Cover page of the book Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini Revised EditionBooks

Influence Book Review: Robert Cialdini’s Psychology Of Persuasion

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In the field of influence and persuasion, no name is more notable or recognizable than Robert Cialdini. He is known as the Godfather of influence, and for good reason. Here we review his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Cialdini’s 6 universal principles of influence have been taught in MBA and sales classes for decades now. They are revolutionary and his book is worth its weight in gold.

The version of “Influence” that is reviewed here is the 2006 revised edition of his original 1984 book.

Book Review Of Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert Cialdini

It is rare to find a book that is illuminating, profound, and at the same time a fast-paced, entertaining read. Influence is that kind of a book and much more. We strongly recommend that anyone (and this really is most of us) who has difficulty influencing and persuading others, read, study, and put to practice this book teaches you.

Cover page of the book Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini Revised Edition

Dr. Robert Cialdini, whose book, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, is reviewed here.

Robert Cialdini dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and black tie standing with his hands in his pockets.
Photo via influence@work.com

Cialdini’s Goal Of Writing His Book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Cialdini spent several years undercover in sales departments of various trades to learn how the best in the business influenced and achieved high levels of compliance. His goal was to identify what made people say yes. And what type of compliance techniques worked best.

Then, disseminate these findings to in his book to the masses so that they would not fall prey to negative uses of influence. But too few regular folk picked up on the book. Cialdini’s persuasion techniques were mostly taught to MBAs and sales people. Who used it in their individual professions to much delight.

Now the time has come for the rest of us to discover how influence and human decision making actually occurs. So we can use it ethically for our benefit. And protect ourselves from their unscrupulous use by crafty salespeople who are only looking out for their profit.

The Science And Method Behind “Influence”

Based on Cialdini’s research, he believes that there are 6 main ways people say yes to requests. In “Influence,” he takes us through each of the 6 decision-making mental shortcuts that people use.

We learn that all these processes occur automatically in our sub-conscious brains. Which is why they are so powerful and universal. It is almost impossible to resist them. Even when you are aware someone is using them against you, you can still fall for them.

The proof? His very book and writing style. Remember he is the Godfather of Influence. When you read his words, you have to realize that he is using the same influence techniques on us, his audience. And he does influence the readers through his writing. Which is what makes the book so readable, in addition to the psychological wisdom it imparts to us.

While that might scare you now that you hear it put this way, fear not. Because if Cialdini’s techniques work so well on us, they prove themselves to be the true influence principles, right? Once you realize this, you will truly grasp the magnitude and importance of his findings.

Simply put, Cialdini’s book “Influence,” is the general theory of relativity for the social psychology world.

The 6 Principles Of Persuasion

In “Influence” we learn from Cialdini that almost all persuasion can be distilled down to 6 main shortcuts that people take when making decisions. They are reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

Cialdini calls them “weapons of influence” because they are extremely powerful psychological tugs that we all use to make decisions. From ordinary ones like our food choices, to larger choices for what we end up buying or the company we end up working for.

In the book, Cialdini devotes a fairly large chapter to each influence principle. He introduces the persuasion tactic and then through multiple narratives, illustrates how they operate on us. The anecdotes he uses to convey his research are engaging and make you not want to put the book down.

Each chapter ends with advice on how we can avoid being negatively influenced by others through these principles. We learn how to recognize these unwelcome compliance attempts and how to say say no to people who use them against our interests.

“Influence” Can Be A Life-Changing Book

Being a distinguished professor of marketing and psychology, he expectedly backs up his books with extensive examples and citations from psychology journals. This essentially is an example of Cialdini using the “authority” principle of influence on his readers to good effect.

If you want to have a fair chance in our world where everyone wants us to do what they want. And few listen or cater to our needs, then this is a must-read book for you. With Cialdini’s deft way of explaining how to employ these influence techniques in his book, you will notice a shift in your fortunes as an influencer.

Put his persuasion principles to practice in your life and beyond. And in about 6 months to a year you will realize the significance “Influence” has had on your life. It will be unmistakable.

Final Book Review And Rating Of Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Influence,” is already a widely-read and foundational book for sales and marketing professionals. An international bestseller with over 5 million copies sold, it is now becoming a mainstay in professional settings outside sales for more ordinary people.

It is rare to find a book that is illuminating, profound, and at the same time a fast-paced, entertaining read. Influence is such a book and more. Your life will change after reading it and most of your past failures at influencing people will make sense now. But more rewardingly, you will now know how easy it is to reverse that. And become influential yourself.

There are many good books whose main points can be summarized in a paragraph or two. If you get the condensed version of the book’s wisdom, you don’t really need to read the full book. Unless you are an avid reader.

“Influence” is not like those books. This is a book that you could likely end up buying many copies of. One for yourself and others that you will end up needing to gift away to family and friends. As has happened to me. Because when they see your copy of “Influence” and glance through it, they will make it theirs.

Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.

Categories: Influence (Psychology); Persuasion (Psychology); Compliance. Collins Business Essentials/HarperCollins; New York, NY; 2007 (Revised Edition); 320 pages.

“Influence” is available on paperback, Kindle, and audio CD.

Other Good Books By Robert Cialdini

Cialdini’s has another, more recent bestselling book, Pre-Suasion: The Psychology of Persuasion. In “Pre-Suasion,” he introduces us to the concept of pre-loading influence through privileged moments just before making a request. You can read a book review of “Pre-Suasion” here.

In “Pre-suasion” readers are introduced to a seventh principle of influence by Cialdini, unity. The tendency people have to be influenced more by those who are similar to and behave like they do.

More Books To Read On Influence And Persuasion

If you are interested in other productive books in the fields of social psychology and influence, here is a complete reading list with the best book recommendations for you.


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. He can be reached at smendonsa@master-influencer.com.


Keywords

Influence Book Review; Robert Cialdini; The Psychology Of Persuasion; Influencing; Persuasion; Compliance; Social Psychology; Cognitive Sciences; Behavioral Psychology; Marketing, Sales.

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