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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Paperback – 1 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Rev. Ed., 1st Collins Business Essentials Ed edition (1 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006124189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061241895
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


For marketers, this book is among the most important books written in the last ten years. (Journal of Mariketing Research)

Influence should be required reading for all business majors. (Journal of Retailing)

This book will strike chords deep in the hearts and psyches of all of us. (Best Sellers Magazine)

The material in Cialdini’s Influence is a proverbial gold mine. (Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology)

About the Author

Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. holds dual appointments at Arizona State University. He is a W. P. Carey Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Regents' Professor of Psychology, and has been named Distinguished Graduate Research Professor. Dr. Cialdini is also president of Influence At Work, an international training and consulting company based on his groundbreaking body of research on the ethical business applications of the science of influence.

Inside This Book

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I GOT A PHONE CALL ONE DAY FROM A FRIEND WHO HAD RECENTLY opened an Indian jewelry store in Arizona. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

166 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 May 2004
Format: Paperback
The human mind is a wonderful thing, capable of the most wonderful thought processes and ideas. Yet the brain is on automatic pilot for most situations. That allows the conscious mind to really focus. The drawback is that some people will use our conscious inattention to sneak one by us, like a fastball pitch to a hitter looking for a change-up.
Influence, the book, is very useful in this regard, because it uses interesting examples to help us be aware of our own tendency to let automatic pilot thinking take over.
Since I first read this book many years ago, I have been watching to see if the circumstances I see support or invalidate Professor Cialdini's points. By a margin of about 9 to 1, Cialdini wins.
Given that we are easily manipulated by our desire to be and to appear to be consistent with our past actions and statements, swayed by what the crowd is doing, and various other mechanisms, the only way we can be armed against unscrupulous marketing is to be as aware of these factors are the marketers are.
At the same time, I appreciated how the book explores the ethics of when and how much to apply these principles. Without this discussion, the book would come off like Machiavelli's, The Prince, for marketing organizations. That would have been a shame. By dealing with the ethics, Professor Cialdini creates the opportunity to educate us intellectually and morally. Well done!
I have read literally dozens of books about marketing and selling, and I find this one to be the most helpful in thinking about how influence actually works. Even if you will never work in marketing, you will benefit from reading this book in order to better focus your purchases and actions where they fit your needs rather than someone else's.
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131 of 141 people found the following review helpful By William Cohen VINE VOICE on 28 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been entertaining my friends at dinner parties with this book. Cialdini, who admits to being a bit of a sucker himself, shows all the ways we've been manipulated over the years by small gestures and situations contrived by salesmen.

There are so many good stories. The one about Joe Girard, a car salesman who sends out each month 13,000 cards every month to former customers with a card saying, "I like you". Surely people wouldn't fall for that? Yes they do, he made more than $200,000 a year selling cars. He's in the Guinness Book of Records.

There's the story of how the Chinese got the American prisoners in the Korean War to betray their country by setting them essay questions. There's accounts of the trouble we can get into when we insist on being consistent or make a vague commitment to supporting a cause.

Cialdini exposes loads of sales techniques and has some fascinating insights into what motivates us.

As a self-employed person I'm really grateful for this knowledge. This is a book that everyone should read.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Dil Sidhu on 6 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I first read an excerpt of Dr Cialdini's book in a Harvard Business Review article and it was one of the few times I actually bought the book on the same day. The six universal principles of influence and persuasion are superb in their brevity and ability to work in a wide variety of situations. With Dr Cialdini backing up his writings with 50 years of social science research (not to mention his own 3 year investment of time to learn the trade secrets of many organisations, both private sector and public sector) it makes learning and using the principles of persuasion systematic and not dependant on being 'a born sales person or natural influencer'. A fantastic read with plenty of anecdotes (backed up by research) and uses. If you buy one book on the subject of Influence and Persuasion - make it this one!. Also, for reader's interest the book has been translated into a two-day workshop on how to best utilise the 6 principles of influence and persuasion and are run by Dr Cialdini's outfit called Influence At Work - they have a US and UK presence. Good reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A.Warsama on 18 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've ever been pressured into buying something then wondered with a sinking feeling "what on earth compelled me to do that?", look to this book. Robert Cialdini explains six "weapons of influence" (reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity) that we employ automatically in compliance decisions. I feel like each of these is obvious to a good degree, though some of their uses are so subtle that I could easily be duped. While I was familiar with several of the cited studies, many of the anecdotes were entertaining and revealing, and I liked how the author discussed them in more than just the most obvious light. The writing verged on repetitive, some examples seemed dated, and by the end I was tired of hearing the click, whirr analogy of a tape being cued, but overall, this book has made me a more conscientious consumer.

(Not sure if I will take the author's advice and wage active battle against those that deceptively exploit our psychological decision-making reflexes. I feel like that would just make me go crazy on car salesmen.)
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126 of 140 people found the following review helpful By tomsk77 on 10 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for two reasons - one to make myself more alert to sales techniques, and two to see if there are any useful insights to glean that could be applied to other areas of life.

On both counts the book delivers. Having recently been pitched to at work by a media tracking agency and nearly taken the bait (didn't in the end) I immediately recognised the use of reciprocity and scarcity to try and harry me into signing up. That alone was worth buying the book for, and I will definitely use that insight in future.

In addition, the chapter on consistency is also very useful. I've been involved in trying (and failing) to get people behind certain campaigns in the past. As such the discussion about getting people to make small commitments to establish a self image which they then feel the need to act consistently with both rang true on a personal level, and seems like something worth trying out in future.

So why only three stars? For one I did not find elements of the book convincing. The section dealing with newspaper coverage of suicides is the bit that really troubles me. Some of the data seems both to be limited and have been interpreted quite loosely. I would need a lot more convincing that the stats are being interpreted reasonably, it looks far too rough and ready. Given that this book is really about behavioural biases surely it should be extra careful about interpretaion of data as this is something we humans tend to be very bad at, always looking for patterns that aren't there and so on. That then leads me to query the hypothesis built on top of the data and to be honest I find myself not buying it. That also makes me query whether other chapters suffer from similar flaws.
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