Gina's Reviews > Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
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Sep 02, 2011

liked it
Read in August, 2011

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 of influence" were interesting and thought-provoking. Reciprocity and consistency. The third to sixth weapons were just plain obvious. Social proof, i.e. a group's preference influences your own? No shit. Liking, i.e. someone similar to be more persuasive to you? OK, obvious. Authority, i.e. power leads to persuasive ability? [sarcastic] Wow! Scarcity, i.e. perceiving scarcity leads to increased desire of a resource? Mildly surprising.

--The author must have read about the device of repetition just before writing this book and used the book for practice. The amount of times that he used "click, whirr" to illustrate the metaphor or playing a tape in our heads to produce automatic action made me want to scream! (Also, cassette tapes were out of style by the time I was in high school...)

--His choice phrase for people who consciously used these "weapons of influence" were ... wait for it ... "COMPLIANCE PRACTITIONERS"!!! Just call them "influencers" or something less vomit-inducing, buddy.

--The author "updated" the edition for the printing in 2007. He should have just done a reprint with a new foreword or something, because the result of the update is a total failure. 90% of the references are still from the mid-80's or before. A discussion about the future of communicating with computer has one puny line added to it about how everyone uses the Internet now.

To be fair, some of the conclusions drawn and the research presented were very interesting. But the feel of the writing was so juvenile and repetitive that I can't recommend this book to anyone. I'm sure there are much better books on the topic.
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02/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Angelina (new)

Angelina I'm only two and a half chapters in, and I'm already getting tired of it. I think that your observation about his 'updating' is spot on. Also, I really can't stand the way that he keeps extolling his own expertise. I understand doing so in the foreword...MAYBE even the first chapter...but he keeps going and going and going.

message 2: by Mitch (new)

Mitch Ford Repeating something over and over is called anchoring. That's why, by your own admission, it's committed to your memory.

Nrtashi As for me, I didn't take as much issue with writing style as I did with the examples provided-especially with anecdotes from his personal life. He's a pathetic, unlikable autist with a huge sense of intellectual self worth.

However, his choice of calling the "influencers" the way he did is totally justified in the context of his argument. The main point of his book was that it's COMPLIANCE, not the influence itself that is our enemy. Therefore, calling them compliance practitioners makes perfect sense.

Furthermore, repeating a point over and over again is a good way at making it stuck. Many writers of non-fiction do that and, to be honest, he didn't go even half as far as some of them.

Ella Birt He's actually a very nice man. Humorous, caring and the best at what he does. He teaches at the university where I received my degree.

message 5: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Nix While I did not like this book, I think it should be credited that the man is an expert. I have read some of his articles and he has no problem being concise and intelligent. He has made this easy for the public to understand and relate to. By the way, I gave the book two stars, so I'm not defending the book. Just the person.

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