Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

Category: Marketing & Sales
Author: Robert B. Cialdini
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About This Book

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say "yes"-and how to apply these understandings.


Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.


You'll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader-and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.


by FuzzyTaakoHugs   2021-12-10

If you are curious about that stuff you should check out the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. He talks about cults and the mechanisms that are hardwired into humans that scammers take advantage of.

by ConsciousPermission   2021-12-10

Check out the chapter on Authority, and the bibliography - should get you on the right track.

by BillyJoJive   2021-12-10

The only thing that works is banding together with like-minded people whom you can trust and discussing concrete ways for change. You can accrue power by starting with smaller changes in your community and working your way up until you have enough influence to make larger changes. This will not be a speedy process, but it is the most proven effective.

As for books, I recommend Influence by Robert Cialdini. He talks about how you can become more influential through psychology. It involves a lot of serving others and making yourself useful to other people.

Good luck!

by ineedasername   2020-11-15
Yes, that difference in estimating implementation time is part of a more general "anchoring" phenomenon. It's actually covered by a really great book called "Influence : The Psychology of Persuasion" [0]

Anchoring comes in many forms (and in asking questions like a survey should be carefully avoided) but one such form is when a person is shopping and being helped by a store clerk:

You're looking for a nice dress watch. Mentally, maybe you're hoping to spend around $300. You ask the clerk to show you some watches. They bring you to a $2000, very nice watch, but that's far more than you wanted to spend. So, next, they bring you to a $500, also very nice watch. Your expectations have already been anchored to a $2000 price tag, to this second model, at a quarter of the price, seems like a really great deal. You think maybe your $300 target was actually too low for what you're looking for, and perhaps spend the higher price.


by base698   2019-08-28

If you're interested in the subject of why models with car works and other techniques over used in most advertising media check out "Influence the Psychology of Persuasion".

It's possible to catch yourself recommending or telling a story about a product you heard about from a friend. You think a friend told you, but then you realize after seeing a paid ad for the product it was a memory created by you. Disturbing when you realize it happens.

by DaoIsTheWay   2019-07-21

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini

by Maphover   2019-07-21

If you're interested in reading about this and other subtle strategies used to influence, I suggest you check out the book influence: the psychology of persuasion. It's one of my faves. It details:

  • Reciprocity
  • Anchoring
  • Scarcity
  • Decoy effect
  • Similarity bias (fear of difference)
  • Small commitment to influence longer term commitment
  • Making efforts difficult to increase eventual satisfaction (Ikea effect)

All very interesting stuff that you can see in action every day.

by kidmenot   2019-07-21

Io consiglio vivamente il libro che sto leggendo in questi giorni: Robert Cialdini - Influence - The Psychology Of Persuasion.

Spiega molti meccanismi con numerosi esempi, copre anche quello di cui la ragazza cui fa riferimento OP è rimasta vittima.

by chrisco255   2019-07-12
Study persuasion and communication.

* Robert Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion * Jeff Cannon's "Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals" * Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

Attend Public Speaking workshops. If there's a ToastMasters club in your area, join it. Improv can be another great way to learn how to get "less rigid" and more open with your communication style.

by Maultasche   2019-07-12
One book I remember well is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (

That really made me aware of all the things people do to try to influence other people. I probably read that book 15 years ago, but I still recognize sales tactics based on principles in that book. It helped me to be more aware of attempts at manipulation when people are trying to sell things. It had a big effect on what I noticed going on in the world.

It's really more about human psychology and how people attempt to influence each other than it is a book about selling.

by pygy_   2019-07-12
So you agree with me, but still want to ridicule my argument ("parody of itself")? I'm also quite surprised to see a statistician use anecdata as arguments.

Humans are predictably irrational, there are mountains of scientific evidence on the topic [0, 1].

The industry plays us like fiddles to get us to consume ever more. There are more parameters than the ones I described above (socialization and long term hormonal effects come to mind), but the growth of the food industry is the main driver behind the obesity epidemics.

All that food has to be bought, otherwise there's no growth, and investors are not happy and they put their money elsewhere.

The easiest way to convince people to buy food is to make them want to eat it. Modern food has been engineered and optimized to be deceptive and take advantage of our instinctive and cognitive biases, in order to get us to eat more than we need to be healthy.


by DyslexicAtheist   2019-07-08
I remember there was a moment back in the late 90ies many who already worked with the Web joked on usenet etc that "the Internet is becoming mainstream" (usually as an eye-roll reaction to trolls or somebody gullible forwarding a hoax email ...)

I think we made a big mistake trying to convince everyone that the digital life is like real. E.g. you can have real conversations etc. (they are real but not the same, maybe our discussions online are too real idk), please bear with me ...

