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Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,532 ratings  ·  290 reviews
In Invisible Influence, the New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat.

“Jonah Berger has done it again: written a fascinating book that brims with ideas and tools for how to think about the world.” —Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Bianca Smith
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this via NetGalley and admit I didn't finish it.

I liked the first 20%. The concept of mimicry is excellent. It's that we mimic those around us.

At the 30% mark I realized that there's very little research to support the stories.

By 35% I was skimming.

Forty percent - should I finish it?

And 50%, I was done.

There are lots of stories about college students and their behaviors. Occasionally research studies were referenced.

Maybe this was too pop psychology for me? It was lots of broad demo
Rob Woodbridge
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
A very fast read but lacking in substance compared to Contagious. These genres of books tend to blend together. Same stories, different angle. Not a lot of new here.
May 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads' Giveaways programs.

The premise of Jonah Berger's book is intriguing-- we don't make decisions that are truly our own. Instead, we are constantly relying on input from others without fully realizing it.

This book struck me an entertaining, somewhat "pop" psychology book that had some interesting information (who knew that youngest children are usually the most likely to be top athletes?). But overall, I thought it was pretty bland. Of course we are
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Good book. Here is what I want to remember:

(p.59) If people can't see, or observe what others are doing, there is no way for those others to influence them...Social influence only works when other people's opinions or behaviors are observable.

(p. 65) Birth order is the biggest predictor of elite athletes: 75% have at least one older sibling.

(p.68-69) Sibling rivalry is about who gets to be a certain type of person and who has to be someone else...Kids' personalities even seem to shift over time
Ben Rogers
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book.

Behavioral economics is my new favorite thing.

You can tell I'm an INTP!

What is happening when you shop, when you live in amongst the world. What factors play into your influences?

This book was absolutely amazing at describing these.

Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
So disappointing. I was a huge fan of Berger's previous book, "Contagious." (It's actually on my favorites shelf.) This new book lacks the structure and applicability that made his previous book so useful.

It also feels overwritten. As though the publisher/editor asked him to stretch out the content a liiiiiittle bit more. Here's an example, "Teenagers are unlikely to be confused with 40-year-old business executives…." All of this filler gets in the way of some of his more interesting points.

Nicole Carey
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! In line with Malcom Gladwell, I am fascinated by social psychology and what drives humans to do what they do. I enjoyed his scenarios, his stories and his statistics. I found myself plotting how I could use social influence to make better choices, to motivate me, and leverage the now "visible" to work in my favor! ...more
Justin Tapp
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger

I have reviewed a lot of books on pop psychology, behavioral economics, “influence science,” and this is just another in the pile. These books compete on the shelf namely by the twist they put on the title and how nice the design of the cover is, they mostly say the same things. It’s a two star read because it just presents a lot of other peoples’ research in a “on the one hand, on the other hand” fashion. The author doesn
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This man needs an editor, or a ghost writer. (I volunteer. I want so badly to fix this.) The topic is interesting, and the information is worth the read, but I kept having to put the book down mid-chapter to recover from all the sentence fragments.

