Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say "yes"—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has...

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Title:Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Author:Robert B. Cialdini
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Edition Language:English

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Reviews

  • Sundeep

    Summary: This book can’t be summarized. It can only be very, very strongly recommended.

    Recommended? YES. Buy it now if you haven’t read it.

    Table of contents:

    1 Weapons of Influence

    2 Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take…and Take

    3 Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

    4 Social Proof: Truths Are Us

    5 Liking: The Friendly Thief

    6 Authority: Directed Deference

    7 Scarcity: The Rule of the Few

    Notes:

    Below are my key takeaways and some interesting points, but I’m telling you. Buy it. Read it. Tru

    Summary: This book can’t be summarized. It can only be very, very strongly recommended.

    Recommended? YES. Buy it now if you haven’t read it.

    Table of contents:

    1 Weapons of Influence

    2 Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take…and Take

    3 Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

    4 Social Proof: Truths Are Us

    5 Liking: The Friendly Thief

    6 Authority: Directed Deference

    7 Scarcity: The Rule of the Few

    Notes:

    Below are my key takeaways and some interesting points, but I’m telling you. Buy it. Read it. Trust me.

    * Expensive implies quality. Example: gems in a jewel case that weren’t selling were marked up and then sold at a “discount” to the markup (a price higher than the original price), and they sold like hotcakes.

    * Power of contrast. Example: If you go into a men’s store they’ll try and sell you an expensive suit before the sell you the expensive sweater, because the contrast makes the sweater appear more affordable.

    * Reciprocity. Example: If someone buys you something (say, a Coke), you’re more likely to by something from them (say, raffle tickets).

    * Concession. Example: If someone tries to sell you something and you pass (say $5 of $1 raffle tickets), they’ll try and sell you something less that you’ll end up buying because you feel bad (1 $1 raffle ticket). Another term used here is “reject then retreat.”

    * Commitment leads to consistency leads to collaboration. Example: During the Korean war, the Chinese got American soldiers to make public commitments of various things. Then they made those commitments even more public, which the American soldiers had to stand by to be consistent. That consistency then led them down a path of minor forms of collaboration – without them really thinking about it as such.

    * Writing something down, even privately, strengthens your commitment to something.

    * People like and believe in commitment because their image and reputation is on the line (ie the Chinese concentration camp example above).

    * People like more what they struggle to get, even if it’s not that good. Example: frats (hey, it’s in the book, don’t hate the messenger).

    * People like to feel they have control over a decision – even if they really don’t.

    * The power of social proof, or the idea that if others do it it’s good. Example: introverted pre-schoolers who saw introverted kids become social in a movie were more inclined to go play. Another example: cults. People follow the crowd because they believe in the “wisdom” of the crowd.

    * Convince and you shall be convinced. Example: cults, where people who convince or convert others become more convinced (that’s why so many are evangelical).

    * Assign responsibility if you want things done. Example: a stabbing that took place over many minutes had 38 witnesses…it happened cause everyone figured someone else would call the police.

    * The power of copycats that’ll play on social proof. Example: if you find a wallet of someone like you and you’re more likely to return it (it’s true). Another (scary) example: more suicides when the press publicizes a suicide…more fatal “accidents” too.

    * Liking is an important part of influence. Attractiveness, similarity (identity and context), compliments, contact & cooperation all can make someone more influential.

    * The reason good cop/bad cop works is because the subject feels someone is on their side.

    * Associations are powerful. Bearers of good news get treated well, and bad news get treated poorly. Examples: weathermen (or Roman messengers reporting lost battles!)

    * People tend to defer to authority/experts. Examples: experiments involving shock therapy where people listened to a guy in a lab coat to inflict pain on another human being (incredible how strong this is).

    * The power of connotations and context over content, and how it can imply authority. Titles and clothing do this.

    * Gaining trust. Example: a waiter who advises against a more expensive item early in the meal will gain the trust of everyone at the table, and then he can suggest more expensive items and more items through the course of the meal.

    * Scarcity is powerful. There’s a psychological reaction…people don’t want to lose their freedom, and don’t want to lose. This plays to a second point: competition. Invite 3 used car buyers at the same time and you’ll sell the car faster. A cookie is more attractive if there are two of them than if there are 10 of them. (Always as yourself when something is scarce: will the cookie taste as good if there are 10 of them?). Plus, if you saw that the number went from 10 to 2, you want it even more. It can even lead to revolt…when something is given and then taken away, people get mad; if something is never given at all, they don’t know what they’re missing.

