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An inside view of how we all tick

  • Jul 25, 2009
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Although this is not a new book, its insights remain as true today as ever. Robert Cialdini dissects the way people are convinced to do things, and presents them in a one-item-per-chapter format.

His basic thesis is that the brain is designed to make snapshot decisions in order to survive, and while many of the cues its based upon are helpful (ie. seeing people running from a burning building), many have become designed to deceive (ie. the attractive salesperson drawing you into a purchase). Some of the experiments and case studies are genuinely surprisingly, but are all rooted in the basic programming we all have.

In short, you need these to persuade people:
  • Reciprocation: I do you a favor, and you are predisposed to do the same thing for me. Those free food samples at Costco aren't so free after all.
  • Contrast: extreme positions make less extreme positions more palatable - you are more likely to spend $100 on a shirt if you already spent $500 on a suit, and the good cop is more likely to win your confession after the bad cop has done his work.
  • Commitment: studies show that gamblers are more convinced of a horse's capability to win after placing the bet versus before the bet. Placing a commitment causes more loyalty to an idea.
  • Consistency: people will defend a position once they take it - competitions that ask you describe the virtues of a product in 15 words or less essentially convert you to promote positive messages of that product to other people, since you will aim to be consistent with yourself.
  • Social proof: people will look to others to aid their decision-making process. If "people like you" claim to like an idea, chances are that you will too (hence canned laughter in TV shows).
  • Liking: you are more likely to accept an idea from a people you like. Studies show that attractive people have twice the likelihood of con vicing others than average-looking individuals, and salespeople are frequently trained to feign interest in your hobbies and mirror your body language for the same reason.
  • Authority: if those we respect take a position, we're more convinced by its validity. From the sales frenzy over Sarah Palin's glasses to the use of celebrities to endorse products, authority is a trump card in persuasion.
  • Scarcity: we are driven to ideas that seem scarce - hence the use of the "buy now, offer won't last!" approach to sales, or the use of high prices to create exclusivity.
Each of these points is meticulously approached and a solid case is presented. Most strikingly, the book is extremely readable and accessible, and presents information from a wide variety of sources. Anyone in a job that requires expert execution of persuasive tactics, such as marketing or sales, should buy a copy immediately. For everyone else, it's worth reading to help identify and avoid the techniques that buy our subconscious commitment without out active participation.

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February 09, 2010
Very true. Nothing new & the world of psychology is certainly one of the most interesting subjects in the world. As for commitment, I wonder why commitment doesn't quite deepen with time & marriage (considering the increasing no. of divorces in the world now)? ;-)
February 09, 2010
Excellent question. My aunt said this was down to the fact that everyone expected way too much these days, and that the inevitable disappointment that real life doesn't make you a movie star leads to higher divorce rates, etc. Consistency in the context of this book take a narrower point of view in suggesting to you step-by-step to reach a sales close. But it's a great question.
More Influence: The Psychology of P... reviews
review by . December 16, 2010
Sophie Gonin, Broker
I first read "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, when I was in college at SDSU (Go Aztecs!). Reading this book gave me a new appreciation and for sales, marketing and advertising. For the first time, I saw those careers as "sciences" of sorts. Ultimately, in sales, marketing and advertising it's about psychology and sociology. There is a trigger, a cause and a reaction. Personally, I think that the smartest individuals are those who can teach, …
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
good, but I didn't find much original information in here
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Good book I'm reading it now.
review by . September 20, 2007
Someone just replaced my sales six shooter with an AK-47. Wow! This is a very valuable book, not just for sales but for life. He has five main areas on what influences us. I have used them all, but now I really know how to use them: Reciprocation ( I give you a bit to get a lot) , Commitment and consistency (If I get you to state in public what you will do, you will likely do it), Social Proof (If you see others doing it you will too), Liking, (All I need is you to like me and if I provide a good …
review by . January 31, 2007
There are two main reasons to read this book.     1. You want to influence someone.  2. You want to be aware of when someone is trying to influence you.    The author provides a very well written book that in my opinion is the bible of influence. The book has 7 chapters, 6 of them cover reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Pretty basic human needs/emotions, but they really do drive most of our …
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James Beswick ()
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Arguably the best book ever on what is increasingly becoming the science of persuasion. Whether you're a mere consumer or someone weaving the web of persuasion to urge others to buy or vote for your product, this is an essential book for understanding the psychological foundations of marketing. Recommended.
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Books, Nonfiction, Marketing, Sales, Robert Cialdini


ISBN-10: 0688128165
ISBN-13: 978-0688128166
Author: Robert B. Cialdini
Genre: Consumer Behavior, Applied Psychology, Motivational, Success
Publisher: Collins
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