If your persuasion skills are not as good as you hoped they should be and you are not getting what you want in life, it is really not your fault and I understand your frustration. I was once in your position. You have been misled and mostly taught the wrong ways to persuade by the confusing advice out there.
We are now covered, though. Our list here will clear the fog away and guide us down the right path. So in our journey to learn about how the human mind makes decisions, and how to use that to better influence in our careers and to develop as leaders, here is a list of the best books that will get us there.
Books to understand decision-making and tools of influence:
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion By Robert B. Cialdini, Revised Ed., Collins Business Essentials, New York, NY 2007
You should start with this bestselling book by Robert Cialdini first as it is the basis for understanding how influence and persuasion works. His premise is that our world is too information-rich and so people then rely on shortcuts for decision making instead of making rational choices. It will open your eyes for understanding the rest of the list.
The Enigma of Reason By Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 2017
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade By Robert B. Cialdini, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2016.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2009.
Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, NY 2011.
Books to help you put the influence principles in action:
The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding By Blair Warren, eBook 2012.
If you are short on time (and money), you should read the original 2005 version of this wonder from Blair Warren. It will change your life. He made the original free to download and you can find it by clicking here. I have used techniques from this course in the introduction of this article. You should go up and re-read that part now. If the technique worked on you, that is your filter for recognizing a master persuader move. It is simple and truly a gem. Your persuasion skills will improve about 70% with it. The remaining books below will only give you an additional 10-15%.
How to Win Friends & Influence People By Dale Carnegie, 80th Anniversary Ed., Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2009
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2009.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference By Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown and Co., New York, NY 2000.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die By Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random, New York, NY 2006.
Trump: The Art of the Deal By Donald J. Trump and Tony Schwart, Random House, New York, NY 1987.
Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter By Scott Adams, Penguin, New York, NY 2017.
Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions By Carmen Simon, McGraw Hill, New York, NY 2016.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business By Charles Duhigg, Random House, New York, NY 2012.
Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail–Every Place, Every Time By Gerry Spence, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY 2005.
What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People By Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2008.
The Design of Everyday Things By Donald A. Norman, Revised and Expanded Ed., Basic Books, New York, NY 2013.
How to Write a Good Advertisement By Victor O. Schwab, Martino Publishing, Mansfield Centre, CT 2015.
The Secret of Selling Anything By Harry Browne, eBook 2012.
Books you use to influence yourself:
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams, Penguin, New York, NY 2013.
Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential By Joel Osteen, FaithWords, New York, NY 2014.
Not Caring What Other People Think Is A Superpower: Insights From a Heavyweight Boxer By Ed Latimore, Mind and Fist Publishing, 2017.
Based on Scott Adams’ Persuasion Reading List.
As your persuasion powers increase, remember to use them to benefit those you are trying to persuade, not only for your own gain.
“Where there’s despair in life, bring hope
Where there is darkness, cast light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.”
-Adapted from the Prayer of St. Francis
Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is a Senior Analytical Development Leader in Pharmaceutical R&D. Realizing the need for talent stacks besides scientific and technical abilities, he focuses on driving persuasion and influencing skills for business professionals and leaders. His only goal is to teach you the tools of influence and make you a master persuader.
You should follow me on Twitter @ShaunMendonsa because I’ve persuaded many smart people to follow me there.