ForeWord Reviews

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What Makes People Tick and Why

The Answers Are in the Face

Clarion Review (4 Stars)

People’s personality traits can be discovered in their faces, according to Naomi Tickle, a renowned expert in physiognomy, which the author calls “personology,” also known as face reading. In What Makes People Tick & Why: The Answers Are in the Face, Tickle shows readers how to do a “spot analysis” of a face based on descriptions of “well-researched personality traits.”

After providing a brief introduction to the science of face reading and detailing its applications, Tickle takes readers on a comprehensive tour of facial characteristics. In separate chapters, she covers the shape of the face, eyes, nose, eyebrows, head, jaw, forehead, cheekbones, ears, lips, hair, hands, and legs.

Each chapter includes a discussion of characteristics, a listing of “famous faces” that have each of those characteristics, and an explanation of how those characteristics translate into information that can be applied to relationships, children, and careers. For example, in the chapter titled “The Eyes Are the Windows of the Soul,” the author identifies the characteristics of tolerance, judgment, analyzation, critical perception, seriousness, emotional expression, and magnetism. For magnetism, the author writes, “The deeper a person’s eye color, and the more sparkle in that eye, the more magnetic a person’s personality.” Tickle lists Sarah Palin, Julia Roberts, and Mel Gibson as individuals who possess this characteristic. When it comes to relationships, she says, “If your partner has a magnetic trait, don’t presume he or she is flirting with other people. These individuals naturally draw people to them because they look friendly.”

At the end of the book, Tickle offers a chart of physical features and what they indicate in terms of understanding children, determining compatible relationships, finding the right careers, and selling something. (Tickle makes the point that “we all are salespeople on some level.”) The author includes a glossary of personality traits, as well as a very helpful chart that relates physical features to traits.

Naomi Tickle’s book is well written and easy to understand. It will likely have readers studying their own faces, in addition to the faces of others, for clues about personality traits. The risk is that a reader could apply the material here literally and make snap judgments, without understanding the nuances of face reading. Despite this cautionary note, What Makes People Tick & Why is a useful and compelling introduction to the science of face reading.

Barry Silverstein