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160 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with ideas that anyone can benefit from.
This was a great book. I come from a technical background, and as most people know engineers are horrible at influencing others. But this book taught me a lot of simple ideas that are applicable in helping to motivate others to my point of view and also how to recognize when others are using these techniques and how to defend against them.

The book has 6...
Published on June 30, 2010 by Kevin

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good material surrounded by filler and folksiness
If this book were 50 pages long, it would be great. Unfortunately, there are seven chapters (and one filler chapter at the end) and each one has about six good points and then tons and tons of filler stories and examples. Fortunately, the author provides summaries at the end of each chapter. Just read these and you've got 98% of the material. If you have a bad memory...
Published 5 months ago by Andrew


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160 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with ideas that anyone can benefit from., June 30, 2010
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This was a great book. I come from a technical background, and as most people know engineers are horrible at influencing others. But this book taught me a lot of simple ideas that are applicable in helping to motivate others to my point of view and also how to recognize when others are using these techniques and how to defend against them.

The book has 6 different concepts and it goes into the psychology of each (at a high level), some examples of it, and a few testimonials from readers. It was a quick read and held my attention throughout.

As a side note, in case you are comparing editions. The "Influence Science and Practice" seems to be the most recent version. The "Influence psychology of persuasion" book looks like the same book with an earlier copyright. Skimming through the chapters of both they look like the exact same text, so you probably don't need both.
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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Influential, Powerful, and Useful!, October 1, 2010
By 
Fr. Charles Erlandson (Tyler, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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"Influence" by Robert Cialdini is one of the most wonderful and influential books I've ever read! Other books have been written on the topic, but Cialdini's is the best and most influential of them all.

"Influence" deals with the study of persuasion, compliance, and change - a subject that has application for every area of life. Cialdini presents the latest research on influence in a compelling way, clearly stating the 6 principles of influence and providing wonderful illustrations of each principle from advertising, psychology and other fields. If we understood these 6 principles better, we would be less subject to manipulation from others (for example, the manipulation to buy things we don't need or to buy more than we need). We might, in turn, also be able to understand how to influence others for good.

The 6 principles of influence are:

1. The Rule of Reciprocation: "We should try to repay in kind what another person has provided us."

2. Commitment and Consistency: "Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment."

3. Social Proof: "We determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct."

4. Liking: "We most prefer to say yes to the requests of people we know and like."

5. Authority - we have a deep-seated sense of duty to authority

6. Scarcity - something is more valuable when it is less available

I find that in my own life, these 6 principles are remarkably powerful and have the ability to explain a lot of the behavior I observe as a father, teacher, and priest. We would all benefit from memorizing and mastering these six principles. They are simple but extremely powerful. My daughter read this book when she was 14 or 15, and I had to wrestle with her to get it back because she loved it so much! I only hope she doesn't begin using the principles against me!

One of the best parts of the book is the wonderful examples of each principle that Cialdini provides. An experiment to demonstrate the principle of authority, conducted by Stanley Milgram, is the classic example. In this experiment, two volunteers show up to help with an experiment, purportedly to test the effect of punishment on learning and memory. A researcher in a lab coat with a clipboard explains the experiment to the volunteers and that one is to take the role of the Teacher, who will administer increasingly higher levels of electric shock to the other volunteer, the Learner. Every time the Learner got a question incorrect, the Teacher was to administer a higher level of shock. However, the real experiment was to test how willing the Teacher was to administer pain to the innocent Learner, who was not really another volunteer but an actor pretending to be in increasing stages of pain. The results shocked everyone, for Milgram discovered that about two-thirds of the subjects were willing to administer the highest level of electric shock. The reason? Their deep-seated duty to authority.

Influence is filled with many such fascinating and useful examples of how our lives are influenced by others. I highly recommend the book to all readers, for influence is something common to us all, for good or for evil.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Each edition sells, July 5, 2009
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Isn't it amazing how each new edition of this great book sells even better than the previous one? And it does so for for one reason, the information works.

