Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.
I often classify books into categories of how easy they are to read. I love books that can explain things in simple terms without dumbing down the information. They often use lots of stories and real world examples to make the point. The book How to Win Friends and Influence People was one of the easiest books to read, yet that “simplicity” in no way diminished its impact.
Influence wasn’t as easy of a read as Win Friends, but it definitely stands out as the kind of book that just about anybody can read and learn something from without having to exhaust brain cells trying to understand the lingo. It doesn’t bog you down into a log of technical, tedious jargon or data charts that make your head explode trying to make sense of it all. In fact, Influence is full of stories that are used to illustrate the author’s points on how persuasion works. It’s those stories that really help the reader “get” the whole idea of persuasion.
The best part about Influence is it doesn’t take the reader so far into persuasive territory that it is really all about how to manipulate people to get what you want. Can some of the ideas outlined in the book be used for manipulation? Yes, but the author goes out of his way to make the point that that is not the goal. Proper persuasion is about helping people get what they want, not manipulate them into something they don’t. Influence shares a few stories of manipulation and how they work but also steers the reader away from those tactics.
If you’re at all interested in understanding how you might be able to employ more persuasive techniques into your sales process, you can’t go wrong with Influence. Not only does it explain the psychology of how we are convinced, but the many real-life examples noted within, once understood, can be easily adapted for your own organization.