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Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  399 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
A psychologist and expert on conflict resolution who studies the neurology of extreme persuaders offers a fascinating new investigation of one of the most important human questions: How do we get other people to do what we want?
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 3rd 2011 by Houghton Mifflin (first published November 24th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,064)
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Matthew ayer
Would not go out of the way to recommend this book to any of my friends. The back cover over sold the book big time. Going into I thought he would provide a lot of theory on how persuasion works and how one can practice this theory. Instead, the book just went through a lot of case studies of persuasion. Most of them were unrelated to each other. Some of them were fairly interesting while others were dry. Reminded me of a Malcolm Gladwell wanna be. There were some instances in which the author t ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Warren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in reading this book as a how-to guide on persuasion, it may fall short of your expectations. However the book reads more like a series of case-studies into persuasion from the biological level up to the social level. Hence the mixed feelings and reviews of this book. It sells itself as a how-to manual but only gives the principles and to act on these one will have to go to work and exercise their own creativity. The actual act of 'flipnosis' seems far easier to recognize th ...more
Neeraj Sachdeva
Sep 30, 2011 Neeraj Sachdeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complete review available here

The book starts of slowly, impresses you and captivates your attention. Surprisingly, the only time I wanted to put the book down is when I was on the last page. There are a couple of segments within this book which made me go ‘Huh?’ as they did not make much sense on the first read (I did not have time for second helpings). Overall, the explanations, examples and scenarios are sublime, which makes a generally heavy psychology text easy to read.

I am very keen on per
Apr 27, 2011 Mangoo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable, if a bit unfocused and not optimally organized, review of recent and classic findings on persuasion techniques, particularly on those inducing instantaneous change in one's view and feelings.
The text is filled with anecdotes and stories about persuasion masters who could solve situations and change one's mind by subtle inputs. Dutton's text is thus yet another one on the topic, which is rather establised now yet preserves all its unnerving and disillusioning charm. Personally, mos
Faith Wood
Eye contact and good looks appear to be a key ingredient of influence, reports Kevin Dutton, author of Split-Second Persuasion. Does this mean that in order to be more influential, I need to invest in plastic surgery if I wasn’t blessed with good looks? Perhaps not! After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?!

The truth is we make split second decisions about others based on the way our core group of associates sees them. This is why some cultures think beauty is reflected in a robust
Nura Yusof
The title of the book is misleading. Nowhere in the book does it teach on how to employ split-second persuasion in our dealings with people.

It is peppered with amusing anecdotes and the prerequisite textbook description of what's going on in the brain (the boring part).

Dutton writes an amusing read but the only triumph of this book is that through its cover and title, it used split-second persuasion to get me to buy this book.
Julian Haigh
Jun 22, 2014 Julian Haigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Working in sales, I've found this to be valuable in applying to how I connect with people over the phone. Much of being successful in life is keeping your eyes open to the possibility all around us and taking advantage of opportunity openings. Mastering the tactic of message incongruity can overcome the traditional (and mundane) boundaries we place around ourselves and seeks to connect with an audience not just as a lecture, but as an in-group member with mirror habits and interests. Obama's ref ...more
Oct 03, 2014 Inaniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-readings
It's ok, but did not inspire me. It was more like reading an interesting collection of different facts but without getting the conclusion.
"five major axes of persuasion: 1. Simplicity 2. Perceived self-interest 3. Incongruity 4. Confidence 5. Empathy Or SPICE for short." p. 161
(1) simplicity: round numbers, information essential to the communication of the message, rhyming phrases;
(2) perceived self-interest: the limited-edition Oasis refund checks, the Wolf's Dilemma game, the seminary students who didn't stop for the hurt man;
(3) incongruity: the card trick, the Stroop test, the "rich" and "poor" beggar team;
(4) confide
Jun 17, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Psychopaths, Politicians, & the Pygmalion Effect. Initially the book seemed a little cavalier and lightweight, but it actually got into some meaty discussion about cognitive dissonance, disruption & the Stroop effect and other games our brains play on us. We are hard wired to make decisions in a certain way. What's more, it's all emotional. The interesting thing is how some of us instinctively know how to very quickly, and often with a single sentence, manipulate others into making a 180 ...more
Jun 20, 2011 Madeleine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So, I saw this at the library (i.e., "libary") and thought this would be an excellent jump into the world of pop psychology. My first pop psychology book! "Self," I says to myself, "self, my mind control powers could really use a boost."

Three chapters in and I realized I was getting nowhere. What did I learn from the first three chapters? Here is how you become a more persuasive person: 1) be a baby in any species on Earth. 2) be beautiful, with a symmetrical face and 3) be confident in what yo
Kate Woods Walker
Once past an awkwardly-written opening anecdote about two men in a bar, the author takes us on a rather pleasant spin through the subject of persuasion. And not just garden-variety coercion, nope. Split-second, instantaneous, almost magical persuasion.

