Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection by Brian Glazer

Brian Glazer is a film producer who has produced hundreds of TV shows and movies. He has been featured on NPR, CNN, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

This book is helpful to anyone who is into building relationships and understands the value of getting to know someone on a deeper level and making a great first impression.

“Study groups had similar benefits. In face to face gatherings with my peers, I learned both from what was being said and what wasn’t. People became my human guidebooks and cheat sheets. I grew adept at listening to them and reading their nonverbal cues, from their expressions to their body language. I noticed that when I focused on someone, they could feel I was interested in them and were more apt to keep talking and sharing with me.” 

“After the first class, I realized that I might be in over my head. However, as the semester went on, I noticed that I was asking more insightful, more thoughtful questions than most of my classmates were.” 

“I could see the respect in my professor’s eyes when I asked him what he thought were the most unsolved mysteries in chemistry, and I remember the exact moment when it occurred to me, Maybe I’m one of the smart kids. Amazingly, the more I connected with others, the more I got out of my education and the more confident I became. It was like I had a superpower that was just starting to emerge. Once I recognized this skill, my life legitimately started to change for the better. I know it sounds trite but it’s true. And that pretty much explains how I got here. I never imagined myself writing books. I’ve always made movies and television.” 

“In today’s world, we seem to be losing this key ingredient to our health, happiness, and success. Everything is always go, go, go. We don’t take the time to really see the people in front of us; we are not patient enough to stick with the gradual process of building meaningful relationships. Instead, the modern impulse is for quick, transactional communication. I find this to be especially true in business, where people can be more interested in “getting ahead” and “getting it done” than getting to know one another—what motivates someone else, what they care about. When actually, getting to know one another is almost always the most effective path to getting anything done, both in the near term and the long run.” 

appointment of the first “Minister for Loneliness.” I would venture to say that people today are starving for genuine relationships, a sense of belonging, and the feeling of being known and understood.” 

“Looking someone in the eyes with genuine interest signals to them that you are present with and for them. And that is the starting point for respect and validation. It signals that they matter. It is the jumping off point for everything that is essential in a meaningful relationship— curiosity, trust, intimacy, empathy, and vulnerability. When we look someone in the eyes, really look at them, we are telling them I see you.” 

“In a world where our attention is too often focused downward or elsewhere, simply lifting your eyes to meet another’s gaze can be transformative. Today, whether in business or socially, I am surprised and struck when someone makes really good eye contact. When a person looks calmly into my soul, and is genuinely interested in my existence, it feels unique and real. And I remember them for it. In our chaotic world of perpetual busyness and distraction, eye contact just might be the ultimate differentiator.” 

“What we’re all striving for is authenticity, a spirit-to-spirit connection.” —Oprah 

“I set this goal for myself: I had to meet one new person in the industry every single day. It worked so well, and I learned so much, that I decided to extend my reach. I added a second goal: to meet at least one person every two weeks outside of Hollywood.” 

“With lyrics like “I scream to make up for a woman’s lifetime of silence,” the song became an anthem in her home country of Afghanistan.5 With long black hair and big, beaming eyes, she exudes a calm confidence considering all she has been through in her life.” 

“In rap music she discovered an outlet for self-expression and began to write her own songs about child labor.” 

“With her deep and compassionate eyes, Sonita told me that she does not resent her mother for trying to sell her; she understands that this was how the older generation was raised. Instead of hanging on to the past, Sonita is looking forward, trying to change tradition and shift culture through community education. Although there is a lot of suffering in the world, she says, there is also a great deal of hope when you put your voice to work for the change you want to see. Sonita’s composure and emotional intelligence really struck me. She was still in high school yet spoke with the wisdom of someone far beyond her years. As I sat next to her on the couch listening to her story, I sensed a deep knowing in her.” 

“He defined flow as moments of total absorption, when we are fully energized, focused, and immersed in the process of our activity and achieving optimum performance. In these moments, everything else, including space and time, seems to disappear. He was describing exactly those rare moments I felt when surfing, and more recently on the tennis court. 

Steven went on to explain that “the zone” or “flow state” is one of the most desirable states of being on earth. It’s also one of the most elusive. Seekers have spent centuries trying to reproduce the experience in a consistent and reliable way, but few have succeeded. One exception is action-and-adventure athletes like surfers, skiiers, and climbers who regularly take on terrifying obstacles from towering cliffs to gravity-defying waves. I was curious: What do these athletes know that I don’t? What is their “inner game”? Steven told me that during a flow state, the brain produces a cascade of performance-enhancing chemicals, such as epinephrine and dopamine, which tighten focus and lower signal-to-noise ratios.” 

