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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of interesting insight into human behavior
I tend to carry a lot of pessimism into a book such as this, partly because I'm exceedingly individualistic, partly because I consider the vast amount of sociological self-help books to be pure hokum, and partly because I know that I am personally way too messed up in the head to be radically "improved" by the contents of a single book. I also have a latent fear that a...
Published on 15 Oct 2007 by Daniel Jolley

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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
This book claims to show anyone how to be an "Influencer" capable of changing anything for the better. Influencers achieve their desired results through academic study of the problem and utilization six "sources of influence" which are personal, social, and structural motivation and ability.

These are pretty common sense elements of change; I don't think the...
Published on 20 Sep 2007 by Kona


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of interesting insight into human behavior, 15 Oct 2007
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
I tend to carry a lot of pessimism into a book such as this, partly because I'm exceedingly individualistic, partly because I consider the vast amount of sociological self-help books to be pure hokum, and partly because I know that I am personally way too messed up in the head to be radically "improved" by the contents of a single book. I also have a latent fear that a book such as this is somehow going to be a manifestation of that infernal Who Moved My Cheese? book. Believe it or not, however, I found Influencer to be a valuable read, as it provides a lot of fascinating insight into the workings of the human mind. Whether you call it motivation or manipulation, it is the authors' contention that you can change virtually anything by understanding and implementing the types of techniques and strategies they identify and expound upon in this book.

To be a true "influencer," you have to change your way of thinking, according to the authors. The real secret is not to concentrate on producing the outcome you desire; instead, you must target the behaviors responsible for producing that output. You absolutely have to change behavior patterns in order to yield the results you are after. It takes work, experimentation, etc., but baby steps in the right direction can ultimately lead to giant leaps in virtually any aspect of life, not just business. The authors identify and discuss six sources of influence which you must address in order to bring about and sustain comprehensive change. Success requires deliberate practice, a lot of honest feedback, the setting of mini-goals along the way to keep people motivated, flexibility and mutual collaboration, etc. There really are no magic formulas here; the influence strategy you ultimately adopt must be personalized and comprehensive if you are to succeed. If you don't truly understand the behavior in question or you try to pick and choose between different sources of influence, you will most likely fail in your endeavors.

The authors do a good job of showing why the most simplistic agents of change do not work very well at all. You don't have to be the parent of a teenager to know that lectures rarely yield the desired results. The more you yell and threaten, the less likely you are to get what you want. On the other hand, you would think that incentives and rewards for desired behavior would work well, but the authors show how this strategy can also backfire. So how do you enable these all-important behaviors and forge a workable strategy? The authors boil it down to three things: improving personal mastery through deliberate practice, working with others to build personal capital, and changing the environment. It is amazing how you can influence human behavior just by making even the smallest of changes inside a person's environment. For example, I know that complaints about the slowness of a certain business software program declined significantly after the words "Please Wait" were replaced by "Processing." The program wasn't one bit faster than it used to be, but people thought it was simply because it was no longer prompting them to wait. The authors pack this book full of even more telling examples than this, offering empirical evidence for every recommendation they endorse.

This book hasn't radically changed my life, but it has given me a lot to think about. I would definitely recommend it to a wide range of readers, as it is more of an idea book than a practical guide aimed at a specific audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars providing hope and tools, 21 May 2010
By 
E. Smakman (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
A book that starts with the subtitle 'the power to change anything' provokes immediate cynicism. Who could ever claim this? However, the authors in my opinion manage to fulfill their promise. Not through providing some cheesy tools or idealism (be good and you will receive good), but by showing how people's backgrounds and context determine why they behave as they do and what can be done to change this.

This change is not easy, as it requires trying out of what works and what does not. But the book provides a framework for the efforts you can apply to change things (for better or worse). The framework is as follows:
1. focus on changing behavior, not on changing results (results follow, but cannot be influenced)
2. work on both motivation (is it worth behaving in a new way, the 'why') and ability (am I able to do this, the 'how')
3. work on 3 levels: personal/individual - group/social - structural/systemic

This framework can be used both as a diagnosis tool to understand current behavior, as well as a tool for directing change efforts.

Apart from the framework, the book provides wonderful stories about successful major change (Delancey Street Foundation as the biggest miracle work for me), and insights into what works and what does not. Pivotal for me is that working on personal ability - through purposeful practice - can give an enormous boost to the right behavior. And it is so much easier than trying to improve motivation.

I recommend all people to read this book as these insights work in business, society and private life.
And most of all it provides hope that, indeed, (almost) anything can be changed for the better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful tools for bringing about lasting change, 26 July 2013
Whether you are a head of state, chief executive, leader or manager, mum or dad, husband or wife, this book helps you develop the one of the most fundamental skills you need: Influence. Without the ability to influence others' behaviour in lasting ways, our lives (personal and professional) are far more challenging, less rewarding and less successful that we want, or deserve.

Influencer provides an incredibly simple, yet really powerful, approach to influencing others. It provides fascinating examples from all walks of life on how others have used the principles to bring about change in others behaviour in ways that many of us think we can only dream about. The point is... It doesn't have to be a dream if you take on board the techniques outlined in this book.

