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Do you want to understand people better? The things they do, the things they say? People-reading skills can help us in our work, our personal lives, and in many everyday situations.

I’m Zach Elwood. On this podcast I talk to people from a wide range of fields about how they read behavior and use psychology in their work. Popular episodes include: interrogation techniques, poker tells, relationship tells, spotting fake online reviews, and analyzing statements for hidden meaning, to name a few. There are more than 90 episodes.

I also sometimes tackle political polarization-related topics. See all my politics-related episodes.

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About me

I’m most well known for my work on poker tells (aka, poker behavior). My first poker tells book, Reading Poker Tells, has been translated into eight languages and is regarded by many as the best book on the subject. I’ve also done research on deceptive online activity that’s been featured in NY Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere. Here’s my Twitter.

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Episode deep Dives

Deep dives include summaries, transcripts, source and resource links, and listening options.

Why are we so gullible?, with Brian Dunning

A talk with Brian Dunning, who you might call a professional skeptic. He has been doing the Skeptoid podcast since 2006, and is the creator of multiple books and video projects aimed at promoting critical thinking and skepticism. We talk about the reasons why we’re so often drawn to pseudoscience, bullshit, and no/low-evidence ideas in…

How big a problem are hate crimes in the U.S.?, with Wilfred Reilly

Wilfred Reilly is a political scientist, Kentucky State University professor, and author of the 2019 book Hate Crime Hoax. I wanted to talk to Reilly about the nature of hate crimes in America. One reason I wanted to discuss this is because our perceptions of hate crimes, and racism more generally, are a factor in…

About this podcast: why I do it and why I think it’s important

This is all about the People Who Read People podcast. Topics discussed include: what led to me starting this podcast; what my goals with it were and how they’ve changed over time; my approach to who I interview and the questions I ask; why I focus on polarization-related topics and why I think that’s important;…

Examining American antisemitism, with James Kirchick

A talk with journalist and author James Kirchick (jameskirchick.com) about antisemitism. Topics discussed include: the origins of various varieties of American antisemitism, controversial statements about Jewish people from Kanye West and Whoopi Goldberg; Donald Trump; Israel; George Soros; Louis Farrakhan; Black Hebrew Israelites; the term “globalist”, and more. Episode links: Resources that are related or…

Is liberal bias impeding U.S. depolarization and conflict resolution efforts?, with Guy Burgess

A talk with conflict resolution specialist Guy Burgess, who, along with his wife Heidi Burgess, run the project www.beyondintractability.org. Guy and Heidi wrote a paper in 2022 titled “Applying conflict resolution insights to the hyper‐polarized, society‐wide conflicts threatening liberal democracies.“ A transcript of this talk is below. I talk with Guy about: how conflict resolution…

The art of recruiting, with Blake Mobley

A talk with Blake Mobley about the business of recruiting: matching job seekers with companies that are hiring. Blake is the co-founder and managing director of recruiting company Keeper Recruiting (keeperrecruiting.com), which specializes in biotech. Topics discussed include: what the process of recruiting is like; how Keeper Recruiting learns pertinent details about job seekers; the…

Dealing with anxiety and mental health issues as a college student

I was interviewed on Mahima Samraik‘s podcast Breaking The Facts about my struggles with anxiety and mental issues as a young man, which led to me dropping out of college in the middle of my second year of college. We talk about what that experience was like; recommendations for people dealing with similar problems; and…

Understanding madness, with Richard Bentall

A talk with psychologist Richard Bentall, author of the well known book “Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature,” which is an examination of the psychological causes of the symptoms associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, mania, and other mental issues. Richard Bentall is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield. A transcript of this…

Reading tells in football, with Larry Hart

A talk with Larry Hart (Twitter: @coachlarryhart), a football coach at the University of Houston, and the author of the book The Recruit’s Playbook. Topics discussed include: common behavioral patterns (tells) in American football that are used to get an edge on opponents and teams; reading signals that opponent coaches give to players; the importance…