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About Captivate

The Science of Succeeding with People

You need to know how people work. As a human behavior investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards studies the hidden forces that drive our behavior patterns in her lab—and she’s cracked the code. In Captivate she shares a wealth of valuable shortcuts, systems and behavior hacks for taking charge of their interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school.

This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on human behavior and a completely new approach to building connections.

Just like knowing the right formulas to use in chemistry, or the right programming language to write code, the hacks in this book are simple ways to solve for people.

About the Author

Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral investigator at her human behavior research lab, the Science of People. She is a professional people watcher—speaking, researching and cracking the code of interesting behavior hacks for audiences around the world. She is a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post. Her popular courses on Creative Live and Udemy have over 120,000 enrolled students. She’s been featured on NPR, CNN, Forbes and USA Today, but more importantly she’s addicted to sour patch kids, airplane coffee and puppies.



  • The Social Game Plan: Every party, networking event and social situation has a predictable map – discover how to work a room and the sweet spot for making the most connections. (Hack #1)
  • The 7 Microexpressions: Learn how to decode the 7 universal facial expressions and how they can be used to predict people’s emotions. (Hack #6)
  • The Death of Small Talk: All conversations can be hacked—if you know how certain words generate dopamine in the people you meet. (Hack #3)
  • The Triple Threat: What’s the social equivalent of being a superstar? I’ll tell you it has nothing to do with singing (thank goodness), but it does build trust, charisma and rapport. (Hack #2)
  • Thread Theory: Want to be socially attractive? This little hack will change the way you interact so you never run out of things to say. (Hack #5)
  • Speed-Reading: Wish you could hone your intuition? Learn the science of speed-reading and be able to uncover personality traits of anyone from clients to dates to bosses. (Hack #7)
  • The Appreciation Matrix: We all know the power of acknowledgement, but how do we really use it? This science will blow your social mind. (Hack #8)
  • The Art of Storytelling: Always wish you could captivate a room? Tell a great story? There is a formula to the perfect story and it is easy to hack. (Hack #10)
  • The Science of Popularity: What really makes someone popular? How can you leverage what science has uncovered about popularity? (Hack #14)

When you understand the laws of human behavior you can get along with anyone, and your influence, impact, and income will increase as a result. What’s more, you will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, and build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation—negotiations, interviews, parties, and pitches. You will never interact in the same way again.


“I believe people skills are the missing ingredient to your success. When you know how to pitch yourself, make memorable conversation and build relationships everything becomes easier. You make more money. You have more friends. You feel more fulfilled. PQ is the new IQ.


Vanessa Van Edwards

Author, Captivate

Vanessa talks Captivate on CBS News this Morning

Skills You Will Learn in Captivate:

  • How to work a room  (Chapter 1)
  • How to make a lasting first impression  (Chapter 2)
  • How to give the perfect handshake  (Chapter 2)
  • How to push someone’s hot buttons (Chapter 3)
  • How to decode the face (Chapter 6)
  • How to take the perfect selfie (Chapter 6)
  • How to stop being boring (Chapter 8)
  • How to be a great story teller (Chapter 10)
  • How to empower people (Chapter 11)
  • How to be socially attractive (Chapter 12)
  • How to say no (Chapter 13) 

Praise for Captivate

“Everything Vanessa does is captivating, but this book is her masterpiece. Nearly every page contains surprising insights and practical tips to help you succeed more in life.”

Chris Guillebeau

Bestselling Author, Born of This and The $100 Startup

“In Captivate, Vanessa Van Edwards has not only decoded the secret formula for what makes people tick, she also explains how to harness and put into action that power for good inside your career, company, or cause.”

Jordan Harbinger

Self-proclaimed Loudmouth, Art of Charm

Captivate is Perfect. Packed full of useful information – it’s a must read.”

Joe Navarro

Bestselling Author, What Every BODY is Saying

“There is a big difference between faking your way into building relationships and deeply understanding the science of what makes people tick, so that you can naturally and effectively connect with them. Captivate teaches this science in a fun and accessible way, so that you apply the learning in your everyday life, growing your network, influence and impact.”

Pam Slim

Author, Body of Work and Escape from Cubicle Nation

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