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196 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influenced me!
The principles in this book have the potential to change the world - by changing behaviors of individuals, families, communities and nations.

The authors teach us how to create the change we'd like to see in the world using a deceptively simple framework (e.g. "Make the Undesirable Desirable" and "Design Rewards and Demand Accountability"). Many of the concepts...
Published on September 21, 2007 by G. Davis

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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Change takes work
After teaching readers how to have "crucial conversations" to share ideas, resolve conflicts, and promote change, our five authors begin "Influencer" by turning that idea around. Talking, they remind us, often is not the best way to convince people to abandon old behaviors and start doing things differently, and can in fact be counterproductive if people start to resist...
Published on September 2, 2007 by Andrew S. Rogers


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196 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influenced me!, September 21, 2007
The principles in this book have the potential to change the world - by changing behaviors of individuals, families, communities and nations.

The authors teach us how to create the change we'd like to see in the world using a deceptively simple framework (e.g. "Make the Undesirable Desirable" and "Design Rewards and Demand Accountability"). Many of the concepts are intuitive - the problem is that I had never intuited them before, much less put them all together in a framework I could act on. They support the framework with sound theory from behavioral psychology and demonstrate it with real-world examples of people who are solving big, important problems. Throughout it all they use a straight-forward conversational style and a great sense of humor.

But be warned: It's not a self-help, positive-mental-attitude, quick-fix, rah! rah! book, and it's not a fast, easy read - it's not supposed to be. The book deals with powerful concepts and it took me some time to think through the implications and how I could apply them. I re-read some chapters several times and spent time writing out how I could apply the principles (I usually do this in the margins - but with Influencer I ended up using a journal since there was so much to write about).

It's well worth the time and effort - I'm excited by the results I'm seeing personally as I apply the concepts in my roles as a father, husband, church leader and business leader.
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121 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Blueprint of the Science of Change, August 27, 2007
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When Stephen Covey labeled this new book "an instant classic," I knew it was a must-read for me.

But I was floored at how brilliant this book really is.

Many books deal with some aspect or particular technique of change in people. Influencer is radically different: it presents a complete structural blueprint of the science of change, and takes you step by step through the critical factors behind change and how to apply them to any problem.

Instead of endless dry facts or empty clichés, Influencer breaks down its major points chapter by chapter, illustrating them with a detailed analysis of several real-world case studies of seemingly insurmountable change problems, including Delancy, a rehab center for hard-core criminal drug addicts which has an astonishing success rate of over 90%. Interspersed are personal and family case studies, research, and history all engagingly written in a well-organized, coherent style. At the end of each chapter is a summary of key concepts covered.

Influencer immediately helped me understand both my own thinking processes toward change and those of others, and jump-started good ideas for both my personal growth and solving several business issues. Influencer is by far the most original and useful book I have read this year. Highly recommended.
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111 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating examples of how to change individual and collective behaviors for the better, August 23, 2007
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The main thesis of this book is fascinating to contemplate. In essence, it is that nearly all ways used to try to get people to change serious and deeply ingrained behavior such as overeating, drug use, smoking and repeated criminal acts are at best pointless and in many cases counterproductive. You learn of examples of organizations that have found ways to cure people of these behaviors where the methods are really not that complicated. No massive amounts of money are expended, no high political rhetoric and no great national political mission is cited as a motive.
The examples are interesting and include:

*) The international effort to eliminate the guinea worm parasite, a terrible disease where people ingest the larva of the worm. Once the worm reaches adulthood, it literally bores its way out of the body and deposits its eggs.
*) The effort to get sex workers in Thailand to insist that their clients wear condoms during sex, thereby preventing millions of new cases of HIV infection.
*) The effort to get hospitals to recognize that approximately 100,000 people die in the United States each year in diseases caused in part by their hospital stay. Once the problem was recognized, take realistic and effective steps to prevent them.
*) An organization in San Francisco with an amazing record of turning people with extensive criminal records and a history of drug use into productive and valuable citizens.

