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Surprising Science

What Is Charisma & How Do You Get It?

Can anyone learn how to light up a room? Author Fox Cabane says that, by using empathetic body language and speaking in a cheerful yet authoritative manner, you can be more well-liked. 

What’s the Latest Development?

In her new book, The Charisma Myth, author Fox Cabane argues that anyone can master the “art and science” of personal magnetism. Defined as the ability to inspire great enthusiasm and devotion, the essence of charisma is an empathetic body language and a cheerful, authoritative manner of speech. “The techniques [Cabane]  uses to teach emotionally illiterate clients to read body language are the same as those employed by the CIA and FBI. ‘By observing people’s micro-expressions, they really do learn to read people like a book, which makes them more empathetic.'”

What’s the Big Idea?

While charisma may inspire more people to like you, the personality trait should not be confused with moral goodness. History’s biggest villains, such as Hitler, Mao and Mussolini, were all known for their alluring personalities. “These were all visionary charismatics, people who had total conviction in their beliefs,” says Cabane. “Humans are hard-wired to dislike uncertainty, so when they come across someone who shows none they find it very hard to resist.” Cabane also points out that being charismatic requires a lot of energy, meaning that leaders can often be drab or impersonal in their family lives. 

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The forgotten aspects of art history will always be the most intriguing. Digging up the dead storylines of art history, whether in the distant or the recent past, will never end, mostly thanks to forces that buried the facts, if not the bodies, for whatever agenda. Artists and Prophets: A Secret History of Modern Art 1872-1972 at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt resurrects German visionaries and Jesus wannabes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to look at how their exploits and artistic creations helped shape the course of German and European modern art. It also shines light on how the impact of those figures fell into obscurity as another casualty of the ideological war waged by that most unfortunately unforgettable of German messianic aspirants — Adolf Hitler.

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