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Influence: Science and Practice (4th Edition) [Paperback]

by Robert B. Cialdini
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) 4.6 out of 5 stars (111)
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Book Description

July 9, 2000 0321011473 978-0321011473 4
Influence: Science and Practice is an examination of the psychology of compliance (i.e. uncovering which factors cause a person to say "yes" to another's request) and is written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research. Cialdini combines evidence from experimental work with the techniques and strategies he gathered while working as a salesperson, fundraiser, advertiser, and other positions, inside organizations that commonly use compliance tactics to get us to say "yes." Widely used in graduate and undergraduate psychology and management classes, as well as sold to people operating successfully in the business world, the eagerly awaited revision of Influence reminds the reader of the power of persuasion. Cialdini organizes compliance techniques into six categories based on psychological principles that direct human behavior: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. New Reader's Reports are included in the Fourth Edition and illustrate how readers have used one of the principles or have had a principle of influence used on them.

Editorial Reviews


Here's what people are saying about the material in INFLUENCE: Science and Practice:

“This marvelous book explains in clear, practical language the ways in which we become persuaded. It offers excellent insights for those who sell, but even more importantly for all of us who negotiate and buy.” —ROGER FISHER, Director, Harvard Negotiation Project, Co-author of “Getting to Yes.”

“For marketers, it is among the most important books written in the last 10 years.” —JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH

“The best sales tip I ever got was encouragement to read INFLUENCE by Dr. Robert Cialdini. It was so profound and insightful, I read it three times in a row.” —GREG RENKER, President, Guthy-Renker

“It would be marvelous reading for students taking Social Psychology.” —DAVID MYERS, Hope College

“The book is tremendously entertaining and very popular with students. It makes excellent reading for a Consumer Behavior or Advertising class.” —ALAN J. RESNIK, Portland State University

“INFLUENCE should be required reading for all business majors.” —JOURNAL OF RETAILING

From the Publisher


• Engaging writing style with amusing anecdotes.
• Includes citations from both recent and classic research.
• Describes how to resist unwanted influence attempts.
• Well known and influential author speaks frequently on “The Power of Ethical Influence” to such organizations as IBM, the Mayo Clinic, and NATO.


• New reports from readers illustrate how a principle has worked on or for them.
• Additional examples from current events illustrate psychological research, such as holiday gift crazes for Beanie Babies, Furbies, and Pokemon; the Columbine High School shootings; and the FBI's decision to attack Branch Davidian headquarters in Waco, Texas.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon; 4 edition (July 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321011473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321011473
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
326 of 329 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good guide to the tactics of persuasion. September 15, 2005
Right away, buyers should know that Cialdini has produced a less-expensive version of this book. "Influence: Science and Practice" is designed as a textbook for classroom instruction. So, it has things like chapter summaries and questions that can be assigned as homework. However, the other book "Influence: the psychology of persuasion," is designed for a more general audience. The content is basically the same, but it omits the classroom-oriented layout. It's also cheaper. If you are a student who is buying textbooks online, this is probably what you (or rather, your professors) want. If not, get the other one.

Both books focus on persuasive tactics. This is not a theoretical work trying to lay out a strategy of communication, like "Getting to Yes." This is a toolkit, designed to give the reader a selection of tools for specific circumstances. That is not to say that Cialdini lacks an understanding of more strategic thinking, just that it isn't the focus here.

The underlying theory is that people tend to be hardwired to respond to certain stimuli in predictable ways. The book tells you what those stimuli are, that is, how to push people's buttons. And it does a very good job, which is why Cialdini has demand for two versions of the same book.

I'm not going to list all of the tactics because the table of contents does that and, because they're detailed, they're difficult to understand without reading the book. But, they all have some basis in science and their effectiveness is empirically demonstrable, so you can trust that they work. The best part of this book, for me, was becoming more conscious of how others, including politicians, advertisers, and bosses, try to manipulate me.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars US-Oriented, Excellent Starting Point, Six Key Methods October 20, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I disagree with the complaints about this being a repeat of earlier versions. "4th Edition" is quite clear. This is an updated easy to read version of a highly-regarded seminal work whose value has been proven over time.

While intended for students of psychology and for practitioners of the black art of marketing (selling over-priced unnecessary "stuff" to the unwitting), I regard this text as a very helpful reference for the new warriors, the practitoners of Information Operations and within that larger discipline, Strategic Communication & Public Diplomacy.

The six "principles" of influence, reciprocation, consistency, social proof (e.g. canned laughter), liking, authority, and scarcity, each receive their own chapter with annedotes and study questions.

Most interesting to me would be an international variation of this book, one that discussed the nuances of influence in other cultures, inclusive of family ties and prevalent sterotypes.

