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Details Of People

When you are travelling by train or bus, always notice every little thing about your fellow-travellers. Notice their faces, dress, way of talking, and so on, so that you could describe them each pretty accurately afterwards. And try to make out from their appearance and behaviour their probable business, whether they are happy, or ill, or in need of help.

But in doing this you must not let them see you are watching them, else it puts them on their guard. Remember the shepherd-boy I told you about in Yarn No. 2, who noticed the gipsy's boots, but did not look at him, and so did not make the gipsy suspicious of him.

Close observation of people and ability to read their character and their thoughts are of immense value in trade and commerce, especially for a shop-assistant or salesman in persuading people to buy goods, or in detecting would-be swindlers.

It is said that you can tell a man's character from the way he wears his hat. If it is slightly on one side, the wearer is supposed to be good-natured; if it is worn very much on one side, he is a swaggerer; if on the back of his head, he is bad at paying his debts; if worn straight on the top, he is probably honest but very dull.

The way a man (or a woman) walks is often a good guide to his character-witness the fussy, swaggering little man paddling along with short steps with much arm action; the nervous man's hurried, jerky stride; the slow slouch of the loafer; the smooth, quick, and silent step of the Scout, and so on.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


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