    * “It appears that commitments are most effective in changing a person’s self-image and future behavior when they are active, public, and effortful.”

    * “The most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favor.”

    * “Social proof is most powerful for those who feel unfamiliar or unsure in a specific situation and who, consequently, must look outside of themselves for evidence of how to best behave there.”

  • Mark Cheverton

    Required reading for all marketing professionals. The book details the most common approaches to influencing the decisions of others, backed up by the authors time spent infiltrating direct marketing companies and the like. Offers handy hints on how to spot when you're being manipulated and how to handle it.

    A very enjoyable read, should leave you much more aware of how you're being played next time you're in the market for a used car.

  • Abubakar Mehdi

    A couple of months ago, I read somewhere that when it comes to the psychology of persuasion and influence, Cialdini is the “daddy” of this subject. I chuckled and moved on. But then, a few days ago I found myself in a bookstore holding this book and heading to the counter. I came back home, and devoured it chapter by chapter, awestruck and flabbergasted by the sheer brilliance of the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini is no novice, apart from being an academic scholar and researcher who conducte

    A couple of months ago, I read somewhere that when it comes to the psychology of persuasion and influence, Cialdini is the “daddy” of this subject. I chuckled and moved on. But then, a few days ago I found myself in a bookstore holding this book and heading to the counter. I came back home, and devoured it chapter by chapter, awestruck and flabbergasted by the sheer brilliance of the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini is no novice, apart from being an academic scholar and researcher who conducted innumerable experiments over the course of his career; He spent three years, in field, researching for this book. He entered into programs offered by different business enterprises and marketing agencies to train sales staff and dealers in ‘the art of persuasion’. Cialdini explains the science at work behind the curtains of this ‘art show’ in this book.

    We live in a consumer society. Our markets survive and thrive on mass consumption of products that are neither necessities nor luxury, but still they find their way to our homes right through our pockets. Why and how it happens, how we are convinced and persuaded to do something we really don’t need or want to do? Why in certain situations we are unable to fight the temptation to buy something we have no use of? How exactly do we fall for these marketing gimmicks? This book has the answer.

    For our convenience, our brain has evolved some fixed-action patterns, patterns that we follow almost blindly without any recourse to reason or logic. Why we do this? Because our brain has been programmed this way and because by doing this we don’t have to think too hard, it seems natural and effortless, almost as if it is the most obvious and right thing to do. This ‘shortcut’ of ours is exploited, almost everyday by people who are trying to sell us something.

    Cialdini repeatedly uses the term ‘click, whirr’, which explains our behavior patterns when we encounter a situation for which we have a ‘programmed reaction’. What the situation does is that it appeals to our conscious mind with a red-flag-signal. A file is ‘clicked open’ as a result, and ‘whirr’… out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors.

    The other important principles that marketing agents employ to get our assent are: Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Friendliness, Authority and Scarcity.

    These are the shortcuts our brain is evolved to rely upon for making quick smart decisions, and it is by manipulating these very ‘click, whirr’ responses that we are compelled to say yes, even when we don’t want or need to.

    The synthesis of his entire research has been divided and assembled in 7 chapters. Each chapter explaining, through case studies, social experiments, research and psychological analysis of human behavior, different methods and tact with which we are convinced to do or not do a certain thing.

    This book has a lot in common with Daniel Kahnemans’ “Thinking, fast and slow” which is one of my favorite books of all time. I highly recommend these two books to anyone who is interested in behavioral psychology.

  • John

    Not a runaway train of rapturousness like 1776, Moneyball, or Outliers but like Anna Karenina it seems to encompass all of life and address all of life's important issues.

    I would recommend this to anyone and will definitely listen to it again.

    I tired one of his techniques on a colleague I had been chasing for week and it worked like a charm within an hour, so 1 for 1.

