Monday, May 03, 2010

The Jacques Statement

I’m currently going through Malcolm Gladwell’s “What The Dog Saw” and I’ve gotten to the chapter on FBI profilers. Note to anybody who might actually be family with an FBI profiler? Don’t read this chapter.  He pretty much makes the case that they’re all nothing but cold-reading con men.

Which is where I learned something.  Because apparently there’s a language to the script that cold readers use, including the Rainbow Ruse, the Barnum Statement … and something called the Jacques Statement.

I didn’t recognize this at first because Gladwell pronounces it “JAYkus” and I’ve always heard it more like “jayQUEE”, but it is named for the As You Like It character either way.  Taken from the “ages of man” speech, it means to tailor your statement to the age of the person being read:

e.g. late thirties….” If you are honest about it, you often get to wondering what happened to all those dreams you had when you were younger.”

I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Just wanted to point out the connection in case that intrigues anybody enough to go learn the art of cold reading.

(Funny story about that? I used to know how to read Tarot cards.  I once read them for a friend’s wife.  I told her, “I am customizing my answers based on what I know about you. This is a trick.” And yet it freaked her out so much that every time I saw her she’d ask me to do it again.)

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