Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) Revised Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 281 pages
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In reply to the few one star reviews...It has been stated in the uncharitable reviews, that the entire content of the book could have been written in a few pages. I agree, at first look, this would seem true. The Harvard Business Review article "Harnessing the Science of Persuasion" by Cialdini, from their October 2001 issue....is a good example. You can even get the Six Principles from the books Table Of Contents...save yourself some time.
But sales ideas have to not just be listed....not just explained...they have to be sold. Examples have to be given, Principles have to be
explained...we need proof. And you need the entire book to do that. The people who read a short article by the author, maybe read the
ideas...but nothing else happens. Salespeople are changed by the content of this book, like with all great sales books. For salespeople to benefit from a sales book, the ideas have to be explained, understood, proven, accepted, and made real. This book does that.
I own perhaps 2,000 books on the subject of selling. This is certainly in the top 5.
In order to study the subject firsthand, the author has taken positions as trainee sales representative, busboy, etc in various companies/establishments. Apart from drawing extensively from such experience, he also discusses the relevant and interesting findings in studies by other academics in psychology, past and present. The result is a systemic analysis of the most frequent, and most powerful, psychological devices that 'compliance professionals' use, with suggestions on how to avoid being unduly influenced.
A very useful book if this is what the reader is looking for. Personally I am more interested in taking a look from the opposite direction, i.e. at the positive application of the psychology of persuasion. I note that Dr Cialdini has written a more recent book on that...
The theme of the book is what the author identifies as six principles of ethical persuasion: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency, with a chapter is on each. This book makes a nice companion to Korobkin's "Negotiation Theory and Strategy" published by Wolters Kluwer and sold at a considerably higher price, in where that author discusses many of these same concepts in much less depth.
Whether wanting to supplement a more in-depth academic study or merely looking for tips as an influencer, salesperson, or consumer, this is a great reference.
After reading the Cialdini's book, I have to say I support and applaud Charlie Munger's recommendation and actions. Robert's book is crisp in its insights and recommendations. It provides compelling window into the click/wrrr process of external influence. I should add that it also provides a set of references that will keep you interested and intrigued above beyond his core theme.
A book of our times - on the must read list.
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