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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Paperback – 1 Feb 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 345 customer reviews

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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 (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
3rd edition/publication (2007), Collins Business Essentials, 320 pages (of which 280 pages for actual book)

Influence is another of the twenty books Charlie Munger recommends in the second edition of Poor Charlie's Almanack. Its content is excellent (and sometimes even hair-raisingly remarkable - as when he shows that media reporting of suicides actually causes more of them via the social proof bias) but I think Cialdini could have done a much better job of turning the research evidence into useful/practical advice. (The same problem manifests itself in Gilbert's book `Stumbling on Happiness' - though Cialdini's is the better book.)

I was discussing this book with a friend who had also read it and I thought he put it very well: Cialdini is one of those clever people who is not very wise. That is also why Poor Charlie's Almanack is so good and unusual: Munger is both clever and has deliberately attempted to distil a lifetime's worth of reading over a broad subject matter area into practical advice on how to live a successful/useful life.

In particular, Cialdini shows us clearly that a significant number of our psychological biases work completely unconsciously. (By that I mean it can be demonstrated that a certain bias has affected a group of individual's actions/conclusions whilst they strenuously deny they have paid any attention to or are even totally unaware of the biasing factor.) For example, Cialdini quotes one study where "men who saw a new-car ad that included a seductive young woman model rated the car as faster, more appealing, more expensive-looking, and better designed than did men who saw the same ad without the model. Yet when asked later, the men refused to believe that the presence of the young woman had influenced their judgements.
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