Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion summary

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Rating: 9/10

Author: Robert B. Cialdini Read The Original

High-Level Thoughts

An all-time classic and a must-read for any marketer or psychologist. However, if you're someone who loves to learn about what makes humans tick or why humans commonly do things that don't make sense then I highly recommend you pick up this book.

Influence Summary and Notes

The book is packed with tons of interesting case studies and examples supporting these rules which I excluded in these notes. The following are the 6 weapons of persuasion.

#1 Reciprocity

  • Rule of reciprocation: we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.
  • There is no human that does not subscribe to this rule.
  • Even if you dislike someone, you will still feel the need to reciprocate.
  • If I want you to lend me $5, I can make it seem like a smaller request by first asking you to lend me $10.
  • When you go to Costco and eat a free sample you feel obliged to buy something you wouldn't otherwise.
  • Study shows, giving customers a single mint at the end of their meal typically increased tips by around 3%.

#2 Commitment & Consistency

  • We have an obsessive desire to be consistent with who we believe we are and what we have already done.
  • Commitment produces the automatic tape of consistency.
  • If I can get you to make a commitment, I have set the stage for your automatic primal consistency.
  • You stay married, even though divorce may be the best option because you’ve made a public commitment "Till death do us part"
  • Telling everyone your gonna run a marathon gets you out of bed every morning to run.
  • Written commitments require more work, and evidence shows that the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater the influence.

#3 Social Proof

  • Principle of social proof: we use what other people think to determine what is correct.
  • it works well because as a rule, we make fewer mistakes by acting in accordance with social evidence than contrary to it.
  • Why Bystander effect occurs -> diffusion of responsibility — personal responsibility of each individual is reduced when more and more people are around.
  • in an ambiguous situation, the tendency for everyone to be looking to see what everyone else is doing is a phenomenon called pluralistic ignorance

#4 Liking

  • We prefer to say yes to the request of people we know and like.
  • Factors that cause us to like a person:
  • A) Physical Attractiveness
  • B) Similarity
  • C) Compliments -> we love getting compliments even if they're not true.
  • D) Contact -> we like things that are familiar to us. We often fear what we don't know.
  • E) Cooperation
  • F) Conditioning & Association -> we root for your own culture, sex, locality. Whoever you root for represents you, and when he wins, you win. -> Sport teams

#5 Authority

  • People tend to follow authority figures, no matter what the situation. (Milgram's experiment giving electrical shocks)
  • we are also trained from a young age to learn that obedience to proper authority is right and disobedience is wrong.
  • Authority allows the development of sophisticated structures for social control, trade, resource production, etc.
  • Example: movie "Catch Me If You Can" where con artist Leonardo Dicaprio exploits dozens of people all by wearing different suits.

#6 Scarcity

  • Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited
  • Works because:
  • 1) We have a mental shortcut that tells us that things that are difficult to possess are usually better than those that are easy.
  • 2) Reactance Theory -> motivational arousal that emerges when people experience a threat to or loss of their free behaviors
  • Examples:
  • Couples who suffer parental interference fall more deeply in love.
  • Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals makes the whole country go crazy.
  • Limited time offers
  • Newly experienced scarcity is more powerful than constant scarcity.
  • Be consistent in your rules and discipline as a parent.

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