Influence Book Summary (PDF) by Robert B. Cialdini

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Ready to learn the most important takeaways from Influence in less than two minutes? Keep reading!

Why This Book Matters:

With three million copies sold, Influence is considered one of the best books ever written about human influence and persuasion.

Whether you want to be more persuasive or wise up to other people’s tactics to persuade you, understanding the book’s six fundamental ways to influence people will be a game-changer in your professional and personal life.

The Six Main Ways To Influence Other People:

  1. Humans have a need to reciprocate
    1. If you help someone or do them a favor then they feel a deep obligation to help you back.
    2. Example: Waiters that leave mints with the bill tend to get tipped more.
  2. Scarcity increases desire
    1. “Opportunities seem more valuable to us when availability is limited. People are often more motivated by the thought of losing something than by gaining something of equal value.”
    2. Example: When Four Loko (alcoholic beverage with caffeine) was outlawed, there was a crazy rush to buy as many as possible before they were all gone.
  3. People are swayed by authority (or authority symbols)
    1. It’s important to make yourself seem credible before you make an attempt to influence someone.
    2. Example: People are significantly more likely to buy from a website that has press badges/mentions than one that does not.
  4. We are obsessed with being consistent with our words and actions
    1. If you get someone to publicly commit to something then they’re significantly more likely to follow through.
    2. Example: Salespeople and websites use this knowledge that people want to be consistent with their commitment to “upsell” customers. They first get a customer to buy a low ticket item before offering a higher ticket item that offers more of the same benefits.
  5. People are more likely to say yes to people that they like
    1. We like people who are similar to us, pay us compliments, and cooperate with us towards a shared goal.
    2. Example: People who discuss something in common before engaging in business talks are much more likely to make a deal.
  6. We are influenced by the choices of other people
    1. When uncertain about something, most people follow what everyone else is doing.
    2. Example: This is why sitcoms use artificial laughter to make things seem funnier and why many ushers will add dollar bills to collection trays before asking for collections.

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