IMO there has been a huge interest by Tech to make everyone believe that Online life is very much like real life, for some of us it even did become so (SecondLife, gaming, etc). And there are many calls to enforce real-name policies and to outlaw anonymity in Tech. The theory is that this will improve authenticity, get rid of trolls ("if only we could back this with more security, root of trust", etc).

But when I just judge from myself, how I use the web ... I am not actually "really me" in the same sense. Even posting under my real name I often catch myself having provided some kind of snapshot of my inner state of mind or general feeling, and which to my horror shouldn't be taken at face value (yet it is because I said it and it is written).

When speaking pseudonymously it allows me to air half-baked thoughts and feelings so that I can get feedback (in a safe way) and then allows to improve my thinking on the subject.

I wonder would I say the same things under my real identity ? and the scary answer is sometimes I accidentally do. And I guess others also make these mistakes. Compartmentalizing is really hard and once I said shit the cat is out of the bag ... what was written may haunt me forever.

Getting judged by a prospective employer wading through our social media footprint is already reality, and before entering some countries I have to unlock my phone now. None of this is supposed to be like that IMO because we humans don't compartmentalize our thoughts the same way when we are online as we do when we have a conversation IRL

What tricks us into thinking that "just because we say it we should stick to it", because we use the written form. By saying it in our head and WRITING IT DOWN, it becomes very hard to take a step back and retract our position. Writing things down is one of the keys in how we commit to something according to Robert Caldini[1]. And because we usually write online our not well thought out positions (spitballing), we end up making these spitballs our personal hills to die on. This is something we haven't yet realized: ONLINE != IRL, yet we want to force people to believe it is the same.

[1] Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Nuzzerino   2019-06-08
(sorry for the formatting, I haven't gotten the hang of HN's formatting syntax yet and wrote this freeform without much proofreading)

These things come with experience over time, but the fact that you've made it far enough to ask the right questions in the right place to ask them is 90% of the journey.

I realize this sounds cliche, but I can't stress enough that health comes first. I would make the following a priority if you feel you're not taking as good care of yourself as you should:

Eat reasonably healthy (just avoiding junk food is enough, no need to go overboard)

Get enough sleep (and eliminate whatever habits get in the way of that) - Without enough sleep, your mind will in subtle ways try to put the least amount of effort toward doing things. This is especially dangerous if you are trying to counteract those effects with things like caffeine or stronger stimulants.

Don't do anything stupid to harm your body. Contrary to popular belief, you are not a Zerg mutant with infinite bodily regeneration capabilities. It will catch up to you sooner than you think it will.

It's quite hard to improve one's mental habits when not in the best shape (but if you fucked up early on like I did, it's never too late to make things better).

Assuming you're already doing all that, I'll speak specifically to your post:

1. Don't burn yourself out, especially for a job you don't enjoy.

Not a mental model per se, but more of a disclaimer that I highly advise against pursuing such efforts unless you feel the company is a good fit for you. I've personally found that being successful at a company depends as much on the company as it does you. All the talk about culture fit applies here (though I personally hate the terminology). Sometimes you can adapt to environments that are challenging, but sometimes that can be a case of learning bad and toxic habits. And sometimes, no matter how much better you think you perform, it won't improve your job security. So you have to first understand whether you're really happy in that environment. Don't burn yourself out to try to get ahead of the technical debt curve just to try to earn some job security in an environment that you don't feel at home with in the first place.

2. Document what you're going to do, and why, before you start doing it.

This doesn't mean you can't amend the plan when you see a reason to, but your technical changes should be driven by your written plan, and nothing else. If you don't do this, the complexities of the technical systems you're touching will bleed into the mental model you've set for yourself with what you're trying to build. You'll exert subconscious effort to try to maintain some grounding, but inevitably you'll slip at some point and end up doing too much or too little changes. Then you may exert significantly more effort trying to explain to your peers or boss why you spent extra time building something that has no apparent need, especially these days with the plague that is Scrum (fragile, not agile).

You don't necessarily have to do this for all of your work, but deviating from this procedure should be the exception and not the rule.

3. Avoid band-aid workarounds

Always fix the root cause! Always! Okay, there are times when this is not possible. Sometimes, the root cause is part of a piece of legacy software that can't be modified easily or at all. Sometimes the problem is with a closed-source library, an API, or data feed from external partners. It's okay to do workarounds in those cases, but you should be extra vigilant for the pros and cons of doing it. Make sure the business, not just your Scrum Lord, is getting a real benefit from seeing it done. In any case, when doing a workaround, it's wise to include detailed documentation in the appropriate places as to why that workaround exists, or it will contribute to the pain, suffering, and burnout of future members of your team. While this can happen to companies of any stage or size, the real danger zone here IMO lies with companies in the Series B range, as hacky throwaway code could be done with no consequence before then, and is even somehow encouraged by some as a best practice for early stage companies.

