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Best Books To Improve Your Influencing And Persuasion Skills At Work

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If your skills and ability to persuade at work are on the weak side, it is because of poor advice you’ve read on how influence really works. Most books on influence are too complicated. And even if you take the time study them, you rarely see any impact.

Many books that claim to improve your influencing and persuasion abilities don’t work. These authors have found their own success mostly through luck. But they ascribe it to their talent and ability. Then they write a book on what they have imagined drove their success. And the rest of us fall for it.

We try out a new approach from a book on influence. Nothing happens. Move on to the next. And the cycle of frustration continues.


Recently, there has been new research in the fields of cognitive and behavioral sciences. They show us the surprisingly easy reasons why people make decisions. Why they say yes to something. And what it is that really persuades them.

The research show that our subconscious minds make the decisions. Our conscious minds only think they are the ones in charge. The reasons people provide for why they made a choice are mostly imagined.


The only books on influence worth your time will have:

  1. Simple influencing techniques. They will make you say, “Really? Who would fall for that?”
  2. They work on everyone. After honest introspection, you will realize that you have fallen for it in the past.
  3. The techniques will influence people subconsciously. The person will not be aware they are being influenced.
  4. The influencing and persuasion methods are easy to learn. Once you understand how to influence someone with the approach, you will get results immediately.

The good news is that we now have several authors and teachers who have caught on to how real influence works. Their books on influence get it right and are bestsellers. I have learned from them and so will you. In no time, you will start to influence people and grow your leadership abilities. It will be life-changing. Enjoy!


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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) By Robert B. Cialdini, Revised Ed., New York, NY 2007.

You should start with this bestselling book on influence 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. So people then rely on shortcuts for decision-making instead of making rational choices. This will open your eyes for understanding the rest of the books. It will maximize your leadership, influencing and persuasion skills at work 10-fold.


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 influencer move. It is simple, and truly a gem. This book will improve your influencing and persuasion skills by about 50%.

The Enigma of Reason By Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 2017.

The Enigma of Reason provides a key insight into why it is futile to influence people in the workplace by reasoning with them. Reasoning with others makes them argue with you and resist. You will almost never influence and persuade with reasoning. You can learn more on this topic and what to do instead here.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade By Robert B. Cialdini, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2016.

Pre-Suasion is another of Cialdini’s must-read books on influence. Here, he shows how to get people in a state where they will be more receptive to your future requests. It is filled with great examples and makes for an interesting read. A review on the book and how to pre-suade is available here.


Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2009.


Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, NY 2011.

Books to IMPROVE your influencing and persuasion skills at work

How to Win Friends & Influence People By Dale Carnegie, 80th Anniversary Ed., Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2009.

Dale Carnegie’s book is the quintessential favorite and a must-read if you want to learn the positive way to influence and put it in practice. It is regularly cited as one of the best books on influence and persuasion. It shows you how to influence people in a positive and uplifting manner.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Penguin Group, 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.

Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail–Every Place, Every Time By Gerry Spence, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY 2005.

Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions By Carmen Simon, McGraw Hill, New York, NY 2016.


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: Revised and Expanded Edition By Donald A. Norman, Basic Books, New York, NY 2013.

How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting 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 to become a better leader

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto) By Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Random House, New York, NY 2004.

Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY 2008.

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception By George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 2015.

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home By Dan Ariely, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2015.

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.

As these books develop and improve your workplace influencing and persuasion skills, remember to use them to benefit others. And not only for your own gain or to manipulate.

“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 an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs.


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