Be the most memorable person in the room with our latest book

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About Captivate

The Science of Succeding 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.

Watch the Official Captivate Trailer:




  • 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.


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I also recorded the audiobook version of Captivate!



“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 of Captivate


A Sneak Peek into Captivate: Watch Vanessa 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) 


Here’s what people are saying about 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, author of Born of This and The $100 Startup
Captivate is Perfect. Packed full of useful information – it’s a must read.”
–Joe Navarro, author of the international bestseller, What Every BODY is Saying.


“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 at the Art of Charm
“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 of Body of Work and Escape from Cubicle Nation


buy captivate on amazon buy captivate at barnes and noble buy captivate at IndieBoundbuy captivate at iBooks


I also recorded the audiobook version of Captivate!



Praise for Captivate


 Media Mentions/Excerpts:


  • In addition to hitting the WSJ Bestseller List and USA Today Bestselling Books list, Captivate has been named the #1 New Release and #1 Bestseller in Popular Social Psychology & Interactions on Amazon!


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  • Our Trump to Truman research was featured on CNN:


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  • iBooks named Captivate one of the Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2017!


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Virtual Book Tour:



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Reader Reviews:


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“You have no idea how many communication books have been recommended to me over the years. At the suggestion of a friend or colleague, I’ll pick up said recommendation, read about 50 pages, get the gist, and put the book down.


Captivate is different. I found myself furiously underlining passages, committing anecdotes to memory and thinking through how I could implement what I learned into my workshops.


I should point out I don’t exactly struggle socially; making friends is one of my gifts. Even with that being the case, I walked away with a list of specific ideas and phrases I could use to better socialize. This book helped me with things like where I should stand at a party, when I should say hello and (my favorite part) how to decode people so as to best connect to them. Even if you skipped the rest of the book, it would be worth the cost for that chapter (on decoding) alone.


There’s a reason Apple chose this as one of their most anticipated books of 2017. If you’re in the business of working with other people, I highly recommend picking it up.” –Mike Pacchione



“Whenever it’s my turn to go to the bar on a night out I put on my / invisibility jacket/ and watch while everyone gets served around me and gets back a fun time to their friends. However, that’s not been the case since practicing the launch pose while at the bar. I have been served consistently quickly, sometimes almost instantly, once while a barman was serving someone else and amazingly ahead of other people at the bar (although I did point the barman to the right person that time, I’m not a monster!) A massive thank you for giving me more of my evenings back I hope I can make the other Hacks work so effectively for me and I’m looking forward to applying them where ever I can.” -Steven Powell


Bonus: We asked a few of our readers their favorite hacks from the book. Here’s what they had to say:


“My favourite human behavior hack is the ‘Speed Read People Matrix’. I really am more patient with myself and thereby patient with those around me since I can crack their codes now! 🙂 Thank you!” -Josefine, Sweden



“My absolute favorite aspect of this book comes from part 2, when discussing micro-expressions and specifically on page 124 when you talk about how we are wired to both give and receive these messages — it was just the statement I needed to remind myself to (as you state next) trust my instincts about people. So often I encounter situations where I get a “funny feeling” about something that was said – when I inquire about it, often I get a standard “oh, my face just does that sometimes”. Yeah, it just does that when you’re surprised by something!! And now I have some handy conversation hacks to be able to address those times with class! How many books have such fun and interactive practice activities built right in?? This is among the best “self-help” books I’ve ever seen; the content is super empowering, the practice is invaluable, and the voice that rings through the pages is so authentic, I feel like I’m talking directly to Vanessa – after taking her body language courses, I can say that “hearing” her voice through the pages is like listening to a dear friend who only wants to support the best in me. Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing your unique brand of wit to recover from awkward scenarios!” -Liz, North Carolina



“For me the story toolbox has been something I have been trying to use. Usually they are humorous which help a lot. I just need to boomerang the conversation back.” -Jesse, Colorado



“I think my favorite hack would be the use your hands. This is not something I do, I tend to keep them by my side or in my lap. In past job interviews I know I made an effort to keep my hands still.” -Robert, Florida



“The appreciation language has been the most eye opening for me; paying attention to others appreciation language has allowed me to better understand people in my life.” -Xavier, Texas



“So far, the most interesting part of the book was your vow of silence – I’ve always known listening was super-important, but this section really highlighted the deep and powerful importance of the other aspects of our communicative abilities (facial expressions, body language, etc) beyond speech. I don’t think I have the guts to do it myself, but I really liked your idea of having a card to hand to people about it!” -Dave, Massachusetts



