I’ve never read a book twice and not since undergrad have I taken notes on a book. Yet Robert Cialdini’s “Influence Science and Practice” is so engaging that I’m enjoying a second read.
The book is about the psychology of compliance. How do salespeople (“compliance professionals”) and others get us to do things that may not be in our best interests? Along with the usual scientific experiments Cialdini spent three years doing field research: working, training and interviewing sales professionals, fundraisers and even their natural enemies police and consumer groups.
One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most is the relevance of the book to everyday life. I’m amazed how often that I see the principles that Robert talks about being used. Most recently I noticed the tactics of someone trying to sell me a fixed price gas contract. First he tried to find something we had in common principle: “Liking: The Friendly Thief”. Then he told me ‘all your neighbours have signed up’ principle: “Social Proof”. Finally he concluded with not doing this will cost you money principle: “Scarcity: Loss is Worse”. I felt the tug of his pitch, in the past I might have signed up (and felt like a patsy five minutes later). Now I’m better able to see his manipulative tactics for what they are. I can sit back and analyse the value of his offer (a loss in the ensuing months). Does anyone know where natural gas prices will be in the next five years? Can you predict the futures market for me?
In the coming weeks I will share what I’ve learned about Cialdani’s “Weapons of Influence” and how I’ve seen them used in the real world.
Next up “Weapons of Influence” or why do automatic responses work so well.
Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for helping me discover this book via his Top Ten List and reviewing it here Book Review: Influence–Science and Practice. If the rest of the books on his top ten list are this good I won’t run out of reading for another few years. Now according to the Reciprocity Principle I should just have to ask Guy for a link to my blog.