“A one-way soul grab never works. It has to be mutually fulfilling. The best curiosity conversations are the ones where both people are engaged, contributing, and learning from each other. We’re absorbed in each other’s eyes, listening, empathizing, and, sometimes, even reaching a place of vulnerability and trust. There is a give and take, which fosters intimacy.” 

“Were you really listening to what Lowell and Babaloo were saying?” “Of course,” I said. “I heard every word of it.” “Maybe,” Ron said, “but you weren’t looking at them. If you don’t look at them when they’re talking, it hurts their feelings.” 

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “If you don’t look people in the eye when they talk, they don’t feel respected.” 

“Ron’s feedback also had a direct impact on my interactions with others. From the moment he pointed out my lack of eye contact, I resolved to always look at others during meetings. As soon as I did, something magical began to happen. The meetings no longer felt plainly transactional. I felt more in sync with people than I had in the past.” 

“There was something about the quality of Oprah’s attention, the way she leaned in and held my gaze that made me feel like she saw me and she cared about me. Not only did she play back the things I said, she had a gift for helping me synthesize and clarify my thoughts and feelings. She would say things like, “So, in other words, it sounds as though you must believe this, based on how you were feeling about that . . .” Oprah helped me understand myself better. Connecting with her was an incredibly powerful experience that has never left me.” 

“They all want to know one thing: Was that okay?” Deep down, all of us have doubts and insecurities. We use people’s eyes as a gauge to see whether we can trust them. When we find openness and attentiveness there, we are more likely to let ourselves be vulnerable and share. When we feel listened to, we feel understood and validated. When we feel understood and validated, we like a person. When we like a person, we trust them. And when we trust them, we’re more inclined to bare our essential and authentic selves. In order to form deep and meaningful bonds that transcend small talk and cookie-cutter conversation, we have to get to this place.” 

“Research suggests that the ideal length of time to hold a person’s gaze if you want to form an authentic connection is seven to ten seconds” 

“Disconnected from what was actually happening in society, most establishment voices at that time couldn’t see how important hip-hop was and wouldn’t give it the respect it deserved. This frustrated me, and I wanted to change it. So I decided to make a movie that would convey the power of the hip-hop movement. A film in which hip-hop itself would be the protagonist. Instead of starting off with a story, I started with a theme and a strong point of view.” 

“At the end of the evening, we walked out and stood facing each other at the valet. Her eyes were lit with an inner happiness that I’ve come to learn is exactly what she is all about. I immediately asked for her number and called her the very next morning. We’ve been together ever since. (After all these years, by the way, I still don’t believe that Veronica was just stopping by to get her key back from Barbara. She’ll never admit it, but I would venture to say that serendipity and “planned serendipity” might be very close cousins!)” 

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” —Reid Hoffman 

“potential collaborator, I always assume they are wondering, What does this person have to offer me? What can he add to the conversation? Where do our shared interests lie? Everyone sizes someone up before going into business with them.” 

“Riz chose a small, unassuming restaurant on the west side of Manhattan for our meeting. When he walked in, his distinct energy and presence was palpable. I knew right away that he would have something of substance to say. As we started to talk, I looked into his soulful eyes, and I could feel the enormous power of his humanity. Infuriated by the world’s indifference to the plight of refugees, he made a passionate and cogent case for why we need to stand up for these people, who like any of us, are just trying to survive and make a better life for themselves and their families. “We’re all in this together,” Riz said. Before we even had a chance to talk about creative work, I felt connected to Riz.” 

“This wasn’t the first time a project with someone didn’t work out, and it wouldn’t be the last, but I took this one especially hard. Riz had offered a bridge to a kind of authentic humanity and selfless purpose that isn’t always easy to come by in Hollywood. I do believe in kharma, the kind where good things are born from pure intentions, and have a good feeling we will work together in the future.” 

“The most successful creative relationships—like any good relationships—start from a place of authenticity and pure intentions.” 

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” 

“Making a movie or a TV show is not a solo affair. It takes studio backing, financiers, and a whole team of committed people—writers, directors, actors, production—working together. If I don’t believe in the vision, or I can’t articulate it in a compelling and persuasive way, then how can I expect anyone else to believe in it or commit themselves to it? How can I attract the most talented and interesting people to the project?” 

“was impressed by the scope of Nick’s knowledge on twentieth-century crime, and enthralled by his ability to foster rapport with so many Mafia bosses and organized crime figures. Somehow, he—a journalist, no less—had gained enough trust to earn entrée into that usually impenetrable world. So, naturally, I reached out to see whether he would have a curiosity conversation with me. He agreed and suggested we have dinner at Rao’s, an Italian restaurant in Harlem that was notoriously difficult to get into.” 

