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The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,634 ratings  ·  168 reviews

A cutting-edge, research-based inquiry into how we influence those around us and how understanding the brain can help us change minds for the better.

In The Influential Mind, neuroscientist Tali Sharot takes us on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence. We all have a duty to affect others—from the classroom to the boardroom to social media. But how skilled a

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2017)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is interesting and can be finished in a short time. So to influence others:

1. Find common ground: to convince a parent to let their children receive vaccines, focus on the benefits; no point debunking the myths.

2. Go for the emotion like Donald Trump, not logic or balanced arguments.

3. Use praise and evoke nice outcomes to make people do something; use fear to make people do nothing

4. Tell them a lot of other people have chosen the same thing/ done the same thing

5. We only want to he
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite reads so far this year. We think we know how to influence, but the human brain keeps surprising us. Perhaps it even evolved not to be rational but to be good at motivating others through whatever means works. Maybe we manipulate the facts and re-order them to fit the picture that is simplest, or our favorite, or easiest to follow. Our minds can exhibit some surprising logic, though for good reason. Read this and you'll find new ideas for helping people overcome well-es ...more
anna b
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I read too many books on minds and brains so this is, again, a repetition of a lot of what I have read in the last few months. Concepts like group think, anchoring, etc. I wouldn't say this book is not good, if this is your first few books on mind/brain exploration on behaviour and decision making, I believe you will be enlightened. ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine it is 2015. You make a prediction that Donald Trump is going to win the 2016 presidential election because he has a better understanding of how to influence people than Hillary Clinton. Would most people have laughed you out of the room? Maybe in 2015; not in 2018.

This book essentially builds from this premise, using a multitude of research studies to support its thesis on how to influence people.

Notes from my key learnings:
1. Use fear rather than hope when you would like people to do
Said AlMaskery
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
A good reminder of basic psychological traits that are ingrained in us. However nothing really new, most of what was presented can be found in Influence by Caldini or Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahlaman.

Might be a good intro into the topic for those who haven't read the mentioned books.
Ken Rideout
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not too much new here for those familiar with the basic tenets of modern neuroscience but here’s a quick summary of my take-aways:

1. Confirmation bias – prior opinions are hard to change. Smarter people are more adept at re-interpreting or discrediting data (for worse and for better). We are hardwired to respond more to emotional appeals than data-based ones. Beware the boomerang effect: contradictory data may cause the person to entrench into their opinion more. Solution: find common ground
2. P
Linshu Wang
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Notes from influential mind:

Although widely used in politics. Fear is not always the the best strategy for persuasion. It works well when the subject is anxious or weak.

Scientific data is not the best way to convince others to change their mind.
The intelligent individuals are more likely to discredit the data that support the opinions that they disagree with.

Instead of finding data to support the opposite idea so that you can change the mind of people that disagree with you. Focusing on finding
Imaculate Mosha
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is about how inflexible and irrational human brain can be sometimes. Once we make up our mind about something, it can be extremely difficult to change that opinion, whether it is about a movie, a book or political candidate. Our brain also seeks information that reaffirms our views instead of information that contradicts it. The best way to make somebody change their mind is to present equally valid facts to the contrary instead of attacking their beliefs directly. “When an established ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
-food for thought regarding my thoughts about the brain
-social responsibility and influence
-searching for expertise instead of weighing everyone's opinion equally
-popular ways of thinking and how they can be alarmingly unfounded
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably 3.5. Cute pop psych book on social learning and other social influences. The title was kind of misleading though and I’m not really convinced anything new was discussed.
Fred Perry
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lightweight Pop Science

Anecdotes stand in for data and generalities for prescription in this book. I hoped for guidance and was given cartoons.
Michael Huang
People can be open-minded initially and then make up their mind and then becoming stubborn with a set opinion. One such example is that of MMR vaccine causing autism. People believe the notion based on research published, but many refuse to change opinion when subsequent research debunked the notion. The best way to persuade them is not to tell them they are wrong, but simply present the new findings (and hope for the best).

Mood can be contagious. After reading positive posts, they are more like
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danny Hadar
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
very interesting research and written in a short and concise way. I wish there were more pictures to understand better the brain side of the explanations and maybe go deeper on some aspects.
Lale D
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wish I'd read this book 40 years ago. Would have saved me from soo many useless arguments! ...more
Robert Kosara
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, kindle
How do we make decisions? How are we influenced by information, by beliefs, by others? I was hoping to read some more about recent research here, and there is a bit of it. But much of it is stuff that has been covered elsewhere. I also felt that things were over-embellished and over-explained. Still a good book if you haven't read much in this area so far (Ariely, Kahneman, etc.). ...more
Gary Moreau
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tali Sharot is a cognitive neuroscientist. “I work at the intersection between psychology and neuroscience.” And what an interesting workplace it is. It’s a place reinforced by data and studies and experiments, but which still provides a view of the surrounding landscape we call the human experience.

