was its broad application. This book is not just about social skills. Following the practical advice will improve every part of your life.

Vanessa breaks down the book into three sections that naturally flow from improving first impressions to building lasting relationships.

She details specifics about business like how to work a room, but these tactics are equally relevant to a casual party. The diagrams and instructions for these techniques are so specific and practical that they would be impossible to forget even in the midst of an event.

Following the advice in this book will make you a student of people, a scientist who examines them closely because you now know what to look for to understand their hidden emotions. Not only does understanding people give you an advantage in how to interact with them in a way that is mutually beneficial, but also the process of inquiry into their personality makes you a charismatic listener.

The simple tips scattered throughout every chapter would give courage to even the shy, awkward, and introverted reader. She advocates being true to your personality and not trying to change who you are. The things that you need to change are the way you think and the way you act.

One of the reasons for shyness is the overwhelming anxiety of wondering what the other person is thinking. Captivate reveals how to know what they are thinking. Once you know, based mostly on their non-verbal communication, you can deal with their feelings in a productive way.

The information in this book is enlightening, but what makes it exceptional is Vanessa’s tone. Though her techniques are all backed with science, she still uses a casual tone. It is like she is talking to you as a friend. In fact, she even invites you to text her for advice or challenges!

I wish this book had been out ten years ago when I started the long process of overcoming my social awkwardness. Who knows what opportunities I missed by figuring out on my own!

By the way, I’m not paid for this review, nor did I receive a free copy of the book. I just want to share something that may be helpful to you!

Check out Vanessa’s website at