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Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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“With great insight, Jonah Berger removes the cloak of invisibility from powerful sources of influence and resolves fascinating mysteries of human behavior.”
—Robert Cialdini, author of Influence
“If you want to know what really influences your behavior, read Jonah Berger’s latest eye-opening book, packed with thought-provoking research, memorable stories, and powerful insights. A terrific read!”—William Ury, author of Getting to Yes with Yourself
“As he did with Contagious, Jonah Berger takes us deep beneath the surface of things, with mesmerizing results. Invisible Influence is a book with the power to transform the way we see ourselves and our place in the world.”
—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive
“Jonah Berger has done it again: Written a fascinating book that brims with ideas and tools for how to think about the world.”
– Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“From the very first page, this book will change the way you look at yourself—and others. Eye-opening and thoroughly engaging.”
—Amy Cuddy, author of Presence
“Whether you want to influence others, make smarter decisions, or just better understand the mystery that is human behavior, this book will show you how. A terrific, insightful read.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
“Berger offers an engaging guide to the concept of social influence. Berger’s prose is consistently entertaining, applying science to real life in surprising ways and explaining research through narrative. His book fascinates because it opens up the moving parts of a mysterious machine, allowing readers to watch them in action.”
“Berger picks up where his Contagious: Why Things Catch On (2013) left off to explore why we desire what we do—and more, why we act as we do, politically, socially, economically, and emotionally… he does a good job of distilling scientific insights into easily understood object lessons on social psychology.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Jonah continues to be one of the most innovative psychological researchers publishing today. His insights are not only thought provoking and counter-intuitive, he manages to express them in a practical and pragmatic way. I'll read anything he writes—and use it too."—Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me I'm Lying and Growth Hacker Marketing.
“Invisible Influence is that rare business book that’s both informative and enough fun to take to the beach.”—Anne Fisher, Fortune.com
“Grab one or both of his books and read them through the lens of your own business. Just maybe you will become more effective at influencing your customers.”—Inc.com
"This winding exploration of our collective psyche is fascinating..."—The Washington Post
About the Author
Jonah Berger is an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Harvard Business Review, and more. His research has also been featured in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas.” Berger has been recognized with a number of awards for both scholarship and teaching. The author of Contagious and Invisible Influence, he lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Jonah Berger shares what he has learned during fifteen years of research that involved countless surveys, experiments, and interviews and additional surveys, experiments, and interviews based on what he learned from their predecessors. As is also true of all other sciences, the science of social influence is evidence-driven. Berger is determined to do all he can to prepare as many people as possible to become mindful of the nature and extent of influence that others have and that was not previously recognized.
As I began to work my way through the narrative, I was again reminded of a book I read years ago, Denial of Death, in which Ernest Becker acknowledges the inevitability of physical death but asserts that there is another form of death than CAN be denied: that which occurs when we become wholly preoccupied with fulfilling others’ expectations of us. (I also thought of Becker’s book when I first read Robert Cialdini’s classic, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.) Why do people try to influence others' behavior? Berger suggests a number of different motives that, I think, tend to fall into one of two categories: those that are altruistic and those that are self-serving. It is important to add that not all influence initiated with the purest of intentions is necessarily good advice. Also, at least some influence can be of benefit to everyone involved.
To what extent are those who attempt to influence others fully aware of doing that? To what extent are the “others” fully aware of that influence? Why are some people more receptive than others? This is an immensely complicated subject, certainly much more than I realized prior to reading Berger’s book. As he explains, “Social influence has a huge impact on behavior. But by understanding how it works, we can harness its power. We can avoid its downsides and take advantage of its benefits.” That is why he wrote this book.
These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Berger’s coverage:
o Familiarity (Pages 10-11, and 160-162)
o Mimicry (30-35)
o Harry Potter books (44-46)
o Music website experiment (46-49)
o Parking preferences (49-52)
o Differentiation (63-97)
o Birth order (64-70)
o Social class (86-96)
o Signals (101-128)
o Academic performance and race (117-120 and 141-142)
o Novelty (164-171)
o The Goldilocks Effect (166-171)
o Optimal distinction (171-181)
o Social facilitation (189-196)
o Winning and losing in sports (204-208 and 211-218)
o Low-income housing (223-229)
It remains for each reader to ask and then answer questions such as these: “Where do you see influence? How do others around you shape your life and how are you shaping theirs? Understanding these often invisible [or previously unrecognized] influences can make us all better off.” Of course, the scope and depth of impact of the information, insights, and counsel that Berger provides will vary from one reader to the next but my own opinion is that this material can be of substantial [begin italics] practical value [end italics] to parents and their children as well as to supervisors and their direct reports, to classroom teachers and their students as well as elected public officials and their constituents. In fact, that is only a partial list. Near the top of any list of benefits would be substantially increased self-awareness. More specifically, developing the “growth mindset” to which Carol Dweck and the “mindfulness” to which Ellen Langer have devoted so much productive attention in their own work.
Social influence that is unrecognized by no means has less impact; if anything, it may have greater impact because none of those involved is aware of it. What I call “enlightened influence” has almost unlimited potentiality for good or ill. The choice is ours, once we fully realize that we have that choice and fully appreciate its implications. Thank you, Jonah Berger, for increasing and enriching our enlightenment.