Are you more like Queen Elizabeth or Jim Carey? That is one of the questions Dan Korem poses in his book Snapshot: Reading and Treating People Right the First Time, which introduces the “lite” version of what he calls the Korem Profiling System, or KPS, a “rapid-fire” way to profile an individual on the spot after interacting with them for only a few minutes. Korem writes that profiling someone only takes a few questions, and that you can even profile yourself to understand how others perceive you and how you would prefer to be treated.
But, as a mental health professional myself who is trained to read others, I had a difficult time reading his book.
Korem describes the full-fledged KPS method, which entails making four different reads of a person, combining them, and then getting a two-page profile that is supposed to identify how that person is likely to communicate, perform tasks, make decisions, and be open to your influence. As Snapshot is more of a primer and not a comprehensive guide, Korem encourages us to read one of his other publications, The Art of Profiling, too.
But this book, at least, is distracting. Korem includes many stories and examples, which help to flesh out some of his concepts, but he also overwhelms the reader with self-promotion, links to his website, recommendations to buy his other products, and suggestions to download his apps. As a mental health practitioner, I am trained to watch for non-verbal cues and behaviors to read people and ensure that what they are saying is what they are actually feeling. I was hoping that Korem might help me delve into how to more accurately read a person, but came away disappointed.
In the early 1990s, several presidents of companies asked Korem to develop a system for negotiations in foreign countries to avoid racial, ethnic, and cultural stereotyping when making on-the-spot behavioral reads. He then presented his profiling method to police psychologists and the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. The system was to help figure out how a person prefers to communicate, operate, perform, and make decisions. Korem recruited behavioral experts to help him develop his method, and they identified different types of behavior that every person exhibits that one can get at through four “behavioral wires,” or questions.
The idea is to find out (1) If the person prefers to control or to express emotions when they communicate, (2) if the person prefers to be assertive or nonassertive, (3) if the person prefers to be conventional or unconventional, and (4) if the person makes decisions confidently, cautiously, or out of extreme fear.
This is where Queen Elizabeth and Jim Carey come into play. When determining whether a person is conventional or unconventional, you can ask yourself, Is this person more like the Queen (conventional) or more like Jim Carey (unconventional)? Other famous people come in handy, too. Korem suggests Mr. Rogers for non-assertive versus Russell Crowe for assertive, and Spock for controlling versus Lady Gaga for expressing emotions.
While this may sound easy enough, the book was difficult to follow at times and I found it hard to implement the principles in real life. Korem does provide examples and pictures that make some of his ideas easier to grasp, but I was not left fully embracing his methods.
Snapshot: Reading and Treating People Right the First Time
International Focus Press, March 2015
Hardcover, 380 pages