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Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
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Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,482 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
What triggers fascination, and how do companies, people, and ideas put those triggers to use?

Why are you captivated by some people but not by others? Why do you recall some brands yet forget the rest? In a distracted, overcrowded world, how do certain leaders, friends, and family members convince you to change your behavior? Fascination: the most powerful way to influence
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by HarperBusiness
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Zach Olsen
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read the first 100 pages and the last 50. The middle part that goes into depth about the 7 triggers was full of definitions, semantics and a lot of fluff so I didn't read it all. I think its worth thinking about how before you can ever make the sale you have to get someone interested enough to get them through the door. A better book on the same topic of how to do that is Purple Cow by Seth Godin which covers how to be fascinating by being remarkable. Much more concise and easier to take the i ...more
Great premise, poor execution--

The seven triggers of fascination - lust, mystique, vice, alarm, power, prestige, trust - are easy to remember but are not really useful because they are blanket terms that encompass whole hosts of things that aren't commonly associated with those words per se.

The book is interesting, but unfortunately doesn't really deliver. The author likes to go on tangent examples and anecdotes that may be interesting to some, but essentially useless and distracting. She circu
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook, own, self-help
Here's the thing: if your book is named Fascinate, it has to be, well, fascinating. And this frankly just wasn't. The research methodology was anecdotal and dodgy -- you can't get statistically significant results from such a small sample size, and the questionnaire that I took was inspecific and yielded bizarre results. And the unquestioning accolades of advertising as if it had never had ill effects in its entire history... well. I ask for a higher standard of intellectual rigor (read: ANY AT ...more
Fred Zimny
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sally Hogshead helps world-class businesses develop messages that influence and persuade consumers, patners and employees. As a world-renowed brand consultant and speaker she outlined her fascinating ideas for companies, professionals and persons in the book Fascinate.

One thing about the book is its fascinating subtitle –your seven triggers to persuasion and captivation. Which triggers for me the question will the author also be able to fascinate?

And be sure: she does!

The reason it worked for me
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Cagey advice on captivating consumers

Becoming fascinating is the best way for your product to stand out from the crowd. You can create a brand identity so interesting and distinctive that consumers will be irresistibly attracted to it, as they are to Apple, Tiffany, Coca-Cola and Google. Brand consultant Sally Hogshead shines a marketing spotlight on the potential power of fascination, details its seven triggers and explains how to use them to increase your product’s attractiveness. A clear, str
Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This book unnecessarily categorizes everything under "fascination". If you like something, "you are fascinated". If you love something, "you are fascinated". If you are focusing on something, "you are fascinated". If something is disgusting to you, "you are fascinated". As such, the word "fascination" becomes practically meaningless by the end of the book.

Overall, it is a decent book. Unfortunately, its 7 trigger categorization is not scientifically based on anything. She seems to have just crea
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook version (with Sally Hogshead herself reading), and it was solid -- although I have to admit that I'm probably biased considering I work in marketing. Sally does a good job reading her book and offers lots of tidbits, asides, and additional information. She clearly knows her stuff. Sometimes the idea of "fascination" is a bit too broad, but I really did enjoy taking the f-score test (primary trigger: alarm; secondary: trust; dormant trigger: mystique). Certainly I unde ...more
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sally Hogshead's book "Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation" is a legendary adperson's take on how to get people interested in you, your products, or your services. She writes it in a witty, breezy way that keeps the insights coming and the plot moving. Highly enjoyable look at what has grabbed people through the ages.
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
The book is not an intellectual exploration, but a marketing workshop that is somewhat gimmicky. One of the problems is that for all the discussion about fascination, it doesn’t define in any depth what fascination really is. In her attempt to fascinate the reader, the author gets creative to the point of losing some credibility. For example, she says that symmetrical elbow bones improve a male’s sexual success, a somewhat factious claim. True, one researcher has found that symmetrical nonfacial ...more
Adam Housley
Feb 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: work-related
This book came recommended in a blog or article I read, and I had high hopes for it as I transitioned into a new position at work that found me considering how best to develop our brand. A colleague and I had planned to work our way through the book a chapter or two at a time. After our first meeting in September, we agreed the book was overhyped. I finally finished it this week only to get it off my dresser and onto a new life at Half Price Books.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Not without value, but not well-constructed as a book. It felt a bit like reading a student's paper: trivia that doesn't build to a point, sometimes repetitious, unclear purpose of certain things being included, shallow amount of hard analysis. Beginning felt sort of Freakanomics-esque; ending third had some actionable pointers.
Liz Lazzara
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hate marketing myself, hate the idea of “personal branding.” It’s so unsexy, disgustingly manipulative, and tedious to me. And yet reading this book helped me tap into what I want to achieve, the message I’m putting out there, and how to strengthen that message WITHOUT FEELING PHONY OR GROSS. That’s something worth celebrating.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super interesting, a bit scarring, thought provoking, and fraught with ethical dilemmas.
Frinzy Zulkarnain
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Once you defined your brand positioning, this book can help you set the to comms tonality. The latter part of the boom gets a bit too tactical for me though
Lauren Head
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
In our fast-paced world where everyone moves onto something new if they aren’t quickly interested in the topic or item sometimes being interesting isn’t enough….it needs to be, well, fascinating. Sally Hogshead touches on that point very clearly in her book “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” that I read for

