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Sex, Lies, and Handwriting: A Top Expert Reveals the Secrets Hidden in Your Handwriting Paperback – July 22, 2008
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Informative and entertaining.... The prose is bright, conversational, witty and not bogged down by technical jargon. This book will have you excitedly minding—and analyzing—your ‘Ps’ and ‘Qs’ and all the other letters, too.”
“Dig out all those old birthday and holiday cards and love notes you’ve been hoarding over the years. You may just learn something new—and shocking—about the person who penned them.”
—Charleston Post and Courier
About the Author
Michelle Dresbold, a graduate of the United States Secret Service's Advanced Document Examination training program, is considered one of the top experts in the nation on handwriting identification, personality profiling, and threat analysis. She consults to private attorneys, police departments, and prosecutors throughout the United States. Dresbold writes a syndicated column, "The Handwriting Doctor." She is also an accomplished artist. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit MichelleDresbold.com
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I bought the book out of a general interest in handwriting analysis and what it can tell about a person. After previewing samples of several different books, I chose this one. Why? It was entertaining. It seemed like a good book to take me into the world of handwriting, and it was. It wasn't a strict instruction book that I needed to try to understand every piece of it; instead, I was easily and happily able to read through and get a general feel for the subject. I didn't necessarily pick up techniques that I can use. But I understand now different things to consider in handwriting, and I feel it will be easier for me to learn when I pick up a more serious book.
The formula is generally that you are given a writing behaviour (shown through good illustrations), provided with a rule for what the behabiour indicates, and then given an extreme example that demonstrates the point. But there is little effort to explain why the rules might make sense (many are extremely counter-intuitive, if not outright absurd), and no empirical evidence is cited to back them up. This becomes especially frustrating when, later in the book, the author ignores rules she had earlier set out with certainty. When a serial killer wrote a pointy "t", and dipped their "d" below the line, they were an agressive rule breaker with an affection for knives; but then when an average woman (writing a letter to the author) exhibited the same patterns, it meant that she was narrow-minded, and needed to move on. Her application and interpretation of the rules sometimes felt far too selective and convenient.
As a closing note, I'd warn readers (males especially) that the author writes the book with a particular audience in mind: women looking to screen potential mates for violent behaviours. The most substantive section of the book is dedicated to this topic. From what I can tell, that is the target audience of the author's newspaper column, which figures prominantly in the book. It didn't ruin the book for me, as a 23 year old male, but it was annoying at times.
Nevertheless, I was expecting more information about general personality features. Instead, the author presents us lots of "small strange details" which often reveal psychopathic, abnormal and criminal tendencies.
In short, this book is entertaining if you want to feel like a profiler deciphering abnormalities among your friends, but not if you want to know yourself better, unless you are a criminal...
I would rather have named her book "The handwriting of criminals and other socially dangerous persons: tips to recognise them", that would have sounded more accurate.