05/02/2010

The You Code (by Judi James)

I hadn't heard of Judi James; apparently she's appeared on TV and radio in the UK, she's written novels, and she's one of the leading experts on body language.

I actually got hold of 'The You Code' after having it recommended to me via Amazon, based on previous wishlist items and ratings. It sounded intriguing. It claims to teach its readers about body language, to explain 'hidden meanings' behind our habits and choices, and to help us understand our friends and colleagues better through observing them. I'm always keen to read about our inner selves, and to understand other people better, so thought it could be an interesting read.

Unfortunately, it was a light-weight book which barely scraped the surface of body language. I'm not sure if it was intended to be faintly humorous exaggerated stereotypes, so obvious that nobody could take them seriously, or whether it assumed that the general public are completely ignorant about what their most overt body language says and was actually intended to teach people something. I rather hope it was the former, since all it did was to provide a lengthy list of caricatures that were hardly revealing or unexpected, and - in many cases - exaggerated or inaccurate.

Some of the caricatures were rather obvious (someone middle-aged with spiky hair probably wants to appear either shocking or aggressive... well duh!), some were rather Freudian (someone who sucks their pen is hankering after suckling... hmmm) and some were just silly (drinking tap water means one is uncreative?)

As one who almost never buys coffee out and wouldn't dream of taking a Starbucks or similar to the office, who doesn't drink tea, or watch TV, and for whom a significant number of the other categories didn't apply, it was a book to skim, and roll my eyes, and rather wish I hadn't bothered. Yes, some parts were faintly amusing; but there wasn't anything that couldn't be found in the back of a women's magazine in one of those silly quizzes: 'What does your Handbag say about you?' and the like.

Indeed, this book felt pretty much like a compilation of magazine quizzes rather than a serious work. I didn't learn anything new about myself since most of the categories either didn't apply or were incorrect, and I certainly didn't learn anything new about any of my friends. As for learning to appear to better advantage... there was very little in that section; nothing new to me at all.

On the plus side, it's quick and easy to read; the style is friendly and pleasant, and I suppose if there's anyone who goes around without any clue about what people's choices may reveal about them, it could be worth reading. However I didn't find anywhere that explained that it should be taken with a large pinch of salt - that the stereotypes given were just general, rather than to be taken literally in every circumstance. Perhaps I missed it. After the first couple of chapters I skimmed progressively more and more since I was hoping (in vain, as it turned out) to find something that was either interesting or relevant.

Not recommended.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 5th February 2010

1 comment:

Kelly.Eats.Jelly said...

Thanks for this awesome book review! :D It really did help :)