  • imane

    ممتع ممتع ممتع لم استمتع بقراءة كتاب هكذا منذ مدة طويلة. لدى الانسان كما لدى الحيوان اليات استجابة تلقائية تجعله بدون تفكير يتصرف بطريقة معينة كرد فعل. وهذا يجعل المستغلين والملاعبين يستخدمون هذه الاليات لتحقيق الربح المادي او لتحقيق مصالحهم. وهذه الاليات هي

    -قانون التبادل. الانسان كائن اجتماعي يتبادل الخدمات والمساعدات مع الاخرين. لكن المشكل يكمن عندما تقدم له هدية او مساعدة هو ليس بحاجة لها لاشعاره

    انه مدين للاخر. وهذا يجعله يوافق على طلبات كان سيرفضها في حالته الطبيعية دون تاثير الدين

    -قانون ال

    ممتع ممتع ممتع لم استمتع بقراءة كتاب هكذا منذ مدة طويلة. لدى الانسان كما لدى الحيوان اليات استجابة تلقائية تجعله بدون تفكير يتصرف بطريقة معينة كرد فعل. وهذا يجعل المستغلين والملاعبين يستخدمون هذه الاليات لتحقيق الربح المادي او لتحقيق مصالحهم. وهذه الاليات هي

    -قانون التبادل. الانسان كائن اجتماعي يتبادل الخدمات والمساعدات مع الاخرين. لكن المشكل يكمن عندما تقدم له هدية او مساعدة هو ليس بحاجة لها لاشعاره

    انه مدين للاخر. وهذا يجعله يوافق على طلبات كان سيرفضها في حالته الطبيعية دون تاثير الدين

    -قانون التباين. كل شيء غال هو جيد/ جمال امراة عادية يبدو باهثا امام عارضات الازياء ومعايير الجمال الذي يتم ترويجه في الاعلام/ البائع يجب ان يعرض على المشتري السلعة الغالية اولا ثم السلع الرخيصة لانه في حالة العكس ستبدو السلعة الاعلى ثمنا جد جد جد غالية

    -قانون التنازل. رفضك للطلب الاول لاحدهم يجعلك بدون ارادتك تقبل طلبه الثاني الذي هو في حقيقة الامر الطلب المقصود

    -قانون الثبات. الانسان لكي يظهر امام الاخرين بمنظر السوي الذي يمكن الوثوق به يجب ان يبقى ثابتا على مبادئه وافكاره وقراراته لكي لا يظهر بمظهر المشتت المجنون المزاجي المتقلب. وهنا المتلاعب يستغل ذلك لصالحه حيث يرمي له كرة منخفضة ويجعله يتخد قرارا غير مناسبا وعندما يكتشف ذلك يكون قد فات الاوان للتراجع

    -البرهان الاجتماعي من الصعب التفكير في كل شيء لذا فان اغلب الاشخاص مقلدون وليس مبدعون. واتباع ما يقوم به الاخرون يعطي شعورا بالامان ان تسلك طريقا يسلكه الجميع يعني انه الطريق الصحيح. وهذا يستخدمه المستغل عندما يجعلك تظن ان هناك رواجا واقبالا على منتوج ما

    -قانون المحبة. مهما حاولنا الانكار جمال الشكل يؤثر على طريقة تصرفنا. فالجميل يبدو اكثر صدقا اكثر لطفا اكثر ذكاء اكثر جاذبية لذا بدون ارادتنا نحبه اكثر نتعاطف معه اكثر ونساعده اكثر... نحن لا نحب من يختلف معنا نحب من يشبهنا من يشاركنا اهتماماتنا واذواقنا وافكارنا الدينية والسياسية...مهما قلنا اننا لا نحب النفاق فنحن في واقع الامر نحب المديح والاطراء والشعور باننا محط اعجاب الاخرين واهتمامهم... نحن نحب ان نربط انفسنا بالفائزين دوما ولا نحب الخاسرين وهذا يسمى مبدا الترافق مثلا عندما يربح فريق كرة قدم وطنك فهذا يشعرك بالافتخار ويعزز شعور الانتماء لديك كانك انت من ربحت فالانسان يربط نفسه بوطنه وعائلته وقبيلته... / مثال اخر اعلان سيارة معها عارضة جميلة تلقى اهتماما اكبر من اعلان سيارة بدون عارضة... هذا يجعل المستغلين

