‘Influence: Science and Practice’, by Robert Cialdini

This is a great book! I wish I had read it at the ages 15 or 20. Although, even revised, you can tell it was written in the 80’s. It detracts nothing from the book - it only shows that it is as relevent today.

As described in its Wiki, the book covers six main weapons of influence:

  1. Reciprocation: People generally feel obliged to return favors offered to them.
  2. Commitment and consistency: People have a general desire to appear consistent in their behavior. People generally also value consistency in others.
  3. Social proof: People generally look to other people similar to themselves when making decisions.
  4. Liking: People are more likely to agree to offers from people whom they like.

    • Physical attractiveness can give people a “halo” effect whereby others are more likely to trust them and think of them as smarter and more talented.
    • People tend to like people who are most like themselves.
    • People tend to like those who pay them compliments.
    • People who they are forced to cooperate with to achieve a common goal tend to form a trust with those people.
    • People tend to like people that make them laugh. For example, many lectures start with a joke.
  5. Authority: The Milgram experiment ran by Stanley Milgram provided some of the most stunning insights into how influential authority can be over others.
  6. Scarcity: People tend to want things as they become less available.

Although the writing is kind of boring, I am very happy that I’ve read it. It provides a good look at how and why people are influenced in the decisions they make. Actually you won’t learn too many new facts after reading this book. As a matter of fact, most parts are already known to you, for instance you already know that you are more likely to accept an offer from someone you like (50 pages for covering this issue!), but the point is that he aggregates and categorizes all those known facts in one place for better understading.

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