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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 March 2018
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

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 jumper because the contrast makes the sweater appear more affordable.
* Reciprocity. Example: If someone buys you something (say, a Coke), you’re more likely to buy 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 are on the line (i.e. 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 behaviour 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 favour.”
* “Social proof is most powerful for those who feel unfamiliar or unsure of​ a specific situation and who, consequently, must look outside of themselves for evidence of how to best behave there.”
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on 11 January 2018
The author does a great job of outlining the strategies so called 'compliance practitioners' in the political, science, criminal and business worlds use to influence and persuade everyday people.

There is a large amount of information included, however the author is careful not to use jargon or esoteric language, so I found it very easy to read and would expect most people to be similarly able.

Considering the nature of the subject I would have preferred a more instructive direction from the author though, outlining theories is great but he needs to include more examples of their use in the real world.

4 stars - well written, intelligent, engaging and informative, only lacking more meat on the bones and tighter structure with regards concepts and usage.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2018
Cialdini’s Influence is now over ten years old and still stands up. It is a good guide on the psychology of why people say “yes”. The accessible style of Influence reminded of Douglas Rushcoff, or Malcolm Gladwell. Ok Malcolm Gladwell is a poor analogy, Cialdini’s work isn’t candy floss for the mind. This is deceptive as there is usually an inverse relationship between value and accessibility. Exceptions to this heuristic would be the likes of Sun Tzu – The Art of War.

Influence by Cialdini
Cialdini hasn’t been researched within an inch of its life in the same way Byron Sharp’s books have been.

Cialdini provides planners and strategists with starting points for customer experiences. The book isn’t a how to guide for digital journeys but provides first principles. Psychology is not channel-specific.

The Journal of Marketing Research described it as

…among the most important books written in the last 10 years.

The book’s style allowed me to pick it up and put it down, to fit in with my holiday schedule of train travel and family time.

Why should you have Cialdini’s Influence?

If your work includes marketing planning or strategy, your bookshelf should have this book. If you are thinking about customer interactions, this book outlines the first principles that you need
If you’re a consumer and want to know how you’re being sold to; read this book
If you want to get on better with people ( your kids or co-workers); buy this book

My copy is well-thumbed and stuffed with post-it notes around the edges as I go back and forth into it on a regular basis.
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on 28 October 2016
This book questions the value of experiments on small samples of students and then proceeds to base most of its conclusions on such small samples. Third level students in the samples certain US universities are hardly representative of the population, either statistically or culturally. When he strays into negotiating tactics I found his conclusions reflected a social psychology perspective, and as an experienced professional negotiator myself, I judge his negotiating advice to be too simple or indeed naïve. As a popular book on Influence and persuasion it is overly detailed and could be condensed into less than 200 pages. Still nothing yet to beat Aronson's classic on social psychology. This is a book on small issue tactics.
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on 1 June 2018
The book is 'okay'. The six areas the author identifies are interesting but there are two major issues with the book for me. Firstly, it is a bit rambling, you could have easily got all the principles and had a discussion around it in 100 pages. The second issue is that it is very American, so a lot of the examples talk about particular aspects of being in in American college and high school, baseball, that type of thing. I watch a lot of American programs but even with this it just made no sense at all. In this regard the book has failed to persuade me as to its merits (which is what the book is supposed to be an expert illustration).
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on 28 May 2018
This I know was a seminal text on the subject but others have taken the author’s ideas and moved on with them. I noticed it had been revised in this century but you wouldn’t know it from the examples. This is the world of encyclopaedia salesmen and Tupperware parties. Computers get a mention but the Internet may as well not exist. I know that human nature doesn’t change, so the psychology is sound, but I would have liked some suggestions for dealing with compliance professionals in the world as it is now.
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on 28 May 2014
The book took a lot of effort to get through. Much of it applies more to American marketing psychology which is very different from that of the UK. I had to skimp through bits that got me bogged-down in topics that were a. not relevant to my interest or b. over-stating the point or topic being covered, indicating to me that it was written with rather too much 'padding'.

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.
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on 26 January 2016
A fascinating read, if a bit dry at times. It really makes you think about the marketing that is aimed at you. It makes you question the "great deals" you have got in the past and the ones currently on offer to you (a great money saving device!) It can lead you to feel quite cynical about the way companies (and some individuals) behave. But if you step back a bit, the book gives you the tools to defend yourself with (or approach others with - if you are a marketeer!) and helps you make more informed choices.
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.
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on 15 July 2016
While Cialdini's 'Influence' is certainly not the only worthwhile book to discuss influence and persuasion in deeply practical terms, there is certainly no doubt (or lack of merit) to it being pre-eminent. In my experience, if you ask anyone involved in sales or marketing to name a book about influence or persuasion then this will be the first one they name.

Cialdini perfectly manages to combine the scientific and academic depth of the topic with incredibly practical real-world application. No single book is going to transform you into some mesmeric machiavellian master, but this book absolutely will make you better at persuading and influencing others in their decisions.
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on 25 August 2015
There's a good reason why this is a best-seller ... not only does it contain some interesting and useful info, it's quite an enjoyable read. Usually I can't get through these kinds of book but I happily read this one all the way through.
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.
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