I first heard about Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini from Scott Adams. Scott Adams is most well known as the creator of the comic strip Dilbert but he’s also a trained hypnotist and an expert on persuasion.
On his blog Scott Adams has laid out an excellent persuasion reading list and included in that list is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
I’d heard other positive things about this book from other people around the Internet so I decided to check it out.
After a quick introduction the book is divided into six sections each one detailing a different method of persuasion: Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.
At first you might think you understand these different methods, especially if you have any sort of background with sales or marketing.
The book however goes very in depth in to each of these topics with numerous examples of each persuasion technique as well as strategies to avoid being influenced by them.
There were many times throughout the book where an example was explained that I recognized as having occurred in my life.
After reading this book I now realize exactly what happened and why I reacted the way I did, most times doing exactly what I was influenced to do.
The book will definitely teach you these techniques so you can use them yourself to influence others. In my opinion however the most valuable thing you will learn from this book is how to avoid being influenced yourself.
For example you’ll learn numerous tactics that salespeople use to influence you to buy their products or conversational tricks people might use to convince you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do.
If you want to avoid being manipulated by others and be relatively sure that you’re making your own decisions without any outside influence then this book is absolutely essential reading.
If you are a marketer or you do sales related work then this book will benefit you immensely as well.
If I had to make one complaint about the book it’s that it’s over 30 years old now. A short way into the book I had to stop reading and check the original copyright date because a lot of the examples used are very dated involving things like door-to-door sales or radio programs.
That being said the principles, techniques and strategies in this book are timeless.
Social Proof strategies apply perfectly to social media marketing, Liking and Authority strategies are essential for bloggers and sales techniques such as Scarcity or Reciprocation are every bit as valuable now as they ever were whether you are a realtor, you have a traditional brick and mortar store or an online eCommerce business.
I highly recommend you read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Not only will you learn strategies to help you influence others, which will benefit you in all areas of your life, but more importantly you’ll learn to recognize when others are using these techniques on you and avoid being influenced yourself.