Influence - Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini


Robert Cialdini

  Psychology, Behavior, Marketing

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How to become a skilled persuader

This classic book on persuasion talks about the psychology of people and what makes them say 'yes'. It helps to offer a deep understanding of this matter and how it can be applied in a practical scenario. The book is top tier since it is the result of more than 3 decades of extensive evidence-based research. 

It covers 6 core principles that will aid in becoming a master persuader:


"Try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.”

  • Reciprocation is a powerful tool to effectively gain someone else's compliance or favour. Practising this will present you with more 'yeses' than without it. 



  • The name is self-explanatory. This principle is about staying consistent with what you have already done. People often stick to their choices or decisions due to personal and interpersonal pressures that urges them to hold to those choices.



  • Social proof is what is similar to peer pressure. This principle reflects on how we determine what is correct behaviour based on social norms. 
  • We do it just because others do it.
  • The correctness of behaviour is perceived as the number of people doing it.



  • This principle points out the well-known fact that we prefer to say yes to the people we know and like. The factors that cause us to like someone else:
  1. Physical Attractiveness: It is another well-known fact that when we are attracted to someone else, we tend to forgo any preceding logic which we would apply otherwise and always prefer to say yes to them. Plain and simple. It could be a friend, a co-worker, a celebrity etc.
  2. Similarity: We are inclined to like people who are similar to us. Similarity can be derived from sharing the same personality, opinions, hobbies, lifestyle etc. 
  3. Compliments: We enjoy getting compliments. Offering a compliment highly increases the likability of the person giving it. As a natural reaction, we tend to like such people.
  4. Contact: We tend to like and prefer things or people that we are familiar with. This is the reason why we continue to eat at the same restaurant instead of trying new places. 
  5. Cooperation: We prefer and like people who work with us rather than those that work against us. Co-workers working to achieve a common goal is a good example. We perceive it as being on the same team.
  6. Conditioning and Association: This is principle covers the general idea of why we prefer to associate ourselves with winners/positive events as this gives us a boost in social standing. This can be both good and bad.



  • We tend to follow people in uniform or people in authority. Pretty simple. 


  • This explains the core principle that opportunities seem to be more valuable when it's availability is very scarce.  


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