You can read the book cover to cover, or just dive into any chapter, and I'm sure to you will find insights and principles that you can start using straight away to help you in your influence journey.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New techniques for changing behavior, 18 Jan 2008
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
This book is a joy, and, as the authors no doubt intended, an inspiration. Often, those who try to create change over the long term give up and become resigned to the way things are. Into this stable situation come five authors - Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler - full of optimism, examples and, best of all, practical techniques you can use right away to create change. It would be easy to say the book is too optimistic, or that it claims too much is possible, but some of its examples show the success of sweeping, ambitious changes. Instead of clinging to a dour but "realistic" view of the world, they invite you to re-examine your influence strategies and analyze your environment for new clues, whether you are trying to change yourself or your employees. The social possibilities are exciting. We recommend this book to anyone who is trying to create social change, and especially people who are open-minded and at ease with new ideas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent to reassess existing preconceptions, 3 Feb 2014
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I fount it very useful . I made lots of notes as I was reading. It breaks down nicely a number of aspects that affect motivation. It's here easy to read and very factual based.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful, 18 Nov 2010
By 
The Emperor (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
A very useful book on how to bring about change in organisations.
There are lots of interesting anecdotes and examples throughout.
It does provide a good framework. You can use it for making personal changes but it is probably more suited to organisations.
It is well written but could on occasion be a little superficial and glib. However I still learned a lot from it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social science gems you might be able to apply, 6 Nov 2007
This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
Some examples, some methods, some references, but you'll still need your own creativity. If constructive change were that easy, would the world be in the shape it is in.

So what you won't find here is mention of Latin American socialist solutions that are not in progress in many nations there. A harmless omission or a conflict of interest for a training company that does a lot of work with the Fortune 500? Or any mention of the problems of sustainability of resources worldwide along with global warming? Great challenges but perhaps not the best thing to present to multi-national corporation trainees at this time. Instead learn about ex-cons, African villagers, and phobics. Or productivity problems with American workers. Are the authors steering readers to some extent in the kinds of changes to consider? But the social science findings do lend themselves to use by socialists ... and even union workers. Unfortunately, those with the influence and leverage to make things happen in the world seem as likely to start the Iraqi conflict as to seek nuclear arm disarmerment: something we need to work toward. A great place to influence the world right now would seem to work toward preventing nuclear disaster, which hangs over us, as can be studied in Looking for Square Two: Moving from War and Organized Violence to Global Community

The research is good and if you, like me, haven't followed the social sciences closely you can learn some and get good references to follow up with. Alberto Bandura (cognitive psychology), Miguel Sabido (Mexican TV producer), Mimi Silbert (Delaney rehabilitation of convicts), Don Hopkins and Kelly Callahan (Carter Center) on the amazing approaching near eradication world-wide of the guinea worm, Ethan Reid (identifying vital behaviors), Dr. Berwick (preventing medical mistakes) ... these and more with excellent examples. Methods to turn to like looking for positive deviance, constructing vicarious experiences, identifying vital behaviors, and noting recovery behaviors. There's a good deal here.

Personally I would have wished for someone else to have written it all up. The tone tends to be dogmatic and like a car salesman's hard sell, which seems needless given that the material presented is itself so compelling.

So who will apply the lessons of this book. Will it be corporate leaders who may force it on employees? Or via such leaders social scientists whose research may not be used for humanistic purposes? That's the rub. Much of the influencing in the world has been destructive and with the war machines so well funded one wonders to what extent constructive influences will win out. As the world heats up, as water supplies dwindle, as food sources are diminished, the changes we need may not be those the Fortune 500 or their trainers have in mind. But it is good to be exposed to this information, which these authors do, albeit with an some pro-business slant.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Model - More Practical than Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, 15 Feb 2010
By 
K. Mcdougall "keithmc" (Wokingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
I am a certified trainer for both Influencer and Crucial Conversations. I like both and use both but Influencer is the most practical and provides a model that you can start using immediately.

I first became aware of VitalSmarts when my employer rolled out Crucial Conversations training programme. I became certified to deliver this class which involved reading the books and training materials. I felt this was over-complicated and although I found myself using the models and techniques more often it took effort.

I read Influencer and immediately I felt the model was simpler and more practical. I was able to take the 6 source model and implement it in business, it is also very adaptable and I am finding myself seeing ways in which I can use the model. It is also very straightforward to explain to others and get them interested to learn more or try the techniques.

As a consequence of reading and using the model I have since taken the Influencer training to become a certified trainer. The difference is that unlike Crucial Conversations, this was my decision.

This book is not a psychology book, but it does use research grounded in psychology to demonstrate and support the model. Reading this book will not make you a master negotiator or enable you to get what you want every time. It will give you a simple six source model that can be adapted and used with individuals, teams and organisations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars These guys write good books, 5 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
Another book from the team that gave us Crucial Conversations - this delivers a different take on influencing from other books out there: refreshing and insightful. They write well, too, so I recommend this highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and insightful, 8 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First edition (Hardcover) (Hardcover)
I absolutely loved this book. So interesting, so well written, so comprehensive. I loved how it was laid out in a system - so much easier to follow because of the structure. I have pencil marks all through my copy, not something I usually do with a book but so much interesting information I wanted to be able to go back to it easily.
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