“Nick was talking about crime and the Mafia. Everything was confidential. I got the sense that this meeting was a kind of test. That he would be gauging how far he could go, how much he could say to me, whether or not he was going to continue the conversation or excuse himself. I intuited that he had very clear, inflexible” 

“keep in touch” moments. Over an Italian family-style dinner and a bottle of chianti, we had created a bond that, in my experience, usually takes years to form.” 

“It was ten thousand dollars. So, I wrote him a check for ten thousand dollars. My wife, Nora, said, ‘Are you out of your mind?!’ ” I was riveted, and immediately asked to meet with Nick and Frank at my office in LA. Just days later, across a long, shiny oval table in our conference room, I first laid eyes on one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. You could tell he was a boss. He had a commanding presence and charismatic air about him that made his mythology almost instantly believable.” 

“It was a story with a theme that was larger than the specific details of Frank’s life. At the core of it was the American dream and the human capacity for resourcefulness. I knew I had to make this movie. No question. No thinking.” 

“Frank’s trip to the Mekong Delta carried extremely high stakes. That he went so fearlessly into such a dangerous situation in a completely unknown land was critical evidence of his will, tenacity, resourcefulness, and desperation.” 

“Russell and I met up to discuss the part. Having already read the script, he looked at me intently and he said, “The character is undeveloped; it’s not there right now.” I wasn’t surprised; not only brilliant and well-read, Russell is also extremely street-smart. I knew him to be vigilant in pushing to make a better movie. I looked back at him and said with conviction, “We’ll get it there. I’ll dedicate myself to getting it there. Trust me—I’ll use all my time and energy and resources to make it happen with you, and to fulfill this promise.” 

“You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.” —Oprah 

“Despite this rigid power structure, there are those individuals lower down the ladder who seem uniquely capable of getting Hollywood to pay attention. They’re not the producer, director, or top executive in the room, but somehow they are able to signal that what they say matters.” 

“Her pitches are always impassioned and buttoned up. She communicates her resolve about a project with confident, unflinching eyes and keeps her gaze on me throughout our conversation, so that she can see whether she’s reaching me.” 

“If I’m fidgeting or look confused or unconvinced, she pauses to ask whether I have a question or comment. When we encounter someone like Julie, who has (or appears to have) confidence, we’re naturally attracted to their energy and want to hear what they have to say.” 

“Many people that I’ve met in the highest positions of power have mastered eye contact so distinctly and skillfully that I absolutely believe it has helped them achieve their status. Leadership isn’t always about strength, position, or circumstances. Being a great leader starts with looking people in the eye. After all, if you can’t connect with people, you can’t convince people of your beliefs. If you can’t convince people of your beliefs, they won’t follow you. If they won’t follow you, you can’t become a leader. Eye contact matters.”

“The presidents I’d met to date had certainly impressed me. Bill Clinton, for example, really is as charismatic in person as his reputation suggests. He has a way of making you feel singled out even in a crowd. When I met him, I was struck by the sheer intensity of how he seemed to focus on just me. He looks straight at you, zeroing in on you with his eyes, making you feel the full weight of his interest in you and you alone. It’s like being hypnotized. Even if you wanted to resist it, you wouldn’t stand a chance.” 

“Still, you could feel the energy, purpose, and intensity in his eyes.” 

“Obama seemed fully present for our conversation, completely engaged in a way that seemed almost, but not quite, relaxed.” 

“They were completely with mine, not rushing away. He was president of the United States, which meant he was incredibly busy. Yet his eyes signaled to me that he was fully present in the moment, patiently waiting to hear what I had to say.” 

“I got the impression that literally standing shoulder to shoulder was a way for him to connect in a more egalitarian way, even though he was the president.” 

“Taraji is an exception to the rule. As soon as I saw her walk into the room, I knew immediately that she is as big of a presence in real life as her character is on the show. Maybe even more so. She radiated a kind of compelling energy that attracts your attention.” 

“But the pitch starts with the theme at the heart of the story: the struggle for self-realization and the courage to challenge established thinking.” 

“Parenthood, a television series that tells the story of three generations of one family—the Bravermans—living in Berkeley, California, is really about the complexities and idiosyncrasies that exist within all our families. We all look across the street thinking the family over there is perfect, but what we come to realize is that none of them are.” 

“Even before you start to speak, let your eyes initiate the pitch. Be sure to direct your pitch to someone by catching their gaze. If you are pitching to more than one person, as is often the case, look at each person in turn.” 

“If you focus only on the most senior person in the room, others are likely to disengage. Given that the person in charge will usually ask for the opinions of the others in the room after you leave, keeping everyone engaged is highly advisable.” 

