Joe Navarro joined the FBI when he was just 23 years old. Over the next 25 years there working in counterintelligence and counterterrorism, Joe became an expert on human behaviour and non-verbal communication. (We featured his thoughts on body language and lie detecting during last year's Spy Week.)
Although he retired from the FBI a decade ago, Joe continues to write (his bestseller What Every Body is Saying has been published in 27 languages) and lecture around the world. We caught up with the fascinating Mr Navarro to talk about books, workspaces and more.
Location: Tampa, Florida Current gig: writing books, lecturing and blogging at Spycatcher for Psychology Today Current mobile device: iPhone 4S Current computer: Macbook Air One word that best describes how you work: furiously
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Twitter. It allows me to connect with people all over the world. They give immediate feedback on anything I write and they let me know what they like or don't. They can be very supportive and give guidance when you're trying to get help — ask a question and you will get scores of people who want to help. Want to know where to eat in Bogota? Three people will answer that. They can also tell you what they find interesting about your writing or not — for instance, I had several tell me they want me to write more fiction.
The only other apps I use are by Delta and US Airways because I'm constantly travelling and they're good for updates. Dragonspeak I like because I can dictate notes.
What's your workspace like?
I have an area of the house carved out that's an office, and that's all I use it for. It's where I do research, invite guests, and do all my writing. I allow myself music in the room, but no TV as I don't want to be distracted. Writing is hard for me and I can't afford distractions. I use a stand-up desk from Scan Design, which helps my back. I work there 8-10 hours a day.
Pictured above: Joe's standing desk.
What's your best time-saving trick?
Email in the morning, research in the afternoon, write late in the evening when all is quiet.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
My Kindle. Now when I go on holidays I can read seven or eight books without having to carry them. A digital recorder — when I'm too lazy to write I take digital notes. Siri makes my appointments and reminds me with metronomic efficiency.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Vacuuming. It relaxes me, as does grilling salmon steaks on the BBQ. Also reading — I usually read one or two books per week.
What are you currently reading?
Usually about three books at a time. This week, it's The Generals by Thomas E. Ricks, God's Equation by Amir Aczel, Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich, and The Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman (a must read).
What do you listen to while you work?
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I'm a high end introvert and prefer quiet, small groups. Giving presentations is exhausting to me as are parties. Yes, I am boring.
Pictured above: Joe in the classroom.
What's your sleep routine like?
I stay up until 1am writing or reading and I'm up by 7. If I'm on a deadline then it's a "luxurious" 6am or earlier, until 1am. Of course there's always time for a nap.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Read as much as you can on all sorts of topics. Set no limits for what interests you, no matter how far or wide. Ignore convention and write on the margins — it will help you remember information. Every book I have has writing on the margins.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Most everything I've learned about business, I learned from watching my parents and how they interact with others. Attitude, attention to detail, service to others, taking care of things quickly, and making others comfortable — that's all you really need to know. Sacrifice by studying early in life so you won't have to sacrifice later.
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.