Most personality-based books tell you how to deal with people based on your personality. This book turns those types of books on their heads by focu
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's good but I feel like she could have done a bit better with a little more explanation on the psychology behind it and less on the selling of it. It's like she loves being in advertising so she tries to throw in random analogy and memorable phrases when they actually distract from the message. But I gave it 4 stars because the content is quality even if the execution isn't.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love Sally Hogshead's framework of understanding people's perceptions about you. Her work around the idea of "what fascinates" is pretty powerful for both organizational & personal branding. Her online fascination assessment and corresponding books are a must for anyone interested in brand (again, for an organization or a person).
She often talks about how "different" is better than "better." She does a great job of demonstrating that in her work and writing.
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Vacillating between two and four stars as I worked through this title, my moment of clarity came with the last fifty pages or so: marketing and self-promotion still (despite reading heaps to the contrary) seems a bit, well, a bit manipulative and self-promoting. But as a recently-minted entrepreneur (not a hobbyist) this is EXACTLY what I need to do. Not the manipulate bit, but the "here's the cool work I do and i know you'll love it" bit.

Hogshead presents her marketing expertise and supporting
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Great tool for analyzing how we persuade and to be intentional about the 7 triggers we use.

Provokes strong immediate emotional reactions. Create advocates. Become “cultural shorthand” for a specific set of values. Incites conversation. Forces competition to realign... around it. Triggers social revolution.
Lust—feeling, 5 senses, tease and flirt. Mystique- spark curiosity, withhold info, limit access. Alarm—create deadlines, define consequences, distress to steer positive action.
Prestige—set new
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Unlike Marcus Buckingham's book, Now Discover Your Strengths, Sally Hogshead's book Fascinate identifies not how you see yourself, but how others see you! Marcus' test took 30 minutes to complete...Sally's took 3 minutes. Her take on things is entirely new and fresh. The book is chock full of interesting-to-learn examples of each of the principles and she uses real life companies to illustrate her points. At this very moment in my life (helping a friend launch her online business, sup ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quits, mid-to
How bad is this book - I wish there were 0 stars. Instead of diagnostics and reverse engineering fascination, the authors mooshes it into an smeer so that everything is fascinating from smiles to cars to orgasms and it is all irresistible. Loads of nonsense statements that clearly shows she does not think - such as "women have twice as many orgasms with partners who are symmetric". Sorry, stop and think about this statement. On what basis can this possibly be true. How did we collect the data? W ...more
Lyn Lim
Jul 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Opened this book expecting to be enamored by the secrets to transform my brands to Pied pipers and their armies of crazed zombies. At 10%, I yawned. At 20%, i paused and used my phone to check my Twitter feed. At 30%, my eyes burnt. At 40% my body went into a state of convulsion and bullshit mortis. What a fascinatingly boring book! It's like one of those motivational speakers asking you to transform your lives by taking 7 simple steps every day! Brush your teeth, comb your hair, smile, dress re ...more
Mary Louise
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My friend Sally Hogshead has written a terrific book about the power of influence on, well, most things. In this increasingly transparent world, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to take control of their career and influence the kind of people they'd love to do business with, or have buy their books, read their blog posts or whatever. Do you often wonder how others may (mis)perceive you? Your company's business style? Your blog personality? Your career strategy? Your book campaign? Thi ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2010
Sure, this was clearly one of those books written by an agency member in order to promote their work, and as such carries the traditional light reading and assertion that this is the end-all and be-all of marketing methods, but it's still pretty interesting. While much of the material towards the beginning was a bit obvious or expected, the different "triggers" covered were the most unique part of the book, and worth reading to just think about the different patterns that you could use to captur ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I refuse to use the word "fascinating" in describing this book-- even though it would be totally appropriate.

