Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  24,132 ratings  ·  756 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by HarperBusiness (first published 1984)
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Sundeep
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

Notes:
Below are my key takeaways and some interesting points, but I’m telling you. Buy it. Read it. Tru...more
Mark Cheverton
Required reading for all marketing professionals. The book details the most common approaches to influencing the decisions of others, backed up by the authors time spent infiltrating direct marketing companies and the like. Offers handy hints on how to spot when you're being manipulated and how to handle it.

A very enjoyable read, should leave you much more aware of how you're being played next time you're in the market for a used car.
David
Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more accomplices would look up into the sky; the more accomplices the more likely people would look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up, that they stopped traffic.

Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.

Likin...more
Gina
I don't understand why so many people rated this book so highly.

--It panders to the audience by using overly simple language and repeating the same idea 5 times to make sure that the reader really understood. Example (from memory): "People are heavily influenced by society. Society shapes our choices. Our choices are influenced by the people around us. There are countless examples of one's choices being swayed by his or her peers." Thanks, I got it the first time.

--The first and second "weapons...more
Jerry
I put this book under "dangerous knowledge." Cialdini, still a top consultant in this field, has a tiny disclaimer at the end of the book saying how he's aware that this knowledge could be misused, but doesn't go much further.

I see this stuff abused all the time, to spin democracies to go to war, to sell us products and services we don't really need and much, much more.

I've been wanting to start an ethics institute around this topic. Interested? Write me!
Daniel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shishir
Six "weapons of influence"

1)Reciprocation - People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.


2)Commitment and Consistency - I...more
Jenny
Basically an interesting book. It was written in the 80's and is a little out dated in facts and writing style. I liked how he explained different techniques that are used to influence us, and then had a section on "how to resist." I found him a tad paranoid, though. He seemed to read a lot of mal-intent into people's desire to influence, when really I just think it is human nature to want to influence people over to your own way of thinking. I don't think I need to be hyper-vigilant at all time...more
Veronika
This book gives good insight to compliance strategies and main reasons we are persuaded - however I was unimpressed by a few of the examples Cialdini used and the main conclusion he made at the end of the book.

Example 1: After claiming to have been a bigger socialite than he really is to impress a young attractive saleswoman, Cialdini became particularly pugnacious about her "strategy of tricking him into exaggerating his habits" where as this was his fault, not the saleswoman's. When she offer...more
Sean Mcmahon
In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini lists six different methods which one can use to persuade people. He lists the six tools of persuasion as: reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proofs, attraction, authority, and scarcity. The first tool, reciprocation, draws its power from the desire to repay in kind a favor which was shown to us. The desire to repay a favor stems from the feeling of indebtedness which the receiver of the favor has from receiving the gi...more
Laurie
Author Cialdini began the research that would lead to this book when he got tired of being taken advantage of. He’s not unintelligent, yet he would find himself talked into buying things he didn’t want at all. What was happening?

It turns out that there are some basic ways that humans are influenced, and most people follow them without questioning. Some are just the easy way to deal with situations, while some actually create discomfort when one refuses to follow the social conventions. Cialdini...more
Amir

Brilliant book! I first read Cialdini book several years ago and I try to make it my routine to read it at least every year since then. Professor Cialdini through many fascinating examples leads us on a journey to find how we are being persuaded to act and react in many ways that are not always to our benefits.

Professor Cialdini review in this book six main factors that influence our behaviors: reciprocation, liking, scarcity, authority, commitment/consistency and social proof, the books explai...more
TarasProkopyuk
Прекрасная книга!

Автор очень профессионально подошёл к работе с ней. Информация воспринимается очень легко, а самое главное то, что она весьма ценная.

Она поможет углубиться в понятие психологии влияния и манипулирование людьми, таким образом стать помощником для использования новых знаний для достижения более эффективных манипуляций при достижений тех или иных целей.

Главное, чтоб эта книга попадала в руки только людям с высокими моральными ценностями, иначе она способна принести существенный вре...more
Liz
This book was assigned in my Social Influence class and I loved it! Cialdini has done tons of interesting research and is clearly very accomplished in the Psych field, yet he can write a book that everyone (non-Psych majors included) can understand. Each social tactic is explained thoroughly and he uses a lot of stories as well as his own experiments to back it up. I love how he peppers his anecdotes with his sense of humor ("Looking somewhat embarrassed because his father seemed to be raving wh...more
Matt Heimer
I read this because a Very Influential Person my magazine is profiling said that every consumer should read it. Can you say "hyperbole?" That said, Ciardini offers a tidy survey of post-Stanley Milgram research in human gullibility, and he's funny in a avuncular "professor who seems cool until you talk with him one on one" kind of way. Some of it--particularly a disquisition on the psych-warfare techniques of the Communist Chinese during the Korean War--is disturbingly timely in the Bush era.
Alex Allain
This is an absolutely incredible book. One of those books that frame how you see the world--particularly how you interpret the behavior of others.
Elius
I have read a fair amount of literature about psychology, group dynamics and social influence - mostly from various little articles and blogs in the net, so although I knew many of the topics covered in the book, I am pleasantly surprised that I didn't know most of it. Now I do. This book pretty much covers all the popular studies done on the human psyche and far from being an academic paper, brings the Psychology of Persuasion to the masses in a well articulated, well referenced, book.

I especia...more
Anya
Why do we buy stuff we don't need? Why do we comply with requests that "feel wrong" or make us uncomfortable? In this book, Arizona State professor Robert Cialdini examines the social psychology behind compliance, with the goal of helping us understand the "weapons of mass persuasion" that advertisers and salespeople can so easily use against us.

