Review of Influence by Robert Cialdini

This is a book review of Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a classic book on subtly getting people to do what you want.

Robert Cialdini is currently Regent’s Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. His book Influence is a fantastic classic on persuasion as he transforms what most people took as hidden and unknown variables in decision-making into clear principles that you can use to influence people.

The book discusses the following six principles of influence, which have a chapter dedicated to each:

  1. Reciprocation – people have an inherent desire to return favors
  2. Commitment and Consistency – people’s past decisions guide their future decisions
  3. Social Proof – people look to others then follow what they are doing
  4. Liking – people are more persuaded by those they like
  5. Authority – people are more persuaded by those seen as holding authority
  6. Scarcity – people are more persuaded when the resource at hand is perceived to be limited

These six principles briefly described are simple definitions that do not fully explain their respective principle of influence. Influence provides an in-depth look into the various situations each principle can be applied, when it is most effective, why it works, why it won’t work, and other variables that modify the principle.

Each of the chapters is split into two parts. The first part teaches you how to apply the persuasive principle. The second part teaches you how to defend yourself from the principle when it is used against you. While all the principles are naturally desirable to us, the second part makes you aware of when the influential principles cause you to make a decision you otherwise would avoid had the persuasive principle been absent.

Cialdini’s involvement in academic psychology has given him numerous and insightful research findings that he shares in Influence. The research shared within this book stood out for me.

One real example I’d like to quickly highlight for you to give you an idea of its fascination is how 1 leader, in the year 1978, managed to get 910 people to kill themselves with no coercive tactics – only by using the principle of social proof. The leader firstly influenced the individuals most likely to commit suicide. From there, others followed. In times of uncertainty we look to see what others do. The lesson in this example was that no leader can persuade every member of a group and, therefore, must create an environment that maximizes social proof. This ultimately lets the leader influence the entire group.

…a classic on persuasion.

You may think research is only good for discoveries. The research in Influence is the author’s way of revealing, explaining, and investigating the principles of influence. I would go as far to say that every page of its 280 pages has at least 1 research experiment or real-life example of the relevant persuasive principle. You won’t get bogged down in details though as Cialdini gives you only what you need to know.

Influence is a leader in the business world. It is the default book of persuasion I hear recommended by experts in all fields, from seduction and business, to marketing and power. I feel it is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve his or her negotiation skills, leadership, parenting, sales skills, marketing communication, or business. I highly recommend this book to anyone because we all use persuasion in someway. Grab your copy of Influence from Amazon right now by clicking here.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to http://www.towerofpower.com.au/free/

Comments

Balachandran
Reply

The six principles of influencing is really interesting. Even though we unknowingly use each one in different situations, it is interesting to read the principles.
Regards,
Balachandran

Bijay Kumar Sahoo
Reply

The six principle of influencing people is not only useful, but also interesting. Your other publication is also very useful for persons in a managerial position not having a management degree. Thank you. With Regards
Bijay K. Sahoo

Benedict
Reply

All your articles that I have read are very inspiring. Influence remains an useful factor in our daily lives. Thanks very much

How to Win an Argument Everytime
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[…] the principle of consistency. You’re not weighed down by past decisions because you’re a clear, rational human […]

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