There is no country in the world where the “study of character” is more indulged in than in the United States of America. During my many visits there I could not help remarking how even the “hardest headed” business men used any form of this study that they could get hold of to help them in their business dealings with other men and also in endeavouring to ascertain the character of their clerks and employees.
In looking over the records of my career I find that in the course of my visits to America I gave private lessons to the heads of two hundred and seventy business establishments in New York, one hundred and thirty-five in Boston, and three hundred and forty-two in Chicago.
All these men were large employers of labour and what they principally wanted was, to have some help beyond that of their own judgment in dealing with those with whom they came in contact in the regular course of their business careers. In no other country did I find the same interest taken in the study of character from a practical standpoint.
It is for this reason that I write a special Preface for this Edition, believing as I do that my American readers will appreciate the added information I may be able to give regarding the obtaining by a mere glance at a hand a quick grasp of the leading characteristics of the persons with whom they are thrown into contact, or for whatever reason they choose to make use of this study.
Everyone knows that “the face can wear a mask,” that a person may be a good actor and put on a certain expression that may deceive even the best judgment. But hands cannot change as the result of a mere effort to please; the character they express is the real nature of the individual—the true character that has been formed by heredity or that has grown up with the person by long years of habit.
The characteristics alluded to below are those which may be easily observed and which are aids to a rapid judgment of character and which I have never before been able to give to the public in such a concise way.
The more elaborate details concerning the ultimate success of the person one is talking to, their more intimate character and their future development will be found in their proper place, in the subsequent chapters.
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