Cialdini went undercover in the late 1970s/early 1980s to do research about compliance techniques. He apprenticed himself to Amway salesmen and car deal...more
Mark
click...whirr Automatic gears turning. This is the metaphor Cialdini uses to describe certain aspects of human behavior and decision making which are not the result of logical thought, but rather are hard wired into our makeup. If one can identify, name, and examine these aspects of our human nature, we stand on much firmer ground when it comes to combating and/or employing these biases during our own negotiations.

A simple example would be the idea of "social proof" where, all other things being...more
Chantal
A classic example of how different books intrigue different people. My friend, Ben, gave me this book because he found it boring. I read it, highlighted it as I read it, and loved it. I love all things social psychology.

I thought it was funny when the author talks about the Mormon temple in Mesa. It was a great illustration of scarcity, but I wonder sometimes if people stop to think when they write that their audience may include the people they talk about.

There was one point while reading this...more
Mirek Kukla
Hands down the best... psychology book... ever. Cialdini is a brilliant researcher and a terrific writer. The is the definitive guide to the art and science of persuasion. The density of content here is nigh overwhelming. The tools of influence are subtle, effective, pervasive - and fascinating. Every finding is empirically substantiated and convincingly explained. And despite this informational overload, "Influence" is incredibly readable. Cialdini uses numerous illustrative examples, and his b...more
Tung Nguyen
This book is definitely worth reading, especially for people who are interested in psychology, marketing and politics.
The book is organized in a very scientific way. For each principle, Robert mentions the ways we are exploited first, then the psychology under it and finally how can we "say no" or deal with such exploitation. Many vivid examples are used, even though the example are from 20 - 30 years ago. Still many of them exist nowadays. I read this book while studying the course general psy...more
Ben
Influence is a presentation of several experiments aimed towards what makes a person more likely to comply with your request. It observes how several factors- such as reciprocity, consistency, and society affect our decision making abilities. It also displayed the practical application of such ideas. For example, if someone looking to get a donation for a cause, they are more likely to get it if they give u a less expensive free 'present' before hand. One example of this is the Krishana organiza...more
Jenny
Persuasion - making judgments based on costs e.g. cost of jewellery in an unfamiliar town,
reciprocity - hare krishnas giving out flowers,
ambit claims e.g. liddy's proposal for watergate was after 2 more expensive and sillier proposals,
consistency - e.g. lowball selling i.e. commit to buying a product then take away one of the things that made it attractive e.g. trade in value, social proof = cult after space saucer didn't appear - become more committed as now staked everything on faith, more...more
Men D.
I've really gotten into pop psychology books lately. This one was exactly what I wanted: insight into persuasion from both an academic psychology perspective (lots of summaries of sometimes outrageous psych experiments, like those conditioning little boys to find toy robots immoral) and a marketing perspective (descriptions of persuasian/compliance tactics from car salesmen, Hare Krishna solicitors, advertisements).

While reading this book, I had to set it aside often to consider (1) the many wa...more
Loy Machedo
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

I first bumped into Robert Cialdini’s work with “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”. I found that book to be absolutely impressive and so, when I got to know he had also authored “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, I was more than eager to read it. And without a doubt, I can tell you, I am glad I did.

Harvard Business Review lists Dr. Cialdini's research in "Breakthrough Ideas for Today...more
Marty
I started reading this book for work - one of the things I'm supposedly working on this year in my ability to have influence on project decisions and be able to effectively provide input. I figured this would be unspeakably boring and decided to read some vampire stuff at the same time to get me through it.

I actually loved this book, though. He talks about all these methods that people - typically sales professionals - use to influence customers to buy more stuff. And I fall for this shit ALL TH...more
Dave
To understand why your marketing plans work or don't work, you need to look deep into what goes on in your customer's head. That's where this book takes you. It's a classic work on persuasion that will show you not only why behavior can be altered, but how to do it. The author, Robert Cialdini, is a professor of marketing at Arizona State as well as president of a consulting company specializing in ethical persuasion. Unlike my book on the subject, The Dynamic Manager's Guide to Marketing and Ad...more
Ahmed Korayem
There are tricks that compliance practitioners usually use to make people take decisions with minimal thoughts. These tricks are based on some psychological triggers that lead people to prefer taking shortcuts in their thinking process. The book describes six of the mostly used tricks and gives examples on how they might be used against us, it also gives tips on how to avoid being trapped by these tricks.
The cover of the book states that it is about "psychology of persuasion" and that's why i a...more
Megan
This book is great and I totally could have used it two years ago when a salesguy sold me on $80 HDMI cables for my new tv.*

It ought to be required reading for all high school seniors. Or even freshmen. Yes, it's a little outdated (most of the studies and incidents related happened in the 80s or earlier) but part of the reason why it is so important to read it is because marketers and salespeople have been doing the same crap ever since somebody thought up the idea to sell something to somebody...more
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Click Whirr 4 66 Jul 07, 2014 11:56AM  
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Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent his entire career researching the science of influence earning him an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation.

His books including, Influence: Science & Practice, are the results of years of study into the reasons why people comply with requests in business settings. Worldwide, Influence has sold over 2 million...more
More about Robert B. Cialdini...
Influence: Science and Practice Instant Influence: How to Get What You Want in Any Business Situation Influence: Science and Practice: The Comic Influence Influence et manipulation (French Edition)

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“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” 19 likes
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies? The result was that once again nearly all (93 percent) agreed, even though no real reason, no new information, was added to justify their compliance. Just as the “cheep-cheep” sound of turkey chicks triggered an automatic mothering response from maternal turkeys—even when it emanated from a stuffed polecat—so, too, did the word “because” trigger an automatic compliance response” 7 likes
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