As the title suggests, this is a book about influence. What is it and how does it work? Some of the answers are logically obvious, but understanding the why behind the what always contributes to bett
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is good. It has common themes like neuron firing(when we expect something rewarding and achievable we get excited to get it), amygdala(related to emotion), frontal cortex(related to our cognitive function), dopamine(related to pleasure and motivation), serotonin(related to pacifying effect,stabiliser), nucleus accumbens(processes feeling of pleasure) which is pretty common in any other book on neuroscience.

this book has mentioned lots of experiments some of which the author has conduct
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I was a bit disappointed because I was looking for ways to reach and converse in a civil manner with some of my friends that have become isolated in the right wing media siloes, such as Fox News, Drudge Report, Breitbart, and anyone else that intersects with them in a Venn diagram. Charles J. Sykes has said that they're unreachable, so I was hoping that this otherwise wonderful book would have helped. I have tried the approaches that Tali Sharot explains so well, and I've had no success. I suspe ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
a beautiful book after a long time alter your perception with simple explanation, it was like reading a novel
She taken utmost care in explaining and cautious on every paragraph and every page neatly written and her every ideas supported by experiment
This book will ever stay in my heart
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating insight into how our brains work and how we can influence others, as well as how they influence us. I appreciate Sharot's use of research and stories to present her thesis. Our brains are a powerful organ, and our ability to influence one another is truly fascinating. This was an easy read that left me thinking and pondering for days on end. ...more
Stephanie Rogers
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is really fascinating - not only for marketers (which is why I picked it up), but for any human being looking to better understand what influences us based on how our brains work. Full of science, research findings and really smart observations, but totally accessible to a broad audience.
Jim Robles
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five stars! An easy enjoyable read that explains our foibles in terms of neurology and evolution. I found this one in:

Guns and the Soul of America
David Brooks OCT. 6, 2017

"If you are an avid Twitter user, beware: tweeting is one of the most emotionally arousing activities you likely engage in on most days. Forget exercise - studies show that tweeting raises your pulse, makes you sweat, and enlarges your pupils - all indicators of a
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
The new book from TED speaker and author of The Optimism Bias, Tali Sharot, The Influential Mind challenges the wisdom of the crowd.

We've all butted heads with a friend, a partner, or work colleague.  Whether it's changing the way a presentation should be run or deciding where your children should go to school, your mind is made up and whoever is in opposition is just plain wrong. Even if facts come to light which completely flies in the face of your opinion, you find a way to justify your posit
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Influential Mind" explains to us, through behavioral science, how illogical humans really are. We say that we're truly logical beings who use higher though to make our own, individual, decisions (not being influenced by anyone or anything else). Well, that's mostly wrong. Try to convince someone to think from a different perspective by using peer-reviewed journals, charts, graphs, loads of very scientific and convincing data? Nope, won't budge them, not at all (well, sometimes, but mostly n ...more
Elite Group
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An in-depth investigation of the mechanisms of the brain, involved in influencing others.

The author is an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience and is the founder and director of the Affective Brain Lab at University College London.

It is part of being human that we strive to influence others, whether it is encouraging a love of reading in children or inciting a population to rise up against oppression. As such this is a major area for a study into how we shape those influences, both good
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published by Macmillan Audio in 2017.
Read by Xe Sands.
Duration: 5 hours, 24 minutes.

Tali Sharot has written an interesting little book about our brains and the way they work. Clearly, she is an expert with a PhD in psychology and neuroscience, but she has that rare talent of being able to make the complicated seem pretty basic using real life examples.

If you've ever had an online argument, you know the frustration of doing research to show your opponent that t
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is packed with lots of information but is written in a way that's easy to digest without feeling like information overload.

I learned some really interesting perspectives, concepts and ideas. To name a few that stuck with me:

- Confirmation bias - meaning we are more likely to believe data that supports things we already believe and question data that validates things we oppose.

-It's easier to change people's beliefs if you appeal to their emotion rather than pulling statistics or valid
Jim Razinha
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
I got an advance reader's edition of this from the publisher Henry Holt & CO through LibraryThing. I'd read Ms. Sharot's The Optimism Bias five years ago when I had just started a year-long management program and liked what she wrote, so requested the opportunity to read this. Even though this is an advance copy, and I quote from it below, I don't think there will be substantial changes from the final publication.

"You and I share a role." - That's the opening line of the Prologue (in the copy I
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Tali Sharot is a Wellcome Trust fellow and principle investigator at the Cognitive Perceptual and Brain Science Division at University College London. Her research on the neuroscience of optimism, emotion, memory and decision making has been published in top scientific journals including Nature and Nature Neuroscience, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Bost ...more

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