I enjoyed the first half of the book the most. Understanding the psychology behind what triggers responses in us and how and why. (one can easily see how keen study of this can raise up some horrendous results ... think Hitler, etc.).
The second half (on how to effectively use the triggers to help sell whatever your business needs to sell) was less intriguing (mainly because I'm not in tha
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was Fascinating. Ya Ya, very cliche comment, but it was. I have always been obsessed with being aware of how society, media, and people try to manipulate my primal instincts.
She never uses the word manipulate, but if you read this it is obvious to see that it is interchangeable with the word fascinate.
This is a wonderful book for anyone who loves introspection and understanding of the human race.
I took the f-score test and had everyone I know take it. It was surprisingly accurate.
My P
Leif Denti
Apr 22, 2016 rated it liked it
As another reviewer wrote: "All pop and no meat and bone". In this book, Sally Hogshead tries to convey the seven "secret" triggers to what fascinates us: lust, mystique, vice, alarm, power, prestige, and trust. She fails to persuade me though. The book is filled to the brim with numerous examples and anecdotes where the triggers "worked", but fails to do the heavy lifting in acually explaining the underlying psychology. I also can't stop wondering - why seven? Why not eight or nine triggers? An ...more
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm always interested in books that shed light on what makes people tick. Why we do what we do. The mystery of human motivation. In this book, the seven emotional triggers that motivate people to act are discussed. The triggers aren't the only thing, for their are other "marketing" insights as well. Take an online fascination test to determine how you score as a brand. My primary trigger is prestige, and my secondary is Vice. Which is to say, I'm an elitist rebellion type... if you say so, hehe. ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This is an amazing book. If you have responsibility for crafting a sales message, an ad campaign, or a brand presence, this is a must-read for you! I originally heard an executive audio summary of this book and then was so inspired by the clarity of the premise that I bought and read (and re-read) this book! It's one I go back to at least once a year if not more! Actually, every time I start to work on our Sales and Marketing Plan, I start by pulling this off the shelf and reading my highlights. ...more
Lisa Hall
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a quick read covering what marketing looks at when motivating buyers or building a brand at a basic level. I read it because I'm rebuilding my website, by which I mean I'm paying someone to build my new website. What I got out of it was some insights into how I can make my stories stronger by focusing on some of these triggers for my characters motivations. It's an easy read, not full of business terms you have to look up to understand. I started it this morning and finished it in one da ...more
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“When a Single Glance Can Cost a Million Dollars Under conditions of stress, the human body responds in predictable ways: increased heart rate, pupil dilation, perspiration, fine motor tremors, tics. In high-pressure situations, such as negotiating an employment package or being cross-examined under oath, no matter how we might try to play it cool, our bodies give us away. We broadcast our emotional state, just as Marilyn Monroe broadcast her lust for President Kennedy. We each exhibit a unique and consistent pattern of stress signals. For those who know how to read such cues, we’re essentially handing over a dictionary to our body language. Those closest to us probably already recognize a few of our cues, but an expert can take it one step further, and closely predict our actions. Jeff “Happy” Shulman is one such expert. Happy is a world-class poker player. To achieve his impressive winnings, he’s spent much of his life mastering mystique. At the highest level of play, winning depends not merely on skill, experience, statistics, or even luck with the cards, but also on an intimate understanding of human nature. In poker, the truth isn’t written just all over your face. The truth is written all over your body. Drops of Sweat, a Nervous Blink, and Other “Tells” Tournament poker is no longer a game of cards, but a game of interpretation, deception, and self-control. In an interview, Happy says that memorizing and recognizing your opponent’s nuances can be more decisive than luck or skill. Imperceptible gestures can reveal a million dollars’ worth of information. Players call these gestures “tells.” With a tell, a player unintentionally exposes his thoughts and intentions to the rest of the table. The ability to hide one’s tells—and conversely, to read the other players’ tells—offers a distinct advantage. At the amateur level, tells are simpler. Feet and legs are the biggest moving parts of your body, so skittish tapping is a dead giveaway. So is looking at a hand of cards and smiling, or rearranging cards with quivering fingertips. But at the professional level, tells would be almost impossible for you or me to read. Happy spent his career learning how to read these tells. “If you know what the other player is going to do, it’s easier to defend against it.” Like others competing at his level, Happy might prepare for a major tournament by spending hours reviewing tapes of his competitors’ previous games in order to instantly translate their tells during live competition.” 1 likes
“People don’t want to connect with brands. They want to connect with each other. Fascinating companies create more opportunities for people to connect with each other, through the brand.” 1 likes
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