In Kevin Dutton's Split Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds, we get a heaping helping of sociological and psychological research, a few pertinent illustrations to contemplate, some tempting tests with which to gau
Amanda Patterson
Mar 01, 2011 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to find out why someone has more charm than you do, read Flipnosis. If you want to explore charisma and the ability to persuade read on.
Find out what SPICE means. Do you have it? Can you acquire it?
Well, you'd have to undergo some serious reconstructive surgery for some of this to work but there are some ideas for you to work on.
Find out about foetal attraction. Who are the persuasion grandmasters? Dutton gives some interesting examples and some interesting arguments, even pulling Je
Jun 07, 2016 Orrezz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointing. A popular science book combining psychology researches and real-life cases of persuasive people, that does anything but explain how split-second persuasion works. A mean, if you don't really believe you can explain it by religious views, the power of brands and other cliches. The best parts deal with psychopathy, but also don't explain how normal people are convinced by psychopaths to do as they have wished
Rob Mills
I read two Kevin Dutton books for my beer drinking book club. The first one was so, so bad that this one had a dramatically low hurdle to clear.
That said, it has lots of little pop psychology factoids that are interesting and some fun parlour tricks. It mentions a number of studies with cocktail party story type results, though I always wonder about the integrity / conclusiveness of them.
An easy read and so much better than his other book. Reasonably enjoyable.
Dec 13, 2012 Brick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
The many illustrative anecdotes are often hilarious. The wrap up after lots of informative exposition of brain/mind mechanisms, giving Dutton's steps to 'split-second persuasion' was not quite what I wanted. I understand from his examples that masters of these techniques exist, but this is very much like telling me that 10,000 hours of directed practice will lead me to Carnegie Hall. I don't doubt the validity of his concept, but it would be more helpful if he were to give me some very specific ...more
Jun 21, 2014 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The majority of the book was old hat to me. When the author started down a certain line of thought I's start thinking, for example "This is Dan Gilbert" and sure enough two paragraphs later he mentions Dan Gilbert.

The book can only suffer from comparison's to Robert Cialdini's seminal work Influence: the psychology of persuasion, and more so because he mention's Cialdini quite a bit. The book does, however, offer a very different perspective on the topic by focussing on the personality traits o
Dr Kevin Dutton catalogues examples of split-second persuasion or ‘Flipnosis’. Dutton unlocks the secrets of a baby’s face, uncovers dastardly scams and tantalises with analyses of The Psychopath. Flipnosis is an easy read that supplies intriguing anecdotes and entertaining experiments to relay to the amazement of your friends. What Dutton lacks is consistent relevance to his primary theme or the ability to follow through on his allusions to being able to teach the reader to become an expert ‘Fl ...more
Dawn Buffham-Bates
Very similar to Richard Wiseman's 59 seconds but more in depth (obviously as Richard wanted you to have instant tips!) Kevin uses some of the same research and refers to Richard's work, but explains things in a different way, which is no bad thing by any means.

Kevin's book is not as funny, but is written in a relaxed, yet informative way. It is a pleasure to read and brings a whole new interesting meaning to our understanding of a Psychopath... you may even see yourself as one! ;) Want to know
Apr 24, 2015 Graeme rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good content. Did not enjoy the writing style.
Dec 16, 2015 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here's a book that strings together a lengthy list of gee-whiz anecdotes and facts. I kept reading because many facts and anecdotes were interesting, but I remain somewhat dissatisfied with the synthesis.

What I took away:

1) Tape pictures of babies on things you don't want thieved because a baby's face can disarm the harmful.
2) Identification (a la Kenneth Burke) isn't enough: Confidence is equally important when it comes to persuasion. Also, it helps if you're a psychopath.
3) In many cases, hum
I saw this at the library and was intrigued. Unfortunately, it was mediocre...a "Blink" wannabe. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to like this book, but the author's use of the vernacular and colloquialisms, typically presented in the form of fragments and phrases or clauses, aggravated the weak science and trite anecdotes. I think that if it had been edited with an eye toward readability instead of flashy linguistics or clever verbiage, it would have been a more enjoyable read.
Robin Raindropcatcher
No, you won't find any step-by-step blueprints as to how to hypnotise anybody.
The description of the book makes one hope for a little more inside information on practical ways to use it.

However, I really enjoyed the case studies and stories, the author tells us about and can relate to many of them. The book is inspiring and makes you want to learn more. Theoretical and practical. The human brain in a fascinating mechanism and this book pushes you into exploring it!
Sep 26, 2011 Sheryll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is enjoyable to read, containing many jokes, tests, and anecdotes that have been shared in emails for the past few years. It will make me more aware of the ways in which I am being persuaded to act in certain ways each day.

My own preference would have been for the author to spend more time on political framing and commercial attempts to persuade and less on criminal psychopaths.
Oct 30, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be invigorating from a personal and professional point of view.

If you are in sales this book is indispensable. It codifies a lot of information it took me years to learn, a lot of information I wish I had when I was actively selling. The increased commissions is worth the price of the book alone.

James Brownlie
A fun piece of pop psychology and a good holiday read. I wouldn't really recommend this for anyone who'd wanted a serious look at the subject. Dutton jumps around a lot in almost every section which does keep you turning the pages but doesn't always allow you to get into the subject matter sufficiently.
Louise Armstrong
I enjoyed this a lot. It is well written and entertaining, but based on solid science. It skips around a bit, and is an introduction to the topic rather than a manual, but a fascinating and enjoyable read. I may take the time to mind-map it - I'd love to be able to persuade people to read my books!
Jun 24, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, very interesting, slightly scary. I'd elaborate more, but if 'one of the world's greatest linguists' in here can get away with referring to an advanced persuasion technique as 'cutting out the crap', I think I can be forgiven for not being quite as oratorical as usual.
Jun 29, 2012 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking concepts and material. Doesn't really deliver what it says it does. The writing style grated on me... it's overly jocular and forced, and full of very specific cultural references that mean it's going to age badly.
Jun 12, 2015 Olya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the style. Great summary of relevant research.
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KEVIN DUTTON is a research psychologist at the University of Cambridge. His writing and research have been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today, USA Today, and more. He lives in Cambridge, England.
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