Face Value - The Irresistible influence of First Impressions by Alexander Todorov is a book by Princeton University Press released this June 14th.
The book treats a very important chapter of our life: the study of the face.
Our face has a value also in terms of Curriculum Vitae because we can be picked up or refused, socially, sentimentally, at work by our own face thanks to the social standard existing in the world.
Is it all true?
Studies affirms that there are direct connections between our face and who we are.
In the USA there is a corporation hiring people without any kind of interview if they respect the standard of physiognomy they love the most.
Some States of the USA were interested at the theories expressed by Galton.
The study of faces is old like the time in fact.
Leonardo thought developing prejudices because of a certain face of a man or a woman wasn't the case.
Other ones more contemporaries like Lavater, Lombroso and Galton mixed the cards on the table and created a real science after all: the one of physiognomy.
Lavater was a prolific writer and interested in this art and studies for hobby. Later he was inducted by some friends at giving private considerations to influential people about their faces.
So when at the end he wrote his book about considerations on the topic the book sold out because bought by a lot of important people interested to discovering something more about themselves.
Other contemporaries of Lavater thought that his theories were pretty eccentric. How can I judge a person by his face? they thought.
But Lombroso in Italy thought something else creating a real "criminal profile" based on certain facial characteristics.
Another risk, because maybe there were somewhere people with the same facial criminal characteristics exposed by Lombroso without any kind of connection with crime and who knows? maybe they passed bad moments just for the fact that they had the typical face of the criminal portrayed by Lombroso.
The shocking news arrived with Galton and his theories of an arian race superior to the other ones with face-stereotypes precise. Theories embraced later by Hitler.
This book is born because in the past this sunny professor of psychology at Princeton, Mr Todorov, decided to start a study based on the physiognomy of people for trying to understand who would have won the Presidential elections.
Hillary Clinton vs.John Kerry. Who would have his students voted considering the face of the candidates during the Presidential campaign? The research was later published on Science.
In modern times it's not just necessary to be good politicians but also beautiful people with a captivating face and sex-appeal for being in policy. The latest example in this sense is Tureau the leader of Canada.
I told to some people I was reading this book and asked an opinion. If they would have been Americans who would have they voted for during the latest Presidential Elections: Clinton or Trump, considering just the face of the candidates and not the political ideas or these past months spent by President Trump at the White House, so removing all the possible prejudices in a sense or in another.
The answer was Hillary Clinton.
Not only: I also asked them if they considered a beauty face important, and so following the most canonical sense of the word, a regular face, with a sunny, captivating smile. Yes they replied: a great factor for social life although a good face can be "destroyed" by a bad behavior they added.
And yes here it's possible to insert the story of Dorian Gray told wonderfully well by Oscar Wilde in his book The Portrait of Dorian Gray and reported also in the book by Todorov.
Dorian Gray thanks to a painting kept hidden somewhere in his house, continued to be young and beautiful although time passed by while slowly slowly his painting with the soul of Dorian into it became old, ugly, horrible, very corrupted and dissolute, letting see him very clearly once the devastation and all the ugliness that there was into himself thanks to his immoral behavior.
Oh no: Dorian couldn't see it. To everyone he was perfect, a beautiful man, but that painting knew the truth. That painting knew realistically who Dorian Gray was.
To Dorian was like to look himself into a mirror seeing the reflection of a monster.
His beauty was fake.
His beauty was not real but a falsity he couldn't escape anymore.
This one is the most captivating and complete book about this topic that you can find around and it will explain you why our face is so important and how to recognize positive sunny people, how to search for them, how you can better yourself for finding a best job, for a best relationship.
With many photographs, most of them retouched and revisited you will see many models of people, analyzed under many perspectives including the "most reassuring faces."
Imagine the importance of a beauty face during the elections.
Also Abraham Lincoln said Todorov tried all his best for being elected searching for a good-looking face.
Under exams the age of people, their being famous, their being angry, their being smokers, their being healthy, their joys, their extreme facial expressions, their change of mood. Manipulation will let you also see differences in terms of external ugliness.
It will be taken in consideration the cryptic smile of the Monna Lisa, you will see a face of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders together, the two populists leaders during this past Presidential Campaign, George W. Bush Jr and Hillary Clinton.
Other example will involve notorious criminals and their faces.
The book is divided in four parts: the first one will examine the appeal of physiognomy, the second the so-called first impressions seeing a face that can result more or less friendly to us, the third part the (mis)accuracy of first impressions and the fourth one the special status of faces.
Truly interesting and remarkable book, buy it with the certainty to discover something more about yourself, your colleagues, your dear ones :-) and accepting yourself first of all with your own face.
I thank Princeton University Press for the physical book review copy.
Anna Maria Polidori