Be Exceptional by Joe Navarro: Unveiling the Keys to Extraordinary Success

In his book, “Be Exceptional,” former decorated FBI agent Joe Navarro shares invaluable insights on achieving exceptional success. Drawing from his extensive experience and studies of exceptional individuals, Navarro presents key principles and strategies that can propel one towards greatness. In this article, we will explore the key takeaways from the book and review its unique perspectives on success.

  1. Emotion Control: Navarro highlights the significance of mastering emotions to achieve success. He shares personal anecdotes of how losing control of emotions can hinder one’s progress. For instance, he lost a year in his career and got hospitalized because of losing control. mentions Elon Musk’s incident on the Joe Rogan podcast, where smoking weed affected public perception of his emotional stability and impulsivity. Navarro emphasizes the importance of finding effective techniques to control and manage emotions, such as engaging in activities like walking, jogging, taking a break before responding, or meditation to cool down.
  2. Self-Apprenticeship: Navarro challenges the conventional belief that one needs a mentor to improve their skills. He believes that you do not need a mentor to improve your skill in life. Mentors are hard to come by and they’re usually very busy. Instead, he advocates for self-apprenticeship, exemplified by historical figures like Benjamin Franklin. Ben Franklin learned a lot of his skills himself through the school of life. Ben learned a lot about social skills, writing, business, and diplomacy through his own testing and trials to life. He learned a lot about science by testing things in a scientific manner. Navarro’s own journey into mastering body language, a field with limited resources at the time, demonstrates the rewards of pursuing self-directed learning. Joe set out to become a master of body language at a time when the field didn’t have many books published on the topic and no one majored in that topic in college. But he was so passionate about the topic that he did it anyways. He argues that pursuing things through self apprenticeship leads to surprising rewards that you would’ve never considered. It opens door you never would’ve thought it would open. He has been able to meet many successful people, the top people in the field of body language, and be able to help others and apply that by getting recruited by the FBI. And that was all because he chose to pursue learning body language.
  3. Conscientiousness: Navarro emphasizes the role of conscientiousness in achieving success. Conscientious individuals display emotional control, punctuality, attention to detail, humility, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By highlighting the significance of conscientiousness over intelligence, Navarro encourages readers to prioritize developing this trait.
  4. Self-Correction and Perseverance: Navarro distinguishes exceptional people from ordinary individuals by their ability to self-correct and learn from their mistakes. He stresses the importance of perseverance, citing examples of prominent figures like Thomas Edison and James Dyson, who persisted despite repeated failures before achieving success. Navarro advises readers to continually ask themselves how they want to be remembered and take actions that positively impact their legacy.
  5. Observational Awareness: Navarro underscores the importance of observation and heightened awareness in navigating the modern world. By honing observation skills, individuals can make better decisions and understand others more effectively. He provides examples of how observational awareness can prevent misunderstandings and improve communication, citing incidents in the workplace where people’s body language conveyed discomfort or disinterest.
  6. Effective Communication: Navarro explores the principles of effective communication, emphasizing the value of face-to-face interactions and genuine engagement. He emphasizes the importance of validating others’ experiences and providing undivided attention. Navarro discusses the repercussions of failing to communicate well, both on an individual and organizational level.
  7. Kindness and Caring: Exceptional individuals, Navarro asserts, demonstrate kindness and genuine care towards others without expecting anything in return. He shares stories of individuals like Henry, who consistently brought joy to people’s lives. Navarro emphasizes the power of showing care through various acts, including doing one’s best in even the simplest of tasks and providing emotional support when needed. A smile can go a long way in disarming someone.
  8. Curiosity is the gateway to enlighten awareness. Be curious about things. Being illiterate in the 21st-century isn’t about not being able to read or write. It’s about not being able to learn and unlearn.

Conclusion: In “Be Exceptional,” Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent and body language expert, offers a fresh perspective on achieving success. While some points align with existing literature on success, Navarro’s book introduces unique insights and practical strategies. The author’s personal experiences, combined with his expertise in assessing body language, provide readers with a distinctive approach to self-improvement. “Be Exceptional” encourages readers to prioritize emotional control, self-apprenticeship, conscientiousness, self-correction, observational awareness, effective communication, and acts of kindness. It serves as a valuable guide for those seeking to excel in


Book Review: “Be Exceptional” presents a compelling perspective on success from the unique vantage point of an FBI body language expert. While some points covered are commonly mentioned in other success books, Navarro offers a fresh approach by combining his insights on body language with personal anecdotes. The book’s emphasis on conscientiousness, self-correction, and curiosity aligns with existing success literature. However, Navarro’s expertise in nonverbal communication brings a unique dimension to the discussion. Overall, “Be Exceptional” is an interesting read that offers a couple of unique insights amidst the abundance of self-help literature.
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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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