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it means to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill 

“I’ve also been able to shed the self-consciousness that plagued me as a kid, which is fortunate given that I now have a career that puts me at the center of attention nearly every day.” 

“it was his outgoing nature and carefree manner that made the difference.” 

“I’m so glad that my dad and Veronica asked me to come up and say flattering things about them . . . in front of three hundred people!” The audience laughed, and Patrick burst into a big smile. He continued to speak slowly and surely, pausing, looking up, and smiling. He was a natural!” 

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” —Dalai Lama 

“Although I knew some about Bono’s work in Africa and around the globe, hearing him talk about it firsthand gave me a new and deeper understanding of its enormous scale. Wow, I thought to myself, this guy is working on a higher purpose, at a higher level with all these governments to help alleviate poverty and AIDS. I was impressed and moved. Even more than that, I was inspired.” 

“Sometimes we need to participate equally in a conversation to make a meaningful connection. But not always. Listening can be just as powerful as talking, if not more, when it comes to establishing a bond with another person. When we are talking with someone, we often spend more time thinking about what we are going to say rather than we do paying attention to what’s being said. Stephen Covey says, “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”18 People feel valued when they are listened to, which fosters feelings of trust and respect. In return, when you give someone your full, undivided attention and show them that you want to hear more . . .” 

“I kept my eyes focused on his and said, “Tell me about them.” I didn’t know anything about Pierre Plantard (a French draftsman whose theories about the Merovingians have been disproven) or anything about any of the other topics Prince was speaking about with such mastery. Yet I was able to hold the connection. With nothing more than my eyes and a few sporadic words of agreement, like “fascinating” and “tell me more,” I kept Prince engaged and the conversation going. Behind me I could feel people getting impatient. I didn’t care. Sage and I still talk about that epic night when one of the greatest artists of all time spent almost ten minutes bonding with me over conspiracy theories!” 

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” —Bruce Lee 

“data that otherwise would have been unavailable to me. Looking into someone’s eyes, I can get a better feel for their emotional state. I can tell when their eyes light up that they are excited about what I am asking or interested in what I am saying. I can tell when they start to shift their eyes away from mine that they are uncomfortable with where things are going or are losing interest. All of these cues help me navigate the conversation and connect.” 

“I became curious about the ultrasecret society of Freemasons; all three of the main characters—Kipling played by Christopher Plummer, a traveling stranger played by Michael Caine, and Daniel Dravot played by Sean Connery—belong to this mysterious brotherhood that was rumored to be a managerial elite that controls the world.19 I wanted to know more. Many different orders and levels of Freemasonry” 

I was honored to be with them and ready to absorb anything they were willing to share. The father proudly explained that Freemasonry (also called “Masonry”) is the world’s first and largest fraternity, based on the belief that each man can make a difference in the world. To this day, the order is (almost) exclusively male, and its ostensible purpose is to make “better men out of good men.”21 He went on to explain that they believe there’s more to life than pleasure or money, and that they strive to live with honor, integrity, and philanthropic values. Intrigued, I asked how the organization got started.” 

“was fascinated by the idea of these historical luminaries devoting themselves to a shared philosophy and a code of conduct so shrouded in mystery that most people didn’t even know it existed. The time flew by as father and son answered my many questions, sometimes in great detail, other times more opaquely (they weren’t sharing everything).” 

“After a good hour, the father turned to me and said, “Brian, would you ever consider joining us, becoming a member of the Masons?” In that moment, the meeting, which had started as a curiosity conversation, turned into something quite different—a proposal. My eyes opened wide in surprise, as though I had just been given an unexpected compliment. I didn’t have to say a word. The look in my eyes and a slight tilt of the head communicated my receptivity to the idea.” 

“He continued, “Well, we’ve talked about it. And we feel you are an excellent candidate. We just have one question we would like to ask you.” “What’s that?” I said. Although I was trying to play it cool, I was super excited. I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to be a member of their secret society! “We need to know if there is any way in which you would ever betray us.” 

“As I considered the situation, I glanced at the two men. In their eyes I found trust and kindness. Getting to know them over the past hour, I felt that they were gentlemen of character. They had given me their full attention, looking at me intently throughout our conversation. They were also impeccable listeners, who expressed appreciation for the recurring themes of human courage and empowerment in my work. In short, they had treated me with the utmost respect. I wanted to reciprocate that and honor the connection we had made. Even though I was flattered and tempted by the invitation to join their very exclusive organization, I knew what I had to say. In my heart I knew that my interest in the group wasn’t fully aligned with their greater purpose. Or my greater purpose. “I’m sorry,” I responded. “But I can’t do it.” 

