Excerpt from Psychology Today – March/April 2017
For Joe Navarro, former FBI agent whose behavioral expertise snared one of the most dangerous spies in American history (“Agent Provocateur”), the supremely wrenching experience of his childhood – his family fled Cuba when he was 8 years old-provided the wherewithal for his life’s work.
“I woke up overnight in a totally different country, and not speaking English, I had to quickly come up with a solution: That was to interpret what people were saying, feeling and thinking,” he recalls.
Decoding nonverbal communication was his lifeline. ” You learn quickly who likes you and who doesn’t. It taught me to observe, not just luck. I cannot tell you how invaluable that has been in life and later in an FBI career, where reading people is 90% of the job.” Navarro no lectures and consults all over the world about nonverbal communication. The spy catching investigation that he spearheaded is chronicled in his forthcoming memoir, Three minutes to doomsday: an FBI Agent, a Traitor, and the Worst Espionage Breach in U.S. History (Scribner), to be released in April. Abruptly fleeing a totalitarian regime left another motivating mark on Navarro. ” It imbued me with urgency. I constantly feared that, at some future date, everything might be taken from me.” Some says, ” I grasped on to the only thing that could never be taken from me, my education.” Just as he had schooled himself on nonverbal behavior, he read voraciously : about the Golden Age of Greece, Galileo, the Medicis, Churchill. ” I can’t tell you how many times I have sat across from a suspect or a spy and engaged in a conversation that succeeded because of some nugget of esoteric information we had in common.”
Submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org