This book is applicable to business, evangelism, foreign affairs, defense, homeland security, and just about any field where interaction with humans is called for, and the mission demands the elicitation of collaborative behavior from others.

Good index, notes, and illustrations. Well-presented.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best on this subject April 12, 2002
I've reviewed many books on influence and persuasion and this is one of the top books in the category. Easy to read, excellent writing style, it is a hard book to put down and begs you to read it slowly so that you don't miss something important. One of the fun things about reading it is when the author makes a point and you can look back and realize that you have dealt with someone who used just that technique to get you to buy that candy bar, car, or change your mind about something.
Persuasive speaking is an important part of what I do and I am very successful at it. The ability to persuade others has been very hard to pass on to employees and other speakers who have asked me how I do it. This book allowed me to look at what I do and see how I can transfer that ability to others. It has also helped me see some of the tricks of persuasion that snare the unwary and how they are used by unscrupulous people.
Cialdini not only makes his case by carefully presenting the techniques and the experiments on which they are based, but also details how they are used and how you can use them. For each technique he also indicates how to know when it is being used against you and how to resist the influence.
A highly recommended book and one of the best on this subject, Cialdini's work is often quoted in other books on influence and persuasion.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influence: Science and Practice, is a must read! August 2, 2003
Influence: Science and Practice, by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. has sold over a quarter million copies and has been published in nine different languages. Perhaps not surprising for a psychology book, but this is neither a dry college text nor a "pop" how-to book.
Cialdini is a professor of psychology at Arizona State University. He has studied why we buy things, often without much thought, and has broken down our "short-cut" (read knee-jerk) actions into six categories: Reciprocation, Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.
Reciprocation is the experience we have when a member of a religious sect hands us a flower in an airport and then asks for a donation. We don't really want to, but we feel a social obligation to reciprocate. Same thing happens whenever we get an unsolicited gift.
Consistency is about behaving in a way that is congruent with the expectations of others. What those around us think is true of us is enormously important in determining what we ourselves think is true.
Social Proof is the influence that peer groups have on us. Cialdini quotes Cavett Roberts's advice to sales trainees, "Since 95 percent of people are imitators and only five percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer."
Liking is demonstrated by several traits and behaviors, but the bottom line is this: people have to buy into you personally before they buy your product. People do business with people they like.
Authority is the demonstrated influence of anyone who sets himself up as knowing more than we do or having greater experience. This can be an Army general or a crafty restaurant waiter or any other self-proclaimed authority figure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written treatise on the subject of influence
Book is written in a very engaging writing style and explains the tactics of persuasion.
Protect yourself and read this book. It truly is brilliant!
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Oceanfront
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a great consumer behavior book.
This is a great consumer behavior book. The psychology of the consumer. We applied it in our public opinion dynamics class. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ferdo
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book to undersand how others trick us to not think rationally
Cialdini does a great job showing us how people are abusing (hacking) our psychological shortcuts. His format of showing how people abuse it and then citing the research about how... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Matthew R. Mayfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for students, good for anyone!
I first read this book in college, for psychology class, but I stupidly sold my book back to the bookstore to make money. So more recently, I went and bought another copy. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Isabel Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars influence
if you are looking for something to tell you how to deal with people and maybe even get them to help you with something... checkout this book. Read more
Published on June 29, 2011 by T. Schisel
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Book
Was very interesting that we are influenced by so many things. The chapter about emergencies was very informative and I've used some of the other techniques to interact with sales... Read more
Published on June 20, 2011 by Sunshinbb
5.0 out of 5 stars Influence: Science and Practice (4th Edition)
I'm pretty happy with the item and the seller. Prompt, as described, easy :) Thank you!
Published on February 14, 2010 by S. Kushnareva
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING! Outstanding text. A must read!
Cialdini has done it! A great text that should be read by all. Study this book and never get ripped off again - understand how the sales techniques that are cast against the... Read more
Published on October 12, 2009 by Lit Master
4.0 out of 5 stars Hang onto your wallet.
I came across this book as one of Charlie Mungers top 25 most recommended books, and it did not disappoint. Read more
Published on July 12, 2009 by Dextra L. Suggs
4.0 out of 5 stars Great easy reading.
The book is very infomartive and is a great easy read. If I had not need it for class I would not have known it existed. I normally sale my books back, but NOT this time.
Published on November 16, 2008 by P.R. Always
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Topic From this Discussion
Contrast Principle Question
I Think you hit the nail on the head with your conclusion. Although they may give that kind of arrangement based on the fact that we like to choose and we usually compromise right in the middle.
Aug 13, 2012 by brn lm |  See all 3 posts
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