"Influence" by Robert Cialdini teaches us the basics of how people are influenced. It breaks influence into six key factors:
1. Reciprocation
2. Consistency and Commitment
3. Social Proof
4. Authority
5. Liking (the person who is trying to influence us)
6. Scarcity

Each of the above points is detailed in a chapter. Academic studies and examples are given in a very engaging fashion. Some of the studies are for the birds. For example, mother turkeys, who are known to be caring parents (as far as birds go), tend to respond only to the "cheep-cheep" sound of their chicks.

Hearing the cheep-cheep, the mother turkey coddles and cares for the young turkey chick. It is a short-cut response that nature has given turkeys to know how to behave. It tends to work well in nature. But, tricky scientists recorded the cheep-cheep sound and placed the recording into a stuffed Polecat, the natural enemy of the turkey, and found that the mother turkeys adopted the stuffed polecat. Coddled it and cared for it.

That was quite amazing, as the usual response of a mother turkey to a stuffed Polecat without the cheep-cheep recording is an outright assault on the Polecat. This reflexive behavior tends to work most of the time, but sometimes is inappropriate. The mother turkey is responding in what Cialdini refers to as a "click, whir" method. Once some reactor sets off a signal (click), the mother turkey plays its own internal tape (whir) which signifies the appropriate response.

Only, sometimes, the response is not appropriate. And, some predators have learned the mimic strategy to trick their prey. Now, this may be useful if your goal is to be adopted by a turkey (or maybe its something that could protect you from a wild turkey attack!), you say, but how does this apply to me?

The answer is that people themselves have "click, whir" behavior. Because people wish to avoid the work of making decisions, they have internal tapes they run which tell them how to respond under various conditions. Most of the time our internal tapes are appropriate. But, sometimes, they are not. And some human predators have learned to exploit our "click, whir" behavior. Often, these predators come in the form of salespeople.

Cialdini discusses how to say "No" to each of these six influence factors by being aware of how influence works and reading your internal gut feeling.

This book is excellent reading for anyone who wants to learn how to influence others. Job hunters, managers, and marketers will benefit from reading this book. Although I do not suggest you try to use this knowledge in a devious way, knowing how to approach asking for a request is useful. Investors can benefit also.

For example, "social proof" states that we often look to others to determine what is correct behavior in a situation. We most look to others to deem what is correct in times of uncertainty. This can lead to "pluralistic ignorance." Everyone is assuming that the other guy knows what he is doing and we follow. Manias and gross overvaluation of publicly-traded stocks come to mind. And, this is why publishers of bestselling books are quick to point out "Over 1 million copies sold!" on their book covers. One million readers can't be wrong, can they?

In an attempt to avoid the hard work of thinking, we follow the herd off the cliff, blindly assuming where everyone else is going must be safe. As stated in "Influence" 95% of people are followers and only 5% of people are leaders.

Often, we are most likely to follow "experts." This is the authority factor above. We tend to believe and follow anyone who we assume is an expert. However, following experts can also lead to problems.

"Influence" points out that about 10% of medication administered by hospitals may be in error. This is a serious problem and can obviously lead to death.

Why is it that hospitals have such a problem with errors in medication? Despite the training and knowledge of R.N.'s, they tend to unquestioningly follow the instructions of the doctors. Even if the instructions don't make sense.

Cialdini tells the story of a man who complained of an earache. He had an ear infection and the doctor prescribed eardrops for him. On the prescription, the doctor wrote, "Place drops in R ear." As the doctor was in a hurry, he abbreviated "Right" with R.

Sure enough, the trained nurse obediently followed the instructions and placed the required number of drops in the patient's anus. Neither the patient nor the nurse questioned the instructions, as they came from an authority.

Cialdini's website InfluenceAtWork.com also has great information. I couldn't stop reading. I learned that the brain waves of most people engaged in difficult thinking mirrors the brain activity of having your hand thrust in ice-cold water.

Even if you never feel the need to be adopted by a mother turkey, maybe Cialdini's "Influence" will keep eardrops out of your anus, help keep you from buying things you later regret, and help you understand how influence works. I highly recommend this book.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I thought, March 31, 2011
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There is something strange here as I didn't realize this was the same as the other Influence book. They have slightly different names but they are basically the same book. I would recommend the other one. This has most of the same material just in a different format.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A summary of Social Psychology college course; worth reading., September 19, 2010
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If you have never taken a Social Psychology class, then this book should be a must read. Even if you are not into psychological manipulations, you would want to be aware of when and how you are manipulated. Knowledge is power and knowledge of human psychological tendencies is as valuable as any.

Written by a PhD in Psychology, this book provides numerous examples of Psychological studies. Although lacking examples of cutting edge research, the book nonetheless provides a empirically tested and credible insights into human influence and behavior. Pop-psychology this book is not and NLP and its controversial methods, fortunately, are not even mentioned.

The Psychology researches are explained in layman's terms and the author purposesly wrote this book to be unlike Psychology textbooks. Nevertheless, this book isn't always interesting and can sometimes be pedantic.

The author seemed to have cherry-picked the best and most useful Psychology knowledge of influence and put them in a very readable format. The author spends 80% of the book on expounding 8-10 core concepts involving Psychology of influence.

I can't say, however, that I have read anything new in this book that I haven't read in my college Social Psychology class. But I am still glad I read this book since reading this book was a great refresher.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Must Like This Book, July 26, 2011
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This topic is just fascinating - the hidden pushes and pulls that affect our decision making, even when we believe we are reasoning. One such example (p.146) is the 1974 Canadian study that found politicians who were more attractive got 2.5 times the number of votes. Despite the evidence of favoritism, 73% of Canadian voters denied "in the strongest possible terms" that their votes had been influenced by physical appearance; only 14% even admitted the possibility! (See the study by Efran & Patterson, 1976 and another by Budesheim & DePaola, 1994.)

The book does a wonderful job of keeping the subject light despite that it is chock full of references to studies. There are even cartoons are scattered throughout the chapters. Pictures from real life also are mixed in. Included are "defenses" that are meant to help us avoid the pitfalls, but I'm not sure they'll be entirely helpful or not because I personally thought a lot of these tactics would be very obvious to me. Summaries of the chapters are included, which serve as good refreshers if it's been a while since you've read the book (and need to write an Amazon review :] ).

I think even anyone with a healthy dose of cynicism or business sense will read this and be surprised that these tactics work. One such example is of Detroit's Joe Girard, deemed greatest car salesman by Guinness Book of World Records for selling an average of 5 cars per day, who describes a technique he used: every month he sent a holiday greeting card (for Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, whatever) to each of his 13,000 customers, with nothing but the words "I like you" and his signed name. (p.150) "Could a statement of liking so impersonal, obviously designed to sell cars, really work?: Joe Girard thought so, and a man as successful as he was at what he did deserves our attention." It was at least one of the techniques he used to earn himself hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as a car salesman.

There's only one bit I came across in this entire book that I disagreed with, and it was from the chapter on authority, in which the author claims that normally authority figures (specifically and namely included are politicians and doctors) have earned the right to have "the word" on subjects they speak on. Politicians? Ha! Doctors? Like the ones who vouched for smoking being healthy when cigarettes came out? Think again. Trust Us We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future Other than that one tiny bit that caught my eye, the rest of the book is very informative and even fun to read.

I'll leave you with one unbelievable example from the very beginning that tells how a shop owner accidentally relieved herself of the trouble of selling a certain variety of turquoise jewelry. She left a note instructing her employee to reduce them to 1/2 price. The employee misread and raised the price by 2 instead; the pieces sold almost immediately. This is due to the fact that people without better knowledge of a particular good will use the price alone to determine the quality or value of that good. This also worked for Chivas Regal Scotch Whiskey, which was a struggling brand until it's owners decided to raise its price substantially above its competitors!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marketing Distilled so even Experts can understand it, August 30, 2010
This is the second time I've read this book. I still take issue with some of the examples Cialdini employs, because (I say) - its not that simple, or there's much more going on here than that. You can't make that claim about this incident - kind of thing. But I love all the examples, the stories, the strategies, the experiments, the studies. And I love the organization. Basically, he boils down marketing into types of influence. There are six:

1. Reciprocation
2. Commitment & Consistency
3. Social Proof
4. Liking
5. Authority
6. Scarcity

And no surprise here - those are the chapters, with an intro and an extro to complete the sandwich.

My personal favorite story concerns a Transcendental Meditation recruitment seminar, in which a uninitiated logic professor debunked absolutely everything, right in front of everyone. Solidly and totally shredded everything. This resulted not in a rush for the exits, but rather in a rush to sign up. (I call this the Uncertainty Certainty. When uncertainty is removed, people are empowered to do the wrong thing - and they do. Consistently.) People had excuses like - if I didn't sign up right then and there, I never would. So they did.

For our society, in our age, this book covers the gamut. With these tools, you can influence behavior. And for all those who still believe we know nothing about advertising - you clearly haven't read this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read Chapters 1-3, November 12, 2008
Overall this was an enjoyable read, but it almost felt like two separate books to me: chapters 1-3, then chapters 4-8.

The first three chapters were very interesting and, in my copy, are covered in sticky notes, underlines, and highlights. It's not that the book shared anything particularly new, but it presented it in an organized fashion that directly related to many of my current business endeavors. If you have any project that involves selling/marketing - whether writing web copy or attending networking events - there will be some good tips, or at least friendly reminders, in these first three chapters.

The rest of the book was pure pop psychology, along the lines of "Stumbling on Happiness" - well-written, with many illustrative examples, but not all that useful. I only highlighted three phrases in all of chapters 4-8. If you like pop psychology, the rest of the book is an easy and enjoyable read, but hard to justify as work-related research.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The why and how of "yes", January 21, 2012
By 
Erik Gfesser (Lombard, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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The quote by Tom Peters on the cover of the fifth edition is what helped compel me to purchase this text: "If everything were on the line in a negotiation, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have advising me than Bob Cialdini." A colleague of mine noted after the fact that this book recently appeared on a top-20 list of leadership books to read this year, but I have read my share of leadership texts, so what interested me was its apparent focus on negotiation. To some extent, this book is faintly reminiscent of an audio tape called "The Psychology of Selling" by Brian Tracy that a former colleague of mine recommended early in my career, because the focus here is looking at the factors that cause individuals to say "yes", and the techniques that most effectively use these factors to bring about such a decision.

This book is organized around the 6 psychological principles that direct human behavior and give these techniques their power: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Although this book may have been written to engage the popular reader, the conclusions that the author, a psychology professor at Arizona State University, reaches are based on controlled, psychological research. As Cialdini entertainingly walks the reader through what he learned during his 3-year period of participant observation that served as input to this book, in my opinion although he is both successful at instruction as well as keeping the reader engaged, as with many texts the reader will need to extrapolate in order to apply personally, especially if what is sought is application to the workplace.

Judging by the location of dog ears that were left behind after my reading of this text, the portions I especially appreciated are the first chapter, "Weapons of Influence", the last chapter, "Instant Influence: Primitive Consent for an Automatic Age", and the many sidebars throughout the body of what the author provides called "Reader's Reports". In fact, it turns out that the author has found that the "Readers's Reports" are one of the most popular aspects among readers, and in my opinion these are similar to the "Letters to the Editor" one might find in a newspaper or magazine: people writing in to the author to share how the principles and techniques that are presented in this text have been encountered in the real world. Fascinating lessons learned rooted in science. Recommended reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Marketers, Great for Consumers, December 12, 2009
By 
K. Habarta (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This is a great book written in very accessible language - somewhere between a textbook and an editorial column in a daily paper. The "weapons of influence" Cialdini describes provide an explicit decomposition of marketing tactics ('compliance professionals") with an eye also out for consumers. As someone who works in the sometimes murky world of consumer research - I found the closing "Defense" passages to each chapter as enlightening as the Weapons themselves. Each chapter also features helpful summaries of the highlights. Nearly every page is supported by research experiments the author has collected throughout the ages. A little dated in some places - most of the photos are from the 70s/80s - - but highly recommended and thought-provoking.
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Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) by Robert B. Cialdini (Audio CD - February 1, 2012)
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