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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Paperback – 1 Feb 2007
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For markters, 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)
"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 resulted in this highly acclaimed book. You'll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader - and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of "Influence" will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.See all Product description
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Robert is a brilliant writer who well earns his accolade as the 'seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion' as he sets out how the five psychological principles of consistency, reciprocation, social proof, liking and scarcity direct human behaviour to give these tactics their power.
The ability for each of these principles to produce a distinct kind of automatic, mindless compliance from people to willingly say 'yes' without giving it a second thought is explained. Quite astounding and entertaining at the same time - a real eye opener and highly recommended for anyone who wants to take control over their decision making and indeed, understand how to achieve buy-in from others to do what they want them to do.
I first read this book in March 2012 and read it again this year as part of my research for my new blog.
What really caught my eye, the second time round, is the last chapter on Authority - How To Say No. This in view of the fact that it is now common knowledge that too many 'Social Media Consultants' who claim to be 'experts' are actually nothing of the kind.
Robert writes: 'We particularly mis-perceive the profound impact of authority (and its symbols)on our actions, we are at the disadvantage of being insufficiently cautious about its presence in compliance situations. A fundamental form of defence against this problem. When this awareness is coupled with a recognition of how easily authority symbols can be faked, the benefit will be a properly guarded approach to situations involving authority-influence attempts.'
He goes on to say that the best way to protect ourselves is to ask two questions: 1) Is this authority truly an expert? (to focus our attention on acquiring evidence of credentials and the relevance of those credentials to the topic in hand thus avoiding automatic deference), and 2) How truthful can we expect the expert to be here? (To focus on their trustworthiness in the situation as we seem to be swayed more by experts who seem to be impartial than by those who have something to gain by convincing us).
However when I skipped to parts that I was interested in, the topics were quite enlightening. It certainly highlights the vulnerability and gullibility of 'the public' that is exploited in a scurrilous manner by so much of the commercial and corporate world. I helps to know what tricks they use in order to be a jump ahead of them if any should try such tricks against us. I would say it was useful but in a limited way. Interesting in parts. Perhaps not quite as revolutionary as the old 1960s "How to win friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie but in my opinion it's a modern day upgrade on the ethos contained in that book, but with a lot of the sexism updated to be more politically correct for the 21st Century. It was good value certainly.
Some of the samples are so small that statistically the assertions are difficult to back up, but if you put that to one side you can believe the experiments would get results in the stated direction.
Worth a read or preferably a listen - if you do that try 1.4x speed, it helped me tremendously.
It's useful not only to salespeople but just as much (perhaps even more so) for "victims" of salespeople, as it explains some of the subtle tricks they use to get you to buy whatever it is they're selling. When you can see through their tricky little moves, you're better equipped to defend yourself against them.