The other major exception to this is emergencies, involving downtime, prevention of downtime, or other significant operational incidents. However, meeting the deadline for your Scrum sprint is not an emergency. If your boss can't be convinced to understand this, your choices are to do a better job of convincing, invite them to convince you otherwise (they may succeed!), or to find another place to work. If something is time-critical for business reasons, it's your product manager's job to inform you of that.

If your job feels threatened even slightly by the concept of missing sprints, then you must make it a priority to resolve that, because even the presence of that feeling is itself a good reason for the job to be at stake, as it's indicative of critical communication problems with your immediate team. And it most likely isn't your fault but rather just a failure of the team as a whole (though you have the most power to do something about it regardless of the root cause). It is a growing pain that can be solved, as long as you're not working with assholes.

There is one time where this no-bandaid rule must be broken when you are short on time, but you should work to avoid having ever happen in the first place. If the business you work for (via CEO, PM, whoever) is mandating a hard deadline for a given feature, then you probably should err on the side of getting it done ASAP. If you are in this situation, don't panic. See if you can work it out with your team to spend time after the release to ensure that technical debt is manageable and things are working reasonably smoothly after some code polish. You can prevent some of these scenarios in the future by having a maintainable codebase, and you get a maintainable codebase by reducing technical debt, and you minimize technical debt by not implementing band-aid solutions to appease Scrum Lords. To put it simply: Business deadlines are real, but Scrum deadlines can amount to a hoax. Refer to this article to see Scrum actually addressing this problem:

I decided to spend a good chunk of time writing this as I start a new job which I really hope to be successful at, and I want to reinforce and review what I think will lead toward that goal. But I hope this is found to be useful to others too.

by kovacs   2019-06-03
If you can only read one book on the topic I'd make it this one -

It's not about sales it's about how people think, act, and make decisions. I would bet that most any book on sales will invariably touch on at least some of the topics covered in this book.

It's a fun read and I promise you will start to see these patterns being used in everyday life in verbal and non-verbal communication.

by neom   2018-10-04
Not sure if these count as textbooks by most peoples measures, but they have been textbooks for me.

[1]Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

[2]The Wal-Mart Triumph: Inside the World’s #1 Company

[3]Guerilla Marketing

[4]The Lords of Strategy

[5]Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

[6] The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

[7]The Deming Management Method

[8]Creativity Inc.

[9]The Wisdom of Teams

[10]On Communication

[11]On Managing Yourself

[12]The Art of Facilitation

[13]Death by Meeting

[14]Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning

[15]Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

by pygy_   2018-03-28
> But you're still an adult who is fully responsible for your actions.

That's what the law says, and maybe what you believe but there is a lot of scientific evidence to the contrary.

See for an oversight of (some of) the ways you can be manipulated.

by tmuir   2018-03-16
"There's no words that can make robots out of people"

How do you explain cults? How do you explain the effects of advertising? How do you explain the uniform levels of discipline achieved by basic training? How do you explain phone scammers? How do you explain the success of the public relations industry? How do you explain Bernie Madoff? How do you explain cigarette smokers? How do you explain the effects of what we refer to as echo chambers? Everyone of these consists of people being programmed or brainwashed in one way or another.

You hear the word brainwashing and immediately think of someone thats hypnotized, or a zombie, the typical hollywood trope. But its a far more common thing.

If you're interested in reading about this, there is a book by a psychologist named Robert Cialdini, called Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion.

One interesting persuasion trick is to start with extreme opening bids in negotiation, and then back off to what you really want. This is how the actors of Watergate were able to convince others to go along with the plan to break in to the Watergate. The original plan was far more involved, with a $1,000,000 budget, and included kidnappings. G Gordon Liddy used this as an extreme opening bid, and eventually convinced everyone that what eventually took place was a reasonable compromise. After, its not like they kidnapped anyone, and they only needed $250,000.

by DyslexicAtheist   2018-02-14

  - Nassim N. Taleb: Black Swan and Antifragile[0]
  - Robert Cialdini: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion[1]
  - Franklin Foer: World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech[2]
  - Herbert Marcuse: One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society[3]




by joekim   2017-08-20
Whether or not you have the "right" to be rude, I think the more cordial we are the more we can align around learning through discussion.

If someone is rude to someone who's mistaken that could help them unlearn something, but more likely they will become more entrenched because of consistency principle.

Cialdini talks a lot about consistency principle in his book the "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion"

by gknoy   2017-08-20
For anyone else who was interested in looking this up on Amazon: