Review of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Review of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

I never cease to be amazed how the principles taught in this book come up time and again in everyday life, as well as in sales and marketing.

If you want to equip yourself to understand how the human mind works, and how we interact with one another, then Cialdini's book is a must read.

Cialdini takes you through the major influencing factors that shape our lives, and shows you how to spot them   before it's too late.

Use this knowledge wisely, as you'll have  in your hands one of  the most powerful tools when you apply what you'll learn.

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This review is from: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Paperback)


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.


This review is from: The Psychology of Persuasion (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.

Dez Futak