Also, he wound up making a couple of arguments that I think he didn't mean: like at the end, when he says children who moved out of poor neighborhoods by age eight were expected to make $300,000 over the course of their careers. He had to have meant "
Dan Graser
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While there are a number of books on this subject, Berger's stands out for its Malcolm Gladwell-like-accessibility and depth of understanding. For those not familiar with the social impact on our day-to-day choices this is an excellent introduction. Frequently, books like this seem geared for corporate drones trying to become slightly more human, Berger avoids those sorts of pitfalls with great humor and brio while also offering ways in which this information could be used effectively for person ...more
Lois Keller
Aug 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I felt like this was a bunch of one off case studies without any statistical backing collected together to make a psuedo scientific study on imitation. Sometimes the case studies and quotes directly contradicted each other (ie “nobody went there; it’s overcrowded” how is it overcrowded if no one is there?). I was unimpressed and would not recommend.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The writing is good, but the subject is a bit ho-hum. I just kept thinking the information wasn't very ground breaking. Perhaps students of psychology and sociology would appreciate the in-depth discussion of influencing others. ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't know why this book was written or who it was written for. It's like a book for someone who hasn't read or thought about any of these topics at all. ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Overly simplistic. I would have preferred more neuroscience and less sociology.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read the book “Contagious: Why Things catch on” of Jonah Berger. I loved the book and decided to read “Invisible Influence” as well. This book narrates interesting experiments and examples to explain how social influence affects our choices and behaviour in both subtle and explicit ways.
The book starts by explaining that we do not see social influence affecting our behaviour because society tells us that being influenced is a bad thing. The book describes the science of social influence and i
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jonah describes the variety of forces that influence our decision making. He highlights how pop culture can influence what we are exposed to, from books, music to food. How our siblings can shape our lives. The very presence of people/peers can influence how much effort we put into a certain tasks. How hurricanes can influence the choice of baby names. These are a few of the entertaining examples he sprinkles throughout his book. The book was entertaining and could be a good source of conversati ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, business, marketing
After reading his first book "Contagious," I'll admit I had pretty high expectations for this book. This book blew them all out of the water! An incredible book that dives deep into how society and identity shape our decisions in such a way as to appear invisible to us.
So many can see the effects of these influences on others, but more often than not, we feel as though we aren't that easily 'tricked.' Well, take a read and learn just how much there is to learn about these Invisible Influences. W
Zack Applewhite
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
The author has a tendency to over explain simple concepts, situations, and examples.
Much of the studies referenced to have been similarly covered in other business and marketing books.
That said, reviewing similar material helps remind and ingrain key and inspiring concepts into me. As far as research driven books go, it was on the engaging and educational side of the spectrum.
Good for sales, educators, marketers, and self improvers.
(But you could also read a cliffnotes summary would likely tell
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Quiet the fun book to read. It explores the seeming contradictions about the social lives of people and how in some cases they may be contradictions but in others they are not contradictions at all. Jonah Berger highlights both the complexity that surrounds how people influence other people yet how simply imitating or being seen more often by another person can make them like you more. Additionally, lots of citations are available for further reading.
Nicolas Levy
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I thought this was an enjoyable read. At first, I was afraid this would be another "airport book" - a breezy read with lots of anecdotes and little real substance. While it is a quick read, Jonah Berger actually references quite a bit of research. Most importantly, he presents the concept of social influence in a cohesive way, starting with why we are influenced by others, then looking at factors that cause us to deviate from others, then looking at how different environments can be stru ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Invisible Influence does a great job of explaining some behavioral concepts in an approachable way much like Jonah Berger did with Contagious . If you haven't read a lot of marketing / behavioral books, than this could be a good start, but by no means is it exhaustive on the idea of the invisible forces that effect our decisions. ...more
Michaela Johnson
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book reminds me a lot of Predictably Irrational. It gives great insight and perspective to human nature as proven by various studies. Helps us understanding what shapes people's decisions from relationships to purchasing.
It's a great read for anyone in the sales/marketing and/or psychology arenas.
Samir Thacker
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
The book starts with some good examples to show impact of social influence and at some point, it reminded me of “Upstream” - Dan Heath.

But the book fell short of being in the same league by a huge margin. It’s just a collection of examples to show the impact of social influence at various levels! Unlike Upstream, it does not dwell much on how to use ‘Social Influence’ to shape a scenario or to ensure success. More examples of how people, companies or government used this background knowledge t
Jonathan Evans
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Interesting topic but this book was full of pointless long-winded stories and could have been distilled down to a magazine article. The repeated use of "could care less" knocked my rating from 3 stars down to 2. What colour BMW do you think the author bought with the proceeds from this book? ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good examples of how the social environment influences our behavior more than we may think.
Meraj Ondhia
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book is sold as an answer to deep questions. However, it does little and relies on small studies and anecdotal evidence. The big questions of influence and the psychology behind it, cannot be summarised in such short and simple explanations. Although I did enjoy the layout of the book and examples provided. Overall, I think the book oversells itself.
Fodor Levente
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A must-have piece for everyone. Few books can be said to be read more than once, but this is one such a book.
Becky Leach
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read on how other people shape how you think. The author did great discussing many how people recognize social behavior, but few think it is pertinent to them. Quick read I would recommend to anybody interested in psychology, sociology, or influences.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
We can’t directly see it, smell it, taste it or perhaps describe it but it is there – the invisible, subtle influences that affect the decisions we take. We probably believe that we are rational and are in control of our choices, tastes and opinions but let’s not get overly confident with this…

The author sets out to examine literally what makes us tick, how we reach certain decisions and even the impact others, strangers included, can have on our “independent decision-making” processes. Even th
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is a quick read without a lot of academic fancy-pants descriptions, instead it is a straightforward approach to digesting the idea that as social animals, we make decisions socially whether we like to believe it or not. Berger describes purchasing decisions, decisions about "right" or "wrong" based on others' responses, how we sometimes do the opposite of what everyone is doing because they're all doing it, how we want to be unique by saying, "everyone's BMW is silver, mine is blue" the ...more
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Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior.

Dr. Berger has spent over 15 years studying how social influence works and how it drives products and ideas to catch on. He’s published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals,

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