Your Palmistry Education – What’s out there…

People ask, “How can I learn to read hands?” “Do you have a book?” “Why haven’t you written a book?” I make excuses for procrastinating. Here are some of my favorites: I hate generalizing, I love my anonymity, I refuse to be on the bottom corner shelf of the astrology section in bookstores, I won’t waste trees, Does the world really need another middle class Jewish self-help guru?

The science and art of palmistry is older than the pyramids yet few people understand its true value. Reading character from the hands was first recorded in Vedic India about 3500 B.C. Chaldeans read hands in 1100 B.C. Hand reading spread to Greece and China. Aristotle wrote the first Western scientific treatise on reading character from the hands in 330 B.C. Aristotle’s work inspired Dr. William Benham, a reformed skeptic who became the father of modern palmistry. Putnam Press published The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading in 1900. Considered the bible of western palmistry by most reputable hand readers, it’s 650 pages long, dated, didactic in style, male chauvinistic in tone, and limited in scope. The Benham Book of Palmistry is its current incarnation. Rated the #1 palmistry book by palmists around the world, it’s among Amazon’s best selling palmistry books with a sales rank of 589,360. It’s still worth reading, especially the first section on “Mounts of the hands”. Modern palmistry writers still continue to tweak and update unoriginal translations of Dr. Benham’s work in unexciting ways.

The most famous palmist of all time was Cheiro. Born in Ireland as William John Warner in the mid 19th century, Cheiro called himself Count Louis Hamon, claiming noble ancestry that may or may not be true. His stage name, Cheiro, comes fromChiromancy, the Science and Art of Palmistry. He was clairvoyant and used palmistry, astrology, and Chaldean numerology, to make surprisingly accurate predictions (mostly from astrology and numerology), including major world events. Cheiro predicted the date of Queen Victoria’s death, the year and month when King Edward VII would pass away, a grim destiny that awaited the Czar of Russia, the assassination of King Humbert of Italy, and the attempt on the Shah’s life in Paris. Mark Twain wrote in Cheiro’s visitor’s book: “Cheiro has exposed my character to me with humiliating accuracy. I ought not to confess this accuracy, still I am moved to do so”.

Many editions of Cheiro’s books are still in print today in both English and foreign language editions and are available through major chains like Barnes and Noble and They include his astrology book, When Were You Born?; Palmistry, The Language of the Hand (first self-published in 1897); Cheiro’s Book of Numbers;Cheiro’s Book of World Predictions; and Cheiro’s Palmistry for All (rated #10 among palmists, available from Amazon – sales rank 1,681,713). My personal favorite,Confessions: Memoirs of a Modern Seer is out of print.

Cheiro was a sensational self-aggrandizing storyteller, which made his books especially fun to read. He always had plenty of juicy celebrity gossip to share, attracting many fans. Palmistry writings in Cheiro’s time were mainly didactic and fatalistic. His content was exciting and fun, but imprecise. Many of his interpretations are blurred because he combined so many different metaphysical systems to make his assumptions and predictions. If Cheiro had been alive in an age of TV, radio, and internet, he’d be a household name. His final years were spent in Hollywood, screenwriting, and seeing over 20 clients a day until his death in 1936.

The Art of Hand Reading by Lori Reid (DK publishing) is a book I often recommend. Ranked # 4 by palmists – Amazon (Sales Rank 99,171), the 8 ½ X 11 hardcover version is a high quality beautifully illustrated book. It’s well organized and in my opinion, the best of the palmistry cookbooks. Lori organizes information mostly by features in the hand. She devotes 26 pages at the end to “Applied Hand Analysis”.  While I don’t agree with some of Lori’s interpretations, I applaud her efforts.

Best selling palmistry authors are not necessarily great counselors. A majority of palmistry authors are writers first, then palmists. Nat Altman has published six palmistry books including the Palmistry Workbook. Nat also writes about food, water, environment and other subjects. Nat’s a nice guy. In my opinion, he’s better than most palmistry writers, although, I find his palmistry text dry and humorless. Richard Webster is another popular palmistry author. Three of his books rank in the top fifty among palmists. His palmistry books are mediocre at best in my opinion.

There are plenty of palmistry books out there. If you’re an astrologer, I recommend anything by Fred Gettings. His Palmistry Made Easy is ranked 959,475 on Amazon and is available used for $.71, a worthwhile purchase. Judith Hipskind is another author worth reading.  She has two books in the top 50 as rated by palmists. You can pick them up at Amazon for $.01 (plus shipping), an incredible bargain. The most useful website that I have found for palmistry is

Hand Psychology by Andrew Fitzherbert is my favorite modern palmistry book. It’s tightly organized and the authenticity of Andrew’s interpretations makes it an interesting read. Rated # 5 by palmists, on Amazon’s best selling  books list it’s ranked 793,642. I believe Andrew is one of a very few truly master palmists in the world. He approaches his clients and writing from a problem solving point of view. Many palmists are good at pointing out challenges, but they have no clue what to do with them. Some topics that Andrew has chosen to focus on are how to deal with difficult people, how to break a smoking habit, and how to solve employment problems. Andrew is serving a life sentence in a penitentiary in Australia for committing a gruesome murder for which he was convicted. I wonder if he saw that in his hands?


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About markseltman

Over the past thirty-five years, I've read tens of thousands of hands of people of every age, gender, race, color, size, shape, career, and socio-economic diversity. I've examined the hands of celebrities, billionaires, corporate executives, and the people who work for them. I've been in charge of the psychics at special events like the massive Bloomberg Company picnic on Randall’s Island and have worked at the Mayor’s country home and at Gracie Mansion. I've been a hand reader at PR events and family gatherings for the King of PR, Howard Rubenstein. I was the hand reader at Harvey Weinstein’s spectacular wedding. I've also read the hands of Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, Star Jones, Kevin Kline, Kyra Sedgwick, Barbara Corcoran, Dave Brubeck, and Maurice Sendak, along with numerous other celebrities and their families. I've also examined hundreds of criminally insane people’s hands at a forensic psychiatric hospital in New York City over a two-year period. I've appeared on ABC The View, CBS Martha Stewart Living, CBS Evening News, FOX Good Day NY, Lifetime TV, Queens, NPR and WNYC. I've been featured in the NY Times, NY Newsday, The Daily News, The Village Voice, New York Magazine, INSTYLE Magazine, Family Circle, Modern Bride, Manhattan User’s Guide, and other periodicals. Because of my credentials in design and technology as well as my extensive experience with public appearances on television, radio, and in the print media, I'm uniquely qualified to promote palmistry. I offer five-minute reflections at special events, counsel countless couples, raise funds for diverse causes such as AIDS, Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Schizophrenia, Arts Education, and the Environment. I taught Metaphysics 101 at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC for five years and have also spoken, offered workshops, and taught classes at the New York Open Center, Learning Annex, Source of Life Center, Hunter College, Pace University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Marymount Manhattan College, Theosophical Society, East West Bookstore, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and The National Design Museum in NYC. I also have a private practice with over 1,000 clients.