“[My favorite hack] would have to be the Decoder Hacks in Chapter 6. For years I have struggled to trust what I was actually seeing when interacting with a person and their stated emotions didn’t match their visible emotions. Now I know which one to go with. 😉 -Bridget, Oregon



“I loved the Silent Sloan piece, and how being quiet and listening can make you the most captivating person in the room. Often we feel like we have to be loud or outgoing to get someone’s attention and I appreciated techniques for those of us who aren’t naturally extroverted.” -Blair



“My favourite hack is #3 – conversation sparks. This is such an easy thing to do in everyday life but people seem to overlook it in favour of boring conversation. Asking unconventional questions gets people to open up and the conversation takes a turn in a new and exciting direction. I’ve used this hack a few times so far and have had a lot of success. People’s faces light up and their facial expressions change. They definitely take a more active interest in the conversation.” -Kamilla, Ontario Canada



“Part of my job is meeting and listening to people’s stories. I was fascinated by the listening hacks … especially Highlighting and introductions using the Highlighting methods. By focusing on others strengths and highlighting them, they are encouraged and it helps us become memorable to them as well. I can put this to practice today! Thank you!” -Doug, Arizona



“Telling a great story is always captivating, which is why we all loved story time as a kids. I also, love the idea of collecting and trading good stories like the parking attendant in this book. He was not only engaging, but seemed to really enjoy connecting with others and his work as well.” -Jesse



“The Appreciation Language Hack was my favorite. I knew nothing about this beforehand, and Vanessa did a great job of explaining how to apply it in everyday life.” -Karen, Ohio



“I can tell you that I am enjoying the approachable writing style, the use of lots of easily identifiable stories/examples and strategically placed images. I also enjoy your ability to help me see things differently, both literally and figuratively. I am constantly scanning faces and trying to understand what is underneath.” -Alison, California



“[My favorite hack is] #4 Highlighter – Shining the light on a student, colleague, fellow party-goer or half-marathoner reaps connection and empowerment. It allows community. Such a simple thing to do, just like our Grandma’s told us…be nice!” -Gail, Canada



“It’s hard to pick a favorite! I think the most useful for me is spark. It made me think a lot about how I interact when I meet new people and how to do that better. I also really enjoyed Protect. I found the explanation of gremlins to be right on and learning the N-U-T job to work with the difficult person to be a big a-ha moment.” -Meg, Washington



“I had such a great time reading the book “Captivate” by Vanessa Van Edwards. Not only is the book educational, and informative, but at the same time it is a very interesting book for people like myself who have a fascination with learning about body language and human behavior. One of my favorite hacks that I highlighted and was also my aha Moment was when I was reading about the OCEAN method and how it could be applied for analyzing different personality types. I also loved how Vanessa use the example in how she used the OCEAN method to figure why her intern quit. The result was that Vanessa was the high neurotic type who had unintentionally overwhelmed her low open , high agreeable intern type with new projects. Vanessa was human to recognize her own mistake and what she learned about her intern. If a person wants to learn new stuff about people, themselves and the world of body language, I highly recommend ‘Captivate'” -Erika, California



“My favourite part of the book to this point (I’m a slow reader) is analyzing the people directly affecting my day to day life, more specifically their primary value. That was my aha moment. I figured out my sisters primary values, my parents values, most of my co workers… still working on a few. I haven’t figured out my fiancé yet… is that weird? Don’t you think I’d figure hers out right away?? I may be to close to the action to notice. I love the idea of a matrix, and plan to sit down and do one.” -Geoff



“My favorite behavior hack would have to be the Appreciation Language. I have sort of played around with it in my head before but couldn’t figure out what it was or how to use it going forward. My first brush with it was when I ‘tried something new’ with my Word Processing Department. My Company said to offer them Comp Time as a bonus for Outstanding Performance. After a few months and several conversations, I realized that each lady was motivated by something different. Only 2 of them cared about the Comp Time – and they always ‘won’ the internal contest. Once I offered up a choice of different ‘prizes’ – that’s when it became a competition. Comp Time, Cash in Hand, Spa Certificate, Special Lunch in their Honor… i just tried to get creative with what i thought each lady would like. Sadly, i didn’t internalize this lesson and haven’t used it much since then. But you can bet I’ve been trying to find ways to use it since you explained it! Thank you!”-Danielle, Florida


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