    يستخدمون اشخاص شكلهم جميل لترويج سلعهم واشخاص يشبهون المستهلك المستهدف

    -قانون السلطة. نحن نخضع للسلطة منذ طفولتنا المدرسة ثم نكبر فنخضع لسلطة الطبيب والمحامي والاستاذ هذا يعطل ملكات التفكير ويجعلنا نخضع للاوامر. لذا في الاعلانات قد يستخدمون ممثلا يلعب دور طبيب لكي يثبت فائدة منتوج معين

    -قانون الندرة. كلما قل تواجد شيء زادت قيمته حتى لو كان طابع بريدي بدون فائدة وكلما زادت المنافسة على منتوج زاد الاقبال عليه وكلما وجدت مصاعب ومشاكل للحصول على شخص نحبه كبر في اعيننا وكلما تم حظر معلومة زادت الرغبة في الوصول اليها. كل هذا يستعمل كوسيلة لترويج السلع

    ...

  • Jerry

    I put this book under "dangerous knowledge." Cialdini, still a top consultant in this field, has a tiny disclaimer at the end of the book saying how he's aware that this knowledge could be misused, but doesn't go much further.

    I see this stuff abused all the time, to spin democracies to go to war, to sell us products and services we don't really need and much, much more.

    I've been wanting to start an ethics institute around this topic. Interested? Write me!

  • Gina Grone

    I don't understand why so many people rated this book so highly.

    --It panders to the audience by using overly simple language and repeating the same idea 5 times to make sure that the reader really understood. Example (from memory): "People are heavily influenced by society. Society shapes our choices. Our choices are influenced by the people around us. There are countless examples of one's choices being swayed by his or her peers." Thanks, I got it the first time.

    --The first and second "weapons

    I don't understand why so many people rated this book so highly.

    --It panders to the audience by using overly simple language and repeating the same idea 5 times to make sure that the reader really understood. Example (from memory): "People are heavily influenced by society. Society shapes our choices. Our choices are influenced by the people around us. There are countless examples of one's choices being swayed by his or her peers." Thanks, I got it the first time.

    --The first and second "weapons of influence" were interesting and thought-provoking. Reciprocity and consistency. The third to sixth weapons were just plain obvious. Social proof, i.e. a group's preference influences your own? No shit. Liking, i.e. someone similar to be more persuasive to you? OK, obvious. Authority, i.e. power leads to persuasive ability? [sarcastic] Wow! Scarcity, i.e. perceiving scarcity leads to increased desire of a resource? Mildly surprising.

    --The author must have read about the device of repetition just before writing this book and used the book for practice. The amount of times that he used "click, whirr" to illustrate the metaphor or playing a tape in our heads to produce automatic action made me want to scream! (Also, cassette tapes were out of style by the time I was in high school...)

    --His choice phrase for people who consciously used these "weapons of influence" were ... wait for it ... "COMPLIANCE PRACTITIONERS"!!! Just call them "influencers" or something less vomit-inducing, buddy.

    --The author "updated" the edition for the printing in 2007. He should have just done a reprint with a new foreword or something, because the result of the update is a total failure. 90% of the references are still from the mid-80's or before. A discussion about the future of communicating with computer has one puny line added to it about how everyone uses the Internet now.

    To be fair, some of the conclusions drawn and the research presented were very interesting. But the feel of the writing was so juvenile and repetitive that I can't recommend this book to anyone. I'm sure there are much better books on the topic.

  • Shishir

    Six "weapons of influence"

    1)Reciprocation - People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.

    2)Commitment and Consistency - I

    Six "weapons of influence"

    1)Reciprocation - People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.

    2)Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. See cognitive dissonance.

    3)Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.

    4)Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents, such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.

    5)Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.

    6)Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.

  • Pouting Always

    Another one of those business books where it's a good read if you haven't read any others from the same genre but with the same basically formula where they keep repeating information that can be condensed down into a few pages and which every other business book will tell you but of course they'll rephrase it. If you haven't ever thought much about the influence of the way you talk to people and vice versa I'm sure this can be very eye opening. If you're pretty self aware or have contemplated h

    Another one of those business books where it's a good read if you haven't read any others from the same genre but with the same basically formula where they keep repeating information that can be condensed down into a few pages and which every other business book will tell you but of course they'll rephrase it. If you haven't ever thought much about the influence of the way you talk to people and vice versa I'm sure this can be very eye opening. If you're pretty self aware or have contemplated how difference in you behavior can affect that of others then you're going to just find most of the things in these books to be obvious.

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