The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer

Book Reviews every Wednesday at 7 AM, Subscribe! This week is a double feature, make sure to also check out The Richest Man In Babylon Review.

Favorite Quote

“We like those who resemble us, and are engaged in the same pursuits. . . . We like those who desire the same things as we [do].”


Main Idea

Unconsciously with our body language, tone of voice, words and the friendship formula we send out foe or friend signals. Understanding all of the elements in the Like Switch and more specifically in the friend formula we are able to adjust to turn on the Like Switch with whoever we meet, even turning foreign spies into allies.


Any book that starts off with an anecdote of having students joining a College class from a former FBI agent as a way to pick up girls more effectively deserves more than attention. Jack Schafer takes a traditional approach in conveying body language cues as well as timeless principles from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People making them special and relatable.  The two former are achieved by using plenty of fun FBI interviews, real life situations like texting and delayed flights as well as the occasional marital dispute.

In a world where automation can take on more tasks every day, there has been an ever increasing value in individuals with high emotional intelligence. Dealing with people is without a doubt the most important skill to have in business, which can be reiterated by the fact that any other skill could be learned by dealing with people. However, it is often that we make the mistake of paying attention only to what we say with our words, when we disregard universally identifiable friend signals. Schafer speaks mostly of three:

  1. The Eyebrow Flash
  2. The Head Tilt
  3. The Smile (Duh!)

The three are summarized with not as much excitement as this post by Schafer on this video.

While the above 3 are great for making an immediate impression, you do not have to uncontrollably tilt your head to make longer term friendships. The Friendship formula is the following:

Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity

If one of the elements is lacking, the friendship will slowly deteriorate, unless another of the elements compensates. As an example, if you meet someone you will never see again (Frequency), only for around 5 seconds (Duration), your only bet at any type of Friendship is compensating with Intensity. (I do not recommend Proximity as snuggling with strangers could be frowned upon).

How It Made Me Better


Body Language has always been of extreme interest to me, but it was refreshing to see a book that did not focus only on verbal or non verbal communication, but that encompassed everything that is practical in the world we live in today. It has made me understand, how a lot of the things I say could be misinterpreted or left unclear, I now have the tools to communicate with crystal clarity anything at all, and when the occasion demands it, with the subtlety of an international spy.

Next Wednesday come back at 7 for an amazing review of The One Thing.

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Written by The Magic Sloth