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” —Albert Einstein 

“I often have conversations—by design—with people whose views and values don’t always align with my own.” 

“His ‘good friend’?” “He teaches Putin martial arts. He just needed to look at you.” Well, that was unusual, I thought to myself. Then again, I did make an entire television series called Lie to Me about a world-famous physiognomist who studies faces to determine whether someone is telling the truth or not. So who was I to judge? And of course it made sense that someone like Putin would want to have me checked out by someone he trusted.” 

“There is a language that is beyond words. If I can learn to decipher that language without words, I will be able to decipher the world.” —Paulo Coelho 

“Unable to sleep, I got out of bed and stared out my hotel room window. Somewhere out there, shrouded in a dense cloud of fog, was Victoria Harbour. As I looked, a form started to emerge—an imposing skyscraper. At that hour, and under those conditions, both the base and top of the building were obscured, but the center of it rose, gleaming, through the mist. Even then, it was a hypnotic, powerful sight. In the morning, after I’d managed a few hours of sleep and the fog had cleared, I took another look. The building was just as stunning as I’d thought. In the clear light of day, I recognized the distinct style of the architect I. M. Pei at work. I also noted how the building completely dominated the skyline.” 

“That’s what the whole discipline of feng shui is about, after all, and that’s what my conversation with the two men—which was barely a conversation at all in the conventional sense—was about too. We spoke with our words but also, more important, with our attention and our intention. Who knows what was “said” in that respect? I believe they understood me better than many people whose English is flawless and with whom I’ve exchanged words by the bucketful.” 

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After all, Mick Jagger knows a thing or two about how to live. Without hesitation he said, “Inle Lake, in Myanmar. Burma.” Well. Now two experienced travelers with impeccable taste were telling me this was the place to go. I figured I had to check it out. Veronica, herself an adventurer (she once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on a whim and had been diving in the Philippines without formal training), loved the idea. She booked the trip the next day, planning it all out with a local travel agent who knew the region extremely well and could ensure an authentic experience. That’s always super important to us when we travel. 

“We embarked on a nine-day journey with Kiki, culminating in a visit to Inle Lake, our long-awaited destination. One of the most stunning lakes in the world, it’s situated in a valley between two mountain ranges. This raw and expansive body of water seemed to reflect the surrounding beauty like glass. Dotted with active villages on stilts and illuminated by Buddhist temples rising from the water, the place was extraordinary. Told that the best way to experience the lake would be by canoe, we chose to travel in a slender, long-tail wooden version used by the locals.” 

“On our final night at Inle Lake, Veronica and I went out on the canoe at sunset to experience the silence and emptiness of this magical place. We lay back and took in the infinite red and gold layers settling over the water. I was feeling emotional thinking about what we had experienced here. Coming from the world of Hollywood where people tend to have complex and, at times, questionable motivations, I was delighted by the transparency and realness of our interactions with the Burmese people.” 

“The Burmese government is aggressively concerned with how their country is presented to outsiders. So becoming a guide is no easy feat. Kiki had to complete a tremendous amount of work and pass a number of difficult tests to do her job. Not unsurprisingly, she was careful in her historical narration. But when she shared personal stories describing her family and their deep connection to the land, Kiki would truly come alive. Through Kiki’s emotional lens, we were able to experience the country in a way we will never forget. With the trip coming to an end, it was time for us to say good-bye to our beloved guide and new friend. Standing on the tarmac, I moved to give Kiki a hug. It was completely instinctual, the kind of affectionate gesture that is the norm for Americans. To my surprise, she stepped away. Still, she kept her eyes trained on my own.” 

“In that moment, I understood: She wasn’t refusing the affection, just the embrace. Kiki explained that people in her culture don’t hug. Instead, during moments of greeting and parting, moments of emotional connection, they look one another in the eyes, because the eyes, Kiki told us, “are the window to the soul.” “We see everything we need to know,” she said, “by looking in each other’s eyes.” 

“(In fact, there’s some science behind the idea that the eyes reveal the depth and authenticity of affection. It was a French physician named Guillaume Duchenne who discovered that the crow’s-feet that accompany a genuine smile are controlled by muscles that cannot be moved voluntarily. Only a genuine smile will reveal those creases around the corners of the eyes.)” 

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than to your comfort zone.” —Billy Cox 

Overall, Brian Glazer is a master at relationship building. He is can read people and through countless thousands of hours of interviewing people. He has perfected the craft of getting to know someone and being able to build deeper authentic relationships with his business partners.


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Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills

People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.


Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.

It was hell.

After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.

Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.

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