Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
By: Robert Cialdini
Harper Business; Revised edition (December 26, 2006)
I picked up Influence because Scott Adams recommended it in his book Win Bigly. With compelling examples and sold research Cialdini outlines the fundamentals of basic persuasion techniques. Written in a clear professorial tone (He taught at Arizona State for 30 years.), the book touches on the importance of making contrasts, creating reciprocity, being consistent, fostering social proof, being likable, speaking from authority, and the power of scarcity.
Two of my favorite quotes:
How ridiculous a female turkey seems under these circumstances: She will embrace a natural enemy just because it goes “cheep-cheep,” and she will mistreat or murder one of her own chicks just because it does not. She looks like an automaton whose maternal instincts are under the automatic control of that single sound. The ethologists tell us that this sort of thing is far from unique to the turkey. They have begun to identify regular, blindly mechanical patterns of action in a wide variety of species.
In the process of examining the reactions of other people to resolve our uncertainty, however, we are likely to overlook a subtle but important fact. Those people are probably examining the social evidence, too. Especially in an ambiguous situation, the tendency for everyone to be looking to see what everyone else is doing can lead to a fascinating phenomenon called “pluralistic ignorance.”