In reading this book, you are struck with how simple these solutions are. It is also clear why so many government programs such as "the war on drugs" are so ineffective. They are efforts based on the political flavor of the moment and few in power seem willing to consider counterintuitive solutions that involve political risk.
This is a book that contains a great deal of material that would be valuable to counselors, community agencies, dieters and people in human resources. Anyone who deals with behaviors that can damage the individual and society should read it.
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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Change takes work, September 2, 2007
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After teaching readers how to have "crucial conversations" to share ideas, resolve conflicts, and promote change, our five authors begin "Influencer" by turning that idea around. Talking, they remind us, often is not the best way to convince people to abandon old behaviors and start doing things differently, and can in fact be counterproductive if people start to resist or resent the idea you want to change them. It's sort of self-evident when you put it that way ... but on the other hand, once rational argument, hectoring, and pleading have failed, many of us feel disarmed. If you can't "talk them into it," what's left to try?

Given the title and subtitle, you could think "Influencer" is Dale Carnegie for a new generation. But it's actually quite a lot more than that. "The power to change anything" the authors describe is not a "These aren't the droids you're looking for" Jedi mind trick. Nor will you have everything you need to achieve your goals as soon as you finish reading. These are tools for promoting Big Ideas -- the examples the authors give include eliminating the ghastly guinea worm, promoting condom use in Thailand's sex trade, and turning around the lives of thousands of hardened gang members -- and so the first impression that the reader will take away from this is that changing minds and hearts requires hard work and commitment on both sides of the equation.

The authors argue that changing ingrained behavior requires people to answer two questions: "Can I make the change?" and "Is it worth the effort?" "Influencer" draws from psychology, organizational theory, history, sociology, and other disciplines to isolate the key motives that drive behavior. Armed with that information, they say, influencers have the lever they need to move mountains. It still won't be easy -- identifying the relevant "vital behaviors" alone can take time, including, they suggest, poring over scientific journals and other published research. But if change came through the flip of a switch, we wouldn't need this book in the first place.

Where "Influencer" is weakest, I thought, was in tying the authors' insights together in a way that leads us through from start to finish. Though the examples they give and stories they tell illustrate individual points and methods, and are certainly impressive examples of achievement, I never connected with them on an emotional level. Perhaps it's because the authors never succeded in convincing *me* I should want to change my life and become an Influencer. Maybe I don't have enough Big Ideas.

Little of the content of this book is truly original (for example, you could probably substitute "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath [Random House, 2007] for a good portion of chapter 3 at least). What will probably make "Influencer" influential is the authors' pulling all that information together and presenting it in a way that will make Influencers-to-be feel like they're taking in hard science. Will they then be willing and able to put in the work required -- and will their Big Ideas deserve it? Answering that will take far more than one volume to sort out.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Helpful, August 27, 2007
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Influencing people isn't easy. This book looks at several influence success stories, including an Indian bank specializing in micro loans, reducing AIDS in Thailand, eradicating the guinea worm, and an environment that changes criminal behavior, and analyzes why they were successful.

It's a compelling study of human nature and why people do the things they do. I learned a lot, and will be able to apply some of it to my everyday life. But if you're in management, politics, or any sort of position where you need to deal with people, this is a must-read.

Do these techniques work? Look how many folks have reviewed this book prior to publication. Read Chapter 8 to find out why they have.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, August 27, 2007
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I found that "Influencer" was one of the best books that I've read in the last couple of years. I agree with other reviewers in that it is far from the typical self-help book. It is much, much more. It has analyzed lots of information, synthesized it into a series of packets of information. Sure, it discusses some of the theory, history, or background of each morsel. It justifies its use. The recommendations, a bit short, are practical and inspiring. I found the example stories to provide practical illustrations of the concepts that the authors hoped to communicate. Neither one of my brain cells found the disorganization to be easily worked through. While I found the information worth 8 stars, I found the disorganization worthy of only 3 stars. Averaged out, I think that it is a superb book. I would not recommend it for the average person seeking a self-help book. I would recommend it for individuals hoping to introduce change in their organization or community. I think that this book is worth the price, new, so long as the prospective reader can follow a little theoretical background along with the gems of change.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influencer not about quick fix, but making change stick, September 22, 2007
By 
Sharon L (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
I am often struck at how easy it to want a "quick fix" when there is a problem. I have also noticed how these quick fixes can many times lead to resolving one situation but creating problems in other areas. This book is about how to get ahead of the desired change and to think broadly about all the issues that need to be considered in advance. The authors studied successful changes and then worked backwards to figure out what worked. They devise a very logical model that addresses every facet that could be a pitfall.

After reading this book I met with a client who was trying to put forth a new procedure in the organization. We used this model and together worked through several concerns that would have sabotaged the impending change.

I am also involved in a new effort within my church to study poverty in our area and what can be done to combat this issue. This process will certainly figure in my thinking around this serious issue.

Make no mistake, this book is not a "just add water" quickie process. Instead, it is about a strategic methodology that forces one to stop and consider how to avoid planting an unintentional minefield.

It also occurred to me that this could be a good "post mortem" tool to step back and evaluate any completed project or major effort to expand the thinking about what worked and what didn't. The model would be a good tool for an organization that is involved in continuous learning.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm convinced I can influence change!, September 20, 2007
By 
Shirley Poertner (Des Moines, IA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I know we sometimes think it's true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Or even a young dog, if those "tricks" happen to be deeply entrenched behaviors. It's not so. And now, in this book, we have a read that is not only sound theoretically, but at the same time, intensely practical.

Anyone can read this book and have the means to build a comprehensive enough influence strategy to change what needs changing in their lives and surroundings.

Influencer is full of stories -- all true stories, by the way, based on real people doing hard things to make lasting change. From a story about someone stopping a disease I'd never heard of before in sub-Saharan Africa to the example of an average American like me -- Henry Denton -- trying to lose weight, the book's stories provide the basis for understanding what it takes to really, finally change.

It's a terrific handbook for identifying vital behaviors that work, not just for the extremely disciplined and exceptionally bright -- but for me! And then it clearly describes how to identify which of the six distinct sources of influence are at work behind my vital behaviors to ensure my success.

It's a powerful toolkit for influencing and improving things that matter -- in my own life, in the community I call home, and with the people I lead at work. Thanks to the authors for packaging a half-century's worth of behavioral science knowledge in a toolkit I can lift and carry!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 skills = influence, September 22, 2007
This book delivers.

Its central theme is that the ability to influence is governed by a set of 12 skills. Like any other skills, these can be improved by examination, thought and proper practice.

Some people may find themselves influence experts in some situations, but woefully lacking in others.

A person wishing to improve his or her influencing skills can use this book to identify what's lacking, what is strong, and what needs shoring up.

Plentiful, to-the-point examples illustrate how various people and organizations have focused on the 12 skills to influence the real world.

For me, the most inspiring case study involved the fight to eradicate the guinea worm, a horrible parasite that's been methodically driven to extinction in several countries--but remains a menace in others. The book shows how the doctors, caseworkers and community members successfully used the 12 influencing skills to get people to filter their drinking water, stop hiding infestations, etc.

For countries that are still not free of the parasite, the book discusses which areas of influence have yet to reach the people, and what other strategies can be employed. This is the sort of influence that humanity needs. Here's hoping that we can destroy this devastating parasite once and for all.

Note that the same 12 skills come into play whether one wishes to influence oneself or others. Another case study involved a man who wished to influence himself to lose weight.

I can't say enough good things about this book. It's very well written, gets its points across, and is a great read.

Highly recommended.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influencer is THE Roadmap for Change, September 27, 2007
I was both fascinated and inspired with Influencer. I consider the concepts and strategies in the book to be a well-charted road map to succeeding at change.

After reading and re-reading the book, I have already begun to see practical application in my life. One of the profound ideas that I have taken to heart includes targeting just a handful of behaviors (what the authors refer to as Vital Behaviors). The idea that by changing just two or three bad habits or behaviors can make all the difference in whether you succeed at change is reassuring--if not inspiring. This concept makes challenges that once seemed intimidating and unattainable now manageable and achievable.

And, the six source model is literally a researched formula for succeeding at changing those vital behaviors. It makes so much sense that problems cannot be solved with one influence effort alone, (I don't know why this concept didn't occur to me before) but that by using several motivational and enabling forces you can actually succeed where you've been falling short time and time again.

The inspiration came by way of reading the moving case studies of people who are targeting both vital behaviors and applying them to the six sources of influence to solve some of the world's most devastating problems. These case studies propelled me through the book and showed me, literally, that any effort--even enormously devastating problems--can be solved.

Influencer leaves you with nothing to chance and everything to gain when it comes to making important and necessary changes.
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Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition by Kerry Patterson (Paperback - April 23, 2013)
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