The fascinating opening chapter describes the history and development of Ekman's research and things just get more and more interesting as we get closer to the emotions themselves. He leads us to the big questions: Why do we become emotional when we do? What triggers each of our emotions and how and when we can change what we become emotional? Will emotion always, somehow (in a "micro-expression" perhaps) reveal itself? Ekman also explains how we can become more attentive to our emotions as we have them and so increase the possibility of behaving in emotionally more constructive ways.
Having prepared the territory Ekman then moves to physiological ground explaining that each emotion has unique signals, most readily identified in the face and voice, that generate a unique pattern of sensations in our body. By becoming better acquainted with those sensations we may become aware early enough in our emotional response that we have some chance to choose, if we like, whether to go along or interfere with the emotion. We are also made aware of the connection this process has to the Buddhist practice and ideal of "mindfulness" through Ekman's discussions with the Dalai Lama. The appendix contains a set of photographs designed to test our skill at spotting the subtlest signs of the various emotions which the reader is advised to take before beginning the book. --Larry Brown