Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini
Firstly, this is a pretty quick read. You can get in and out of it easily but I found that I was more often getting into it. Robert walks us through the modern (well, recent history, first published in 1984 and not a lot of refresh since then I don’t think) day approaches for something he dubs ‘compliance’.
Compliance is what he calls people getting other people to do stuff, and in most examples this ends up working its way back to buying stuff.
The main arguments of the book (well, but specifically supported by empircal evidence) are essentially that we are surrounded by a myraid of set plays that influence our behaviour, usually to buy stuff. Interestingly Robert views these responses (the Click, Whhrrr as he puts it and trust me, you will get sick of the continual reference to this term I think he is trying to gain traction with) as somewhat primal in nature however then indicates that the very reason for their existence or perhaps popularity is the current day information age that drives into making highly automated or pavlovian ‘decisions’.
There is certainly some interesting subject matter here and it is well told in a curious narrative style. I can’t help but feeling that Robert himself features in the book despite alternative names being used (when you get to the bit about Sara you’ll see what I mean)
Worth a read, if only to re-affirm the behaviour of car salesmen but I would leave with one parting thought. The close of this book (I’m not ruining the ending) summises that by knowing the tools with which the power of persuasion is granted to some over others that we are better off as we are able to protect ourselves. I think that if we can understand what enables people to make decisions and we can influence these decisions wouldnt those with that power be better off